Friday, July 25, 2014

Women in Comics - Who is ready for the big screen?

I took part in a brief but cool Twitter discussion about when Marvel was going to do a movie around one of its female characters and who it could be.  Having looked at what we've gotten so far in superhero films, I'd say it's past due time.  As far as I know, the only woman-centered superhero films have been Supergirl from back in the 80s and from the 2000s Elektra and Catwoman. From all accounts they were awful.  Of the three the only one I saw was Supergirl and I can tell you it was terrible.  Even as a preteen I knew I was watching complete and utter crap. Given that we're in the midst of an incredible run of quality superhero films there's no reason why we can't get a good one now.  So what's taking Marvel (and the other studios) so long, and will DC move faster now that it is establishing its own film universe?  And which characters warrant the risks, both real and imagined, of doing a movie centered around a female superhero?  There are some obvious answers, and some not so obvious ones.  Here are my choices, based on the simple criteria that it's someone who the movie going audience at large is familiar with and wold consider worthy of a solo film.  Here are my choices:

  • Wonder Woman - No brainer.  The first, and most well know, most iconic female superhero around.  Thankfully, DC reportedly has a Wonder Woman film in the works as part of its list of films to spin off of the coming Justice League-centered films.
  • Storm - She just got her own solo comic series, and if she's not the number one woman in the Marvel comic universe she's pretty close.  I've seen a lot of people, be it on Twitter or in internet forums, calling for her to get a film.  There are two hangups right now.  One, Fox studios is busy prepping for the next X-Men film which Storm will be a part of.  And second, while a lot of people want a Storm-centered movie, there isn't a whole lot of enthusiasm for Halle Berry to continue playing the role.  Berry's performances have been panned ever since the first X-Men movie, and with a popular option for a replacement available in Lupita Nyong'o an announced film starring Berry might be met with groans and empty seats from lots of people who might otherwise go to see it.
  • Black Widow - Long a supporting character in the comics, Widow became a lot more interesting once Scarlett Johannson donned the black jumpsuit and got a lot of attention in Iron Man 2.  We saw more of her in the Avengers film and she was an integral part of Captain America: the Winter Soldier.  She has her own comic series now, so her own movie would be the right next step.  In fact, I'd prefer Marvel went with her next up as opposed to someone like Ant-Man, who nobody outside of hardcore Marvel comic fans is clamoring for.  The character has been set up well and with an A-list actress already doing a great job in the role there's no reason to hold this off.  Get with the program Marvel!

Those are the quick and easy choices; there are some others that could work.  We'll get to see Scarlett Witch in Avengers 2 next year.  If done right, she can definitely make a big enough impression to pique peoples interest in seeing more of her.  Captain Marvel hasn't been in a live action film or television show, but she's a big enough character in the comics that a good introduction in one movie could serve as a good set up for her own movie.  On the DC side it's a little harder once you get past Wonder Woman.  A good Catwoman film might work.  People know Batgirl, and she has her own comic book, but I don't think she's a big enough deal to surpass the perception among non-comic book readers that she's an also ran.  The same goes for Black Canary, Katana, Huntress, etc.  But if the DC film projects succeed like the Marvel ones have, the space could there in the future.  Only time will tell, but it definitely is time to find out.

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