Where Are All The Super Ladies?: Why Studios Need To Get Behind Female Superheroes

It’s no secret that superhero movies are big box office stalwarts. They’re huge. The Avengers: biggest movie ever (and it was SUPER AWESOME). Super hero movies have become ingrained in American cinema since the first Superman in 1978. Though it took a while for another comic book adaptation to really grab hold of audiences again (I’m looking at you Spider-man), they’re here to stay now. The Dark Knight Trilogy amazed and captivated not only fanboys, but everybody. It changed how we see our superheroes, and what we’d like to see from heroes that aren’t all that super. It also altered the story of the protagonist in many films after its release.

Comic book adaptations do so well, it seems like every character is getting his light in the sun. I will count myself among the skeptical masses when it was announced that Thor would get his own movie. Thor? Really? However, I loved it. And continue to love it, and can’t wait for the sequel (and thank you, Kenneth Branagh, for bringing us muscle-toned Hemsworth in all his glory). I will also admit that I’m more invested than a lot of people, and girls, when it comes to superhero films because my grandfather raised me on comic books as soon as I could read. Superman is my favorite (I know, I know, but I love him) and I’m eagerly awaiting his newest adaptation, Man of Steel! I’ve enjoyed most of the comic book adaptations that we’ve been graced with by the movie powers that be.

But, there’s still something amiss. There haven’t really been adaptations for any of the female superheroes that grace the illustrated page. You’ll say, “But wait, Shannon, what about Catwoman and Elektra?” To which I will respond, “Those were adaptations, yes, but they weren’t given the same seriousness and due the male counterparts receive on a daily basis.” And Elektra and Catwoman? Really, DC? I love me some Jennifer Garner and Halle Berry, so no disrespect, but those movies were wrong from the get go (the barely there costumes and barely there plots). Elektra could have been AMAZING!

Catwoman is a whole other story, because Catwoman deserves her own movie (or series of films). No matter which Catwoman origin story you prefer, the character is an enigma and could hold her own in a blockbuster. Christopher Nolan’s Catwoman as portrayed by Anne Hathaway in The Dark Knight Rises added depth and humor and a sly femininity to the film. I’d watch a whole movie based on that character and that version of Ms. Kyle all day. The cat-burglar/villain/love interest/sometimes good guy, I love it! Tim Burton had even developed and started pre-production on his own Catwoman film during his Batman hey-day, but the studio didn’t believe it would sell, that it was too dark and that no one would care about Catwoman. It was shelved and he was fired. I say, bring it back! Work with Nolan so it’s not campy but realistic, and EVERYONE would go see it.

I firmly believe the party line on superheroine films is that studios never believed they would sell. They haven’t seemed to have faith that men would go see a movie about a woman kicking ass. That women would be interested, that anyone outside the fanboy realm would care. To be fair, the adaptations they have chosen to produce and distribute have proved their point. Self-fulfilling prophecy, much?  But 2013 is a different time. Women are kicking ass EVERYWHERE – on television, in larger blockbusters with men or on their own. The Hunger Games was the third largest grossing film of 2012. Its lead is a kick ass girl, and men and women and fanboys all lined up to see it. And keep seeing it. Black Widow was featured in both Iron Man 2 and The Avengers and tore up the screen! Heck, even Brave, Pixar’s first film featuring a strong female lead, cracked the top 10 for highest gross in 2012.

I guess the point I’m trying to make is that the way movies are changing these days and the amount of stories that focus on women, the amount of women who love going to movies and the way stories are being told seems to leave the door open for more female-centric plotlines. Plus, a movie’s success is starting to boil down to how strong the characters are, no matter their sex. Katniss works for everyone because she is a strong lead – it doesn’t matter that she’s a girl. Catwoman worked in The Dark Knight Rises because she added a strong foil/antagonist to Batman and they played off each other well.

With all of the female superheroes around, why haven’t studios decided to forge ahead in to the new century and have a go? Why hasn’t Wonder Woman ever, EVER, been on screen? The invisible plane seemed to be an issue for a while, but Joss Whedon clearly knew what he was doing with the invisible air craft carrier in The Avengers, so that’s a moot point (and a shout out). The lame costume? Can totally be updated and still be sexy for the boys/studio heads. The lasso of truth? I’m still down with it. Wonder Woman is such an iconic character in American lore, it’s a shame she doesn’t get any respect. David E. Kelley tried to get a television series going, but was shot down after pilot season. Joss Whedon has been trying to get Wonder Woman on screen for years, and hasn’t been able to do so. He would be the PERFECT director for a Wonder Woman project because he has written some of the strongest women to exist in media (Buffy!) and he understands how truly kick ass a woman can really be, while still in a sexy, form-fitting costume to appease the men (ScarJo as Black Widow, Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill). Dude just gets it.

Both Storm, and Jean Grey have huge X-Men followings, and Kitty Pride is another fan favorite. A movie about the three of them would be awesome, let alone a single film on any. I’d love a Storm back story, Storm is awesome! Jean Grey/The Phoenix is another story that would be awesome on screen, especially with the dual personality aspect. Batwoman has a HUGE following and would tie in some current life events, considering her proposal to her girlfriend in some of the most recent issues of the current comic series. And I don’t know about you, but I’d love a movie featuring Black Widow and her Russian assassin/turned S.H.E..I.L.D employee past.

As a comic book fangirl, I would love to see any of these movies. As a girl, I would love to see any of these movies. As a movie fan, I would love to see any of these movies. You get the idea. I know a lot of women and girls and fanboys out there feel the same way. I hope that Katniss Everdeen is leading the way and breaking through the heroine glass ceiling.

What do you guys think? What super heroines would you love to see fly on the big screen?

Featured image via Movie Beauty

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