Yesterday, Jezebel declared that it is time for a really good female superhero flick. I agree; it has been time for a really good female superhero flick. Too bad the folks who made Catwoman, Elektra and all the X-Men movies missed the part about how it needs to be good.
Look, it’s hard out there for a comic book superheroine — just ask Batgirl (paralyzed); Star Sapphire (possessed); Dart (crippled); Enchantress (de-powered); Laurel Kent (robot); Mockingbird (abducted); or Batwoman, Gwen Stacy, Hellcat, Black Canary and Ice (dead, dead, dead, dead, dead).
They over-sexualize you, they under-sexualize you. They give you powers, they take them away. They give you a girlfriend and then split you up so you can fight one another over the affection of the psychotic criminal in a clown suit.
Here’s my advice on how to add a really good superheroine to the current stream of hero blockbusters:
1) No A-List stunt-casting.
Alicia Silverstone as Batgirl and Uma Thurman as Poison Ivy very nearly ruined Batman for the world. In Chris Nolan‘s re-imagined Batman, he didn’t cast unknowns, but he didn’t cast Arnold Schwarzenegger, either. I love Angelina Jolie as much as the next lesbo, but her lips would ruin Catwoman (who needs to be able to be disguised by a mask). There are plenty of talented lesser-known actresses out there. Find one.
2) Give the women a little character to go along with their superpowers.
The problem with the women heroes of the X-Men movies is that they were boring. You’ve got Anna Paquin, Famke Janssen and Halle Berry and hundreds of millions of dollars in production money. How come the only scene I remember in three movies is when Janssen goes evil and blows up her boyfriend?
3) Let the women do more than shriek.
Terry Moore, of Strangers in Paradise fame, now writes Marvel’s Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane series, but it is nearly impossible to convince someone to read it because Kirsten Dunst is so lame as Mary Jane in the Spider-Man movies. She spends half her time not moving her face muscles and half her time screeching for help. If I had powers, there’s a real chance I wouldn’t save her because I wouldn’t be able to handle the hollering.
4) Being sexy doesn’t make a woman a villain.
From Michelle Pfeiffer‘s Catwoman in 1992’s Batman Returns to the women in this year’s Christmas release, The Spirit, the pattern goes like this: dowdy secretaries who don’t want to sleep with you are totally trustworthy. The moment they don some spandex and lipstick, watch your back! You can’t trust a woman with a healthy sexual appetite. It’s ridiculous and misogynistic and we’re over it.
5) Give us Wonder Woman and do it now.
The Wonder Woman movie has been on-again-off-again for the last decade. There was a lame attempt at a full-length cartoon, but it went straight to DVD, and rightly so. Wonder Woman is the most famous superheroine ever. She smart and sexy and strong (you know, practically a lesbian), and there is plenty of previous material to draw from. Stop making excuses and bring Wonder Woman to my movie screen immediately.
Are you ready for a female superhero film? What hero would you like to see and what actress would you like to see portray her?