We’re now three weeks into the summer blockbuster season and it’s time we have a talk. It’s a talk we’ve had before and will doubtless have again, but it’s an important one that we will continue to have until it’s no longer needed. It’s time to talk about lady superheroes.
It’s no secret that women are woefully under-represented in the summer blockbuster scene. The fact that the phrase “lady superheroes” is necessary speaks volumes all on its own. Why can’t we just call them superheroes?
This week’s summer blockbuster, Judd Apatow’s “The Other Woman,” was a welcome burst of estrogen, that unfortunately is getting really bad reviews. While we are strong supporters of girl power and big fans of Leslie Mann and Cameron Diaz, headlines confirmed our fears that the film has not quite made the full leap to the female empowerment we hoped for. You’ll have to check in Friday to see what we’ve chosen as its replacement.
Not that there hasn’t been improvement. We’ve seen plenty of fantastically fierce feministas kicking some superhero butt in recent years, but it’s quite often in the shadow of the the headlining male lead.
…and don’t even get us started about the decision to make Wolverine the time-traveling protagonist in the forthcoming, “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” when Shadowcat, a female character, is the hero of that story in the comics.
This summer’s lineup is once again heavy on the testosterone, so in an effort to even things out, we thought we’d each share some of our favorite female characters. Thank you for giving us these powerful women, now let’s see if we can work on a successful woman-led franchise:
Maria Hill (from “The Avengers”): The current Marvel franchise has given us many wonderful things and Agent Maria Hill is definitely one of them. Her introduction in “The Avengers” may have been a little underwhelming, but I think it’s safe to say that Captain America and Director Fury would have failed in their latest victory were it not for the masterful efforts of Ms. Hill and Natasha Romanoff (another wonderful woman of the Marvel universe). Finally, as long as I’m in the Marvel neighborhood I have to give props to Joss Whedon, a man who’s given us some of the best modern female characters. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Don’t worry, you’re just not as big a dork as I am. Buffy, is all I have to say, and I rest my case.
Gwen Stacy (from “The Amazing Spider-Man”): No offense to Mary Jane Watson, but from the moment I learned of Ms. Stacy’s existence in the world of Spider-Man I haven’t missed her even for a moment. Gwen’s smart, sassy, and Spider-Man would be lost without her. After years of seeing Mary Jane play the damsel in distress, it’s refreshing to see Mr. Parker with a woman who can hold her own.
Lois Lane (from “Man of Steel”): I would like to make it very clear that I’m specifically referring to the Lois Lane portrayed by Amy Adams in “Man of Steel.” No offense to the other talented actresses who have played the role, but this version of Ms. Lane is the first that isn’t borderline insulting. Are we really supposed to believe that Lois, an otherwise highly intelligent woman and investigative journalist, is fooled by a pair of glasses? Not only does she put two and two together in this latest adaptation, but she also does it before Superman even technically exists. Finally, we get a Lois Lane who makes sense.
Elizabeth Swann (from “Pirates of the Caribbean”): Okay, so Ms. Swann is a little outside the superhero realm, but still an impressive heroine. She manages to hold her own in a world dominated by men (who also happen to be pirates). Instead of becoming a victim, and giving into societal expectations she rescues herself. Her departure from the series is one of the reason’s the latest Pirates installment floundered at the box office. Plus she can hold her own against a pirate in sword fight.
…just for fun: