Editorials

Why the Comic-Book Movie Industry Needs a Female Superhero

It's a man's world, but ladies always look better in spandex

In a time when comic book geeks are actually getting laid and cute girls are parading around the convention halls in next to nothing to emulate their favorite superheroines, isn't it a little sad that us girls have yet to have a quality superhero moment on celluloid? For the past decade or so we've been proud to shell out our ten bucks to the movie house to watch Tobey Maguire and Christian Bale kick ass in spandex, because seriously, it's Tobey Maguire and Christian Bale in Spandex, but we deserve more than that.

Male superheroes are great and I'll watch as many movies about them as the studios can shell out, but at the same time, attending the very same movies to see women reduced to the obligatory role of shrieking damsel in distress has been less than inspiring. Not to mention how it must look to the outside community to have the most powerful geeks in the business regressing to their no girls allowed stage. It's not too late to right this wrong, Comic-book movies are more popular than ever now, and there has never been a better time to include strong females into the equation.

The movies will seriously be better for it, for instance how many times have you heard this sentence, "that movie was kick ass, except I didn't like Kirsten Dunst," or "X-Men was so awesome but I wish they would have found someone else to play Storm." It's not just girls who complain about this. Did you ever stop to think that it isn't just the actresses who sully your favorite movies but the comic book movie industry's lazy attitude towards women characters in general? The actress is only as good as her material, and the material is seriously lacking. We need to take a good look at who is really responsible for this boy's club trend and how they can fix it. Who's to blame may shock you.

Christopher Nolan

THE PROBLEM: There are so many amazing female characters in the Batman universe yet none of them seemed interesting enough to include in the otherwise brilliant Batman Begins. Granted, the inclusion of Rachel Dawes paid off big time in The Dark Knight, but you have to admit, the first time around she was a bit of a head scratcher. Why not Talia Al Ghul? She could have been a much more compelling love interest for the first movie. Adaptations don't have to be exactly like the comics, but they do serve the purpose of effectively capturing characters we love and putting them on screen, so why ignore the women?

THE SOLUTION: Catwoman! If God is listening and Christopher Nolan does make a third movie within the next few years, then our friend Batman's gonna need a new love interest, it would be great to have one that doesn't need to be rescued all of the time (although once is fine). And for all of you who think that miss Selina Kyle is too obvious a character to include, well, so was The Joker and look how that turned out. After Michelle Pfeiffer's interpretation, which while entertaining was not an accurate portrayal of the Catwoman we know today, and of course Halle Berry's debacle, this iconic character needs to be redeemed something fierce. If anyone can do it, Christopher Nolan can.

Bryan Singer

THE PROBLEM: Well, he gave the ladies powers in the X-Men series, he just forgot the personalities. He turned the sexy, sassy southern belle Rogue into a mopey teenager, the diabolical Mystique into a naked mute, and the strong, regal storm into Halle Berry. If you're going to take liberties with classic characters, why would you choose to make them less interesting? While the male characters got fully fleshed out personas for the most part, every female character got a moody emo-bitch makeover, Jean Grey is the only character that came away unscathed, but she was already a moody emo-bitch to begin with.

THE SOLUTION: Well, the damage is done, so nothing short of a complete retooling a la Batman Begins will give us the X-Women we fondly remember. But the next time Singer gets the chance to make a female heavy ensemble picture, it would do him well to make the femmes more interesting to watch.

Sam Raimi

THE PROBLEM: Not only did he pull a Bryan Singer and desexify our beloved Mary Jane Watson, he completely undermined his reasons for doing so in the third film. Kirsten Dunst's Mary Jane was originally conceived as an amalgam of Spidey's two great loves, the fiery Mary Jane Watson and the sweet Gwen Stacy. That made sense, until they for no good reason added Gwen in the third movie to contrive an unnecessary love triangle. If they needed a love triangle, they should have gone with the second love interest who made sense, Felicia "The Black Cat" Hardy. She may be more or less a Catwoman clone, but her addition to the story would have been a lot more exciting then adding yet another generic damsel in distress to the picture.

THE SOLUTION: Work on Mary Jane, and stop making every female character in the series a catalyst for the destruction of Spidey's relationship, they have better things to do.

Rob Bowman, Jeannot Szwarc & Pitof

THE PROBLEM: If you haven't heard of these filmmakers there's a very good reason. They helmed Elektra, Supergirl: The Movie and Catwoman respectively. Granted they did exactly what I'm claiming hasn't been done, they made superhero films centered on women, but they did it wrong in every possible way. They diminished the chances of strong box office numbers and therefore hurt the willingness of studios to invest in further female centered comic-book adaptations by making them about heroines who were originally sidekicks or love interests, disregarding all of the perfectly good heroines who operate alone. Nobody would want to watch Aqualad: The Motion Picture, would they? Especially not if it were as poorly made as these three. If people think that female centered comic-book movies inherently suck, then they will never get made. Why do you think the Wonder Woman movie has been shelved more times than the comics on which it's based? A quality comic book movie can be made about a female hero, we just need a filmmaker who will put forth the effort.

THE SOLUTION: First of all, never let these three make movies again. Second, find someone who can not only make a film based on an iconic stand-alone superheroine, but who can make it brilliantly.

Women in comics are complex, strong, smart, beautiful, sexy, adventurous and perfectly lovable. If only the movies based on comics would portray them as such. Comic book movies may still be more of a guy thing, but women are a large part of the audience too, sometimes we just need to feel empowered. And you know that guys are still going to watch. Boobs and explosions are the most guy friendly combination imaginable, as long as there's a good story to go with the boobs and explosions, men will watch. So what are the studios hesitating for?

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  • mihirkula

    I think Chris Nolan is a misogynist ... though the movie was stunning, Guy Pierce's wife in MEMENTO was ugly ...... Hillary Swank in INSOMNIA was hugely miscast ...... Katie Holmes was a disaster in BATMAN BEGINS and so was Maggie Gyllenhaal in DARK KNIGHT.... SCARLETT JOHANSON was irritating in THE PRESTIGE. ........Bad pattern

    • Darik

      Guy Pierce's wife in Memento was "ugly"? That's your rationale for Chris Nolan being a misogynist- that the idealized woman that Guy Pierce is mourning for the entire run time of the film WASN'T a smoking hot supermodel-type? Do you know what the word "misogynist" means?

      "[Misogyny] is a central part of sexist prejudice and ideology and, as such, is an important basis for the oppression of females in male-dominated societies. Misogyny is manifested in many different ways, from jokes to pornography to violence to the self-contempt women may be taught to feel for their own bodies."
      -Allan G. Johnson, The Blackwell Dictionary of Sociology

      Casting an "ugly" woman in the part of a beloved lost spouse would seem to be the opposite of misogyny, don't you think?

      (BTW, Marion Cotillard in Inception wasn't that great either, but I don't think that makes Nolan a "misogynist"- I think it just means he has a tough time casting romantic leads, because that's not really where his head is creatively. Notice, for instance, that Ellen Page was a great choice for her role, which had no romantic overtones whatsoever. And Hillary Swank did a pretty good job in Insomnia, IMO.)

  • Dangerman_1973

    Love to see a Wonder Woman movie with a strong actress and that HOT leotard.

    Why Hollywood is chicken to make a strong superheroine movie? God knows.

  • V

    I love Chris Nolan but his greatest weak point is with the exception of maybe a couple, all of the female characters in his movies suck in some way or another. He gives the male characters multi-layered personalities while the women just serve as supporting vehicles for the male characters' story-arcs to progress. Which is the reason I highly doubt he will decide to include a powerful, scene-stealing femme like Catwoman in the next Bat flick. If he does, I'm guessing she will be a watered-down version in which case that character wouldn't be Selina Kyle/Catwoman at all!

    Th three superheroine-centric movies you mentioned above sucked because of their respective storrylines and sloppy, half-assed work on the behalf of everyone involved with those projects. I guess you are right in thinking they are the main reason why studio heads fear making more superchick movies. In this time and age, we really need movies about super-strong ladies like Wonder Woman. Did any of you guys catch the videos of the Taliban members mercilessly beating little school girls in Pakistan just because they wouldn't adhere to their ban on girls and women attending schools and getting educated? At that moment, I wished Wonder Woman would go speeding through the sky to the Middle East, Iron Man-style, to beat the shit out of those monsters and save those kids. Who wouldn't want to watch that on the big screen?

  • Amberdragon

    SO TRUE!!!
    I have been harping about this to all my male comic reading friends for years now. Not as brilliantly put together as this piece though.
    We need some good, kick-ass women with personality and interesting background. I no longer buy the argument that they jujst don't exist in the comics, not after Iron Man (I mean, who cared about him before the movie?). And look what Schumacher did to Batman! But these movies also tell us what we need more than a good character to begin with - a writer and a director that are really invested in the character and feel it is their mission in life to let us all know more about her. That's why Elektra never managed tot ake off, the people involved on that neither knew nor liked Elektra as Miller envisaged her. As for the Catwoman-film - I have blanked that from memory, the people involved should be prosecuted.

    Unfortunately, Wonder Woman is a hopeless character IMO, a perfect fairytale princess rather than the noir heroine that we all pine for. Batwoman, Supergirl, She-Hulk are all just derivatives of an original. Though She-Hulk could be really fun - she has some great potential so long as they do not make the movie too campy (impossible you say?).

    I would suggest The Black Widow from Marvel as a good prospect, who at least has an interesting background. Shadowcat might work, but will be for a younger audience. Modesty Blaise has true potential if she actually got a good scriptwriter. A re-make of Elektra as dark as Batman Begins would be my personal Dream Come True.

    Until then I comfort myself with reruns of the Alien-movies and T1 and T2 - proof that a strong female lead can deliver (and I do like the Resident Evil movies, I admit).

    • DC_Comic_Fan

      I completely agree. However, I don't really agree with why you think a Wonder Woman movie wouldn't work out. I saw the animated movie that came out in '09 and it was actually pretty good, maybe a little lacking, but still an overall success in my opinion. That's because instead of focusing on the uppity, stuck up princess personality that you envision Wonder Woman as having, the writers chose to focus in on her warrior like qualities and those of all the Amazons as well. The thing that would make Wonder Woman such an amazing character to make a movie about is her duality. On one end, she is a warrior, born and bred, who can kick some major ass and take no prisoners, but at the same time her character is not devoid of emotions and is still layered enough to convey emotional and moral dilemmas.

      Even if that is not enough for you to redeem Wonder Woman, there are still many other noteworthy female characters in comics that demand their own share of the spotlight. For one, I would love to see a movie about the DC comics superheroine, Vixen. Now I believe that its here that Halle Berry can find her niche in comic-based movies, not only because of her uncanny resemblance to the character, but also because I believe that she would be a natural choice to portray this character's duality of her own elegance and refinement vs. the brutish and animalistic nature of her powers and how her powers may even affect her own personality. I think that that would be an amazing story to see play out on the big screen.

  • Amberdragon

    Clarification:
    When I write "Look what Schumacher did to Batman" I meant that as a cautionary tale, that even a great character can be massacred by a bad director...

    In case that wasn't obvious.

  • adu

    I honestly dont see a great movie, with a female superhero as the lead. I lost faith after see crap like cat-woman and electra. The only movie that was good, but not exactly superhero, were the Underworld series.

    Yeah they women will look hot in spandex and what not, but I doubt the movie will be ever worth re-visiting.

  • kassiopeia

    @Amberdragon: True. Ellen Ripley and Sarah Connor have proved that you can have a strong female lead in an action movie, whilst even the much-maligned computer game adaps have given us Lara Croft in Tombraider and RE's Alice. The only comic book female I can think of who's been made "harder" for film is Wanted's Fox, who was a much more playful, seductive character in the comic.

    @mihirkula: I'll disagree on Hilary Swank and Scarlett Johansson, but the Batman women were annoying. Katie Holmes didn't convince as an assistant DA - although Chris Nolan said he wrote the part with her in mind she's still little Joey Potter! - and I wasn't in the least disappointed when Maggie Gyllenhaal was blown into little tiny pieces

    Catwoman's got to be a poisoned chalice now. OK, so the Halle Berry movie was appauling, but who can take on Michelle Pfeiffer, both in terms of great lines - "Life's a bitch, now so am I!!" - and, erm, aesthetics? I'm not really au fait with the other women in the Batman universe, but I am willing to hold my hand up and confess to liking Uma's Poison Ivy. Maybe because I was a naive teen, maybe because the other performances were so bad she looked good in comparison!

    Here's a mad idea - Cloverfield's a chick. How about pitting her against Spiderman?

  • Jay

    I wholeheartedly agree with every point made in this article!

    I hope Nolan takes on the challenge creating a fiece Catwoman/Selina Kyle (I'm talking Year One/Catwoman in Rome Catwoman) because Rachel Dawes wasn't cutting it for me, she was boring and the romantic connection between her and Bruce was weak (in both films).

    I also think that the movie industry needs to take the female storylines more seriously. "Catwoman" sucked moreso due to the plot and execution than the acting, IMO. Halle isn't my favorite actress but I couldn't picture anyone else doing more justice to that weak script...hell, in one scene she's saving people off of a lame carnival ferris wheel! (Nothing screams edge-of-your-seat action than that)

    If the industry would take the time to crank out a good, compelling story and cast an actress that is hot but also can deliver a damn line or two (Take note: WW casting dirs...an ACTRESS not an R&B diva) they would surely get a big payday that they're looking for.

  • http://www.simplysuperheroes.com Derek

    I think the problem with the portrayal of female superheroes goes a bit deeper than Hollywood's attempts at making movies about them.

    How do female superheroes gain credibility as strong role-models if they've been drawn for decades with Barbie-doll sized dimensions?

    If I was a girl and went through today's comic books to find a female superhero I could relate to or wanted to admire, I would quickly discover that the more female superheroes I looked at, the more I would see the same woman physically from the neck down but with a different superhero outfit.

    How does a Hollywood film maintain the comic-book physical dimensions of a female superhero and take her seriously as a strong role-model simultaneously? Because we can't and neither can Hollywood. They're stuck with this Barbie physical archetype that no one buys into.

    An independent film-maker has to think outside this box and create a Wonder Woman character from the inside out and let the chips fall if the audience cannot accept a female actor playing this character who doesn't remind them of Lynda Carter.

  • http://EddieisRiddlerinnewBatman rattler76

    A female superhero will have a much steeper hill to climb than a male. Not my idea thats just society I'm affraid. Not fair I know, I don't like it either.
    And then look at how difficult it is for a male superhero to actually get a good movie and then weigh in the factor that women allways have more difficulty to be taken seriously as tough, strong characters.

    With superhero's becomes camp so easily.
    X-men would've been very camp if they hadn't changed the outfits so that's something they can fix.

    Casting however is much more difficult
    Sigourney Weaver and Linda Hamilton are still some of the very few who pulled it off.
    Eliza Dushku was much more believable as tough girl than Sarah Michelle Gellar ever could have been.
    Lucy Lawless might've pulled it off somewhat if the show (Xena) itself wasn't so camp allready.
    Peta Wilson in La Femme Nikita was quite good and Milla Jovovich in Resident Evil wasn't to bad allthough still a bit flat characterwise (but that wasn't her fault).

    So forget about directors for a second, which actresses kan actually play a believable strong woman?

  • V

    @Derek: I agree with your complaint about many of the superheroines having Barbie-doll dimensions. But then again, aren't most of their male counterparts moulded in a similiarly "perfect" body type with their unbelievable 12-14 pacs and perfectly toned muscles bursting out at every inch of their body. Does Bruce Wayne without his mask really look all that different than say, Superman? Still, guys don't have any problem relating to the them. So I don't see why girls should have problems relating to comic book women regardless of their body type.

    @rattler76: IMO, I think Sarah Michelle Gellar was pretty successful in her portrayal of Buffy. Buffy wasn't supposed to be Faith anyway, she WAS supposed to have many "valley girl" characteristics. So I'm guessing your problem was really with the character, not the actress herself.

  • http://www.simplysuperheroes.com Derek

    @V: Sure, male superheroes are supposed to have perfect bodies as well.

    But gender dictates a different playing fields in our culture when it comes to how one looks.

    Women's appearance is valued so much more in our mainstream culture that a girl can grow up believing how she looks is more important than who she is.

    So if this is the (sad) case, what does she look for her when relating to a female superhero?

  • Jonathan

    You cant do it in spider-man im sorry ladies, There is no strong female character in the entire spider-man series, The Black cat is to much like catwoman so she cant be used, Mary-Jane was a strong character in the comic, but sam Raimi has already established her as an annoying, self-conscious, low-self esteem twit, that needs to be rescued at the end of every spider-man movie, I mean my god man, rescuing mary-jane is a part of the comic, but i dont think Mary-Jane as been the damsel in distress as many times in the comic as she as been in those 3 movies, its ridiculous, Sam Raimi should have been fired after that third movie anyway. Spider-Man was a wanted vigilante, The daily bugle had the popular opinion of him as a criminal, yet he had a parade, and peter was all ego, ridiculous, what a stupid premise for a movie. Peter is suppose to resent being spiderman like in the 2nd movie, which was also flawed but much better than the 3rd.

  • Dangerman_1973

    I don't know guys. I wish that they were movies based on my original, though somewhat "inspired" roster of superheroines:

    http://dangerman-1973.deviantart.com/gallery/

  • Dev Jr.

    I think Uma Thurman in Kill Bill is basically the ultimate female superhero, she's smart, sexy, cool, dangerous and performs super-human feats of daring do.

    And after finally seeing the wonderfully campy Planet Terror, I've also got high hopes for Robert Rodriguez/Rose McGowan Red Sonia I hear is in production. I think this could be great if allowed to be as gorey and violent as it should be.

    I also think it'd be a great idea for the Batman people to totally switch tracks and do the 3rd movie as a tightly written romance/crime caper with Catwoman as the antagonist. Why try to out-dark The Dark Knight? A movie starring Catwoman could outsmart it.

  • Andrea

    How about Jessica Jones from Alias by Brian Michael Bendis (art by Michael Gaydos)?

    An ex-superheroine who's gone into private investigating, a very non-typical superheroine who gave up the spandex and etc.
    Or something steampunk? Mina Harker was a very interesting (lead) character in the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen until that horrible movie came out with her turning into bats and things.

    You know, forget looking for a movie with a multi-dimensional superheroine. How about movies with just a regular woman character? There's definitely not enough of those. American movies, with some exceptions, are just terrible at getting these right. And it seems if the woman is younger, or good looking -- the chances of her getting a good, developed character and compelling conflicts decline rapidly, as if they took one look at her and figured her boobs could just carry the story...

    You know "The Rule" from Alison Bechdel's DTWOF comic? One character says she doesn't see movies unless it has at least 2 women in it, who talk to each other about something besides a man. The last movie she saw was Alien -- where they talked about the monster

  • Dangerman_1973

    @Dev Jr.: ''

    Um, I think you should see My Super Ex-Girlfriend.

  • S

    What about doing Sailor Moon? With the right cast and crew, it could be a great movie!

  • meerkat8

    I do hope Christopher Nolan tries something greater with the third Batman.

    Rachel Dawes was dumb. I'd love to see them tie up The Joker's character by introducing a feisty Harley Quinn (and I can see Kristen Bell doing that role justice) -- and bringing in Rebecca Romijn or Parker Posey as Catwoman makes sense too. They can preserve the Barbie doll bodies but, you know, make characters smart too. I mean the superheroes are typically Ken dolls themselves, more or less; they just get better lines.

    GET TO IT, HOLLYWOOD.

  • meerkat8

    @S:

    This is one movie I would want to be camp beyond belief. I mean like, directed by John Waters or Bryan Fuller levels of camp.

  • http://EddieisRiddlerinnewBatman rattler76

    @V: I agree SMG was right for that character and I don't have a problem with it at all. It was what it supposed to be.

    What I meant was that people now expect or are more likely to accept a darker hero type like the Faith character than a buffy like character.
    Especially in a movie within the DC or Marvel universes.
    The X-men and the Spiderman franchises allready dealt with darker, negative things in life and the Batman franchise really set the tone.

    That's one of the reasons Superman Returns failed. (yes there where many more reasons I know)
    The public now craves tormented souls that can be hurt instead of indestructable beings with a little heartache.

    So you need the right character which I'm sure can be found or (re-)created but again I ask: who can pull it off?

  • batmanfanboy

    There's something that frustrates me with all batman films, and really only Batman Returns became the exception to the rule. But Women can never change batman, every single batman film there's always a love interest. And it's a love interest that makes him question "can I live a normal life." The best part of Batman Returns is that Catwoman's life paralleled Batmans but also went further into the darker side a side batman could never go. But still even in as big as Dark Knight was there was no point is showing him desiring Rachel when she was glowing beside Harvey Dent. A bromance would be more effective story to tell about Batman and Dent instead of Batman and Rachel.

    But that's my complaint, it's just that there's still this stubborn desire by anyone who handles batman to force him into a relationship. We are well over 10 Batman feature films and some how each film still stumbles on how to portray a relationship with a work-a-holic who's devoted to his promise he made when he was 8 years old. If they want to really portray Catwoman, they need to really take a cue from the current comics and see why she's so successful as an on-going character then just in one movie's take.

  • patsy pitts

    This is a great article because it is so true. The female has many facets. I would like to see Beyonce play wonder women. I thought her performance in Cadillac Records proved she is all grown up now. The script should be written with layers of personal intrigue intiated by her personality and her perils in her life. The charector of Wonder Woman should not be overpowered by her supernatural powers of special effects. Special effects are awesome with little effort for the veiwer to believe in them (they are a given). So why not build a character with a superhero (human) challenge the viewer can relate to. Not the run of the mill one weakness they all seem to have. Not just a love interest or kryptonite as the challenge to overcome. Why can't Wonder Woman have an abusive mother and a kick ass love life with a another Woman that works well. Why can't Wonder Women be challenged by an imaginitive struggle beside the run of the mill super hero kyptonite.
    I challenge the readers to think of something different for our potential screenplay of Wonder Woman. Think out the box and post the idea maybe someone might take note and the film will become a quick reality. Thank you Thera for your insight.

  • Mark Ogilvie

    If it is going to happen at all it will have to be a third party heroine, someone from the Watchmen movie or an independent that can take off on its own. Something that would really shock everyone, Bomb Queen maybe. Putting Bomb Queen on the big screen would get attention.

    Mark

  • mostlyharmless

    Sam Rami has got powerful and interesting woman in his Legend of the Seeker TV series. They're not just small roles but pivotal to the series. There are many in the books, who are routinely more powerful and important than any Male characters.

  • Dene

    @V: Do you think any of it has to do with the kinds of relationships he's comfortable with the male characters having? It seems like he was interested in Bruce Wayne's relationship with Alfred, Lucius, the Joker, Harvey, Jim Gordon--all interesting relationships, but also mostly man-to-man. It's when he gets into the "Bruce loves this person in a vulnerable way" that things got imo cliche. Rachel in both movies just seemed like he liked her because she was obviously the love interest there to represent his virtue in some Victorian way. I mention this also because I know Nolan's always been very anti-Robin which also brings out a softer side of Batman.

    I just feel like he dives into some of this complicated male friendships and antagonisms but freezes up elsewhere and goes for cliche. Or maybe it's that he had to create a bland female love interest on his own (rather than, say, diving into the interesting Batman/Catwoman relationship in the comics) instead of having a complex relationships from the comics to spin off. I admit I lean more towards the first idea. I suspect Bruce/Selina in his hands might not be half as complex as he saw Bruce/Harvey Dent.

  • Sarah

    Im just waiting for the Buffy Movie, Joss Whedon is a genius, and he'll make it allllll better

  • angryjohnny

    Why do the words "comic book" always have to mean "superhero"? There are plenty of smart comics with female leads that would make great films and don't have one inch of cape or spandex. It is insulting to the art of comics to generalize them to one genre like superheroes. Anyways, Hollywood is largely sexist, vile, and influenced by the lowest common denominator. Why trust they can do the job when clearly movies like Catwoman and Elektra show they cannot?

  • http://stars-and-garters.blogspot.com/ notintheface

    1.She-Hulk starring Eva Mendez as the title character and another actress as regular Jennifer. Use LOTR-style visual trickery to make Eva look 7' tall. Watch the bucks roll in.

    2. Do another Electra movie but have Frank Miller (yes, I know about "The Spirit", but Miller is less likely to fuck up HIS OWN CHARACTER) and Robert Rodriguez direct it and have an actual Greek woman play Electra. Watch the bucks roll in.

  • http://katze-mit-wut.azundris.com/archives/222-Heritage.html Azundris

    S: meerkat8: But there IS Sailor Moon live action, and it IS campy!
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pretty_Guardian_Sailor_Moon

    Sarah: But there WAS a Buffy movie (shot and set before the series).

    «our friend Batman’s gonna need a new love interest»
    Really? Let's spell it out: heterosexual doomed love-interest. Sounds like a waste of time to me.
    I'd certainly appreciate some female characters though. I think I'd just appreciate it even more if being sexually available wouldn't be a prerequisite for being relevant.

  • Lynsey

    I sometimes wonder if the movie industry of today is to blame in the first place. How can they expect the actresses of today to play heroines like these when they are all either vacuous nothings or obsessed with their bodies so much it effects their self-esteem/confidence.

    The problem is picking women who are more concerned with their appearance but lets be fair - that's exactly what women are now. Eye candy. So you're looking for a woman who knows how to play a complex, strong, smart, beautiful, sexy, adventurous and perfectly lovable character nowadays? None of them think they're like that so how can they play it? (I know it's called acting but what part of 'you're pretty and thin' makes them actresses?)

    Even the ones that you deem good are good because the bar has been severely lowered.

    Find the talent and that's half the battle.

    I've never sounded more like a feminist in my life. Sorry.

  • shon

    I thought this article was on the money. People need to read comic books before they write screen plays. (you think) I like Thera I want to hear more from this writer.

    Shon

  • Dr. Lillie Burns

    I think this article was unique. I am 86 years old and it appears this writer shall be a great up coming jounalist. It has nothing to do with the fact I am her Grandma!
    Congratulations Thera

    Love,
    Grandma

  • MrNovvaty

    First off, I'm a male and I agree we need more female superheroes but the sad truth is female superheroes have less marketing appeal than male superheroes so it's no surprise that movies featuring heroines don't fare well at the box office. Tomb Raider was not the first to try this and was somewhat successful, the first film actually, but she's had far more recognition in the video game world than the silver screen. I'm clamoring for a Wonder Woman movie above all else, WHY? Because she's THE most famous female superhero of the world. Think about it. If it wasn't for her, Lara Croft wouldn't be where she is now and that's on a behalf of a fictional, virtual character. Think about the numerous comic books, TV shows, action figures, and other merchandise. In short, she's an ICON!!! What Warner Bros need to do is concentrate on making a great movie, forget that execrable "Catwoman" and "Supergirl" films that came out. Get A-list directors and writers as well as someone who embodies that character. In the case of TDK, Rachael Dawes, in my opinion, was a fine heroine in her own right who didn't need spandex and martial arts to see her through. And with the upcoming "Watchmen" movie we've got "Silk Spectre" among the male cast; it's better than nothing. And because I feel we need a female superhero movie in the current crop of male-centered ones, I will say in conclusion that Wonder Woman is the perfect jumping off point and that's my 2 cents.

  • Batzarro

    "While LOGAN got fully fleshed out"
    There, I fixed it.

    And hey, sidekick/love interest characters can be as good as anything else if done right. Supergirl is still cool when Superman isn't around(well, arguably, she's cooler). I'd see a Supergirl reboot...

    Otherwise I mostly agree. I don't see why these guys have sucha hard time of it.

  • http://www.eugenewoodbury.com Eugene

    The most compelling female action heroes in popular entertainment today can be found in manga and anime. Witchblade is one of the very few properties that originated in the U.S. (Top Cow Productions) and has been successfully licensed in Japan.

  • Witchy

    Come on... just make Joss Whedon's Fray.... it's awsome, it's a cool slayer and it's not Buffy... just a cool cast... Natalie Portman could do the trick...

  • http://community.livejournal.com/carole_and_co Vincent

    As soon as "Xena: Warrior Princess" ended production in 2001, Lucy Lawless should have been cast in a Wonder Woman movie. Contrary to an earlier comment, Xena was never a "camp" character along the lines of Adam West's Batman; instead, the episodes ran the gamut from intense drama to adventure to comedy to music (which "X:WP" did before "Buffy" -- sorry, Whedon fanboys). Lawless had the appropriate imposing physical characteristics to make a good WW, and as she proved in a recent animated Justice League film, she certainly comprehended the character.

    Unfortunately, Warners owns rights to DC characters and its executives have made no secret of their disdain for female-oriented superhero films. So while a proposed "Doom Patrol" project never got off the ground, DreamWorks essentially copied the concept -- freakish superheroes (including a giant woman) save the world. When "Monsters Vs. Aliens" becomes a big hit this spring, perhaps Warners will see the folly of its ways.

  • http://juicy-flawless.org Angela

    I don't think anyone was implying the Xena character was campy, but the show had campy moments. But that said, I agree with that. However, Lucy Lawless was already approached for the role (as far back as when the first season of Xena) and she turned it down several times. So its not about wishful thinking or hoping for a producer. I just think she just doesn't want to be type cast -- why else turn down A-list roles for years? But I digress. I find Wonder Woman to be a dull character.

    Re: meerkat8
    I don't see how you could say Rachael Dawes was 'dumb' and suggest a goofy
    cartoon character (Harley Quinn) to be added in the setting of Nolan's Batman films.
    She'd work in Schumacher's Batman films. I'm not saying Rachael was terribly interesting, but although she is not in the Batman mythos but she served a purpose in Batman Begins, and the tie in between The Dark Knight. I just wish he would of cast a better actress, and one that had chemistry with Christian Bale and didn't look half his age.

    I just wanted to note that Uma Thurman's character in Kill Bill was NOT a superhero. Who did she save in that film? She sought out for revenge, she didn't help anyone. Lastly, you don't have to cast an 'actual Greek woman' to play Elektra. What does it matter? Like the audience is really going to notice or care.

  • http://www.artsequential.com/ Shawn

    Have been reading about the mangled back story of Wonder Woman on a number of blog post. I was getting a clear picture on why they haven't made a Wonder Woman. I was excited when Joss Whedon was scripting a WW, but not surprised when it fell through. He said that he was going to use the invisible jet rather than have her fly. Come on, invisible jet? Not sure I would have sided with him on that one.

    The problem with leading female characters is that you need to write to your comic book audience (which is mostly male) and still write interesting and believable leads. I don't believe writing a strong female lead and dressing her up as a pampered playmate works for anybody other than teenage boys.

  • http://mightyjackmst.com/superindex.html MJ

    Action/supers are all sexy, incredible and impossible physical specimens. I don't have a problem with a sexy looking/garbed female character, anymore than I did seeing Bruce Lee rip off his shirt at a moments notice in his movies. That lean, cat like body was part of his appeal. But you need to have a great or at least enjoyable story behind this.

    I've read that Trinity ranked as the most popular Matrix character - so studio heads immediately sought to feature female heroes... after the Catwoman's and Elektra's tank, they dumped their planned Black Widow film and suddenly they're saying "Female heroes dont sell" - No, bad movies don't sell. People enjoyed Seline in Underworld, they dug Mila's Alice in Resident Evil - while neither movie was a classic, they were far better than what we got in Cat and Elektra. Make even a decent film, one that's entertaining.... and we'll watch it. Make a great film - make a Wonder Woman that's as on par with Spider-Man or the Dark Knight and positive word of mouth will get you a hit and a franchise series. Give us garbage like Catwoman? What did you studio heads expect? Even before it was released people were hearing bad things about it and then it was pulled from a proposed showing on IMAX. It was doomed from the get go.

  • Vicky Thorne

    I actually liked the Catwoman movie. Objectional costume, but it's CATWOMAN. Has there a better female sometimes hero, sometimes villian ever?
    Bonus points that, to my knoweldge, the switching of sides was never due to brainwashing or mental control or some such thing. That's what kept GI Joe: Rise of the Cobra from being perfect for me. The Baroness is not some random love interest mind controlled into doing evil stuff! She does evil stuff because she likes doing evil stuff! Also: Scarlet. The whole "emotions are illogical" could've worked, but then all of a sudden she's kissing Ripcord? What's up with that?

  • Chris`

    Back in '89 general audiences took to BATMAN despite the fact that the title character, classically handome and traditionally square jawed with an impeccable physique, was portrayed by an actor that....was the complete physical opposite of that ideal (hence the initial fanboy raging).

    Now do you think that on a WONDER WOMAN movie a studio would okay casting the female equivalent of Michael Keaton (attractive but hardly stunning)? The commercial appeal of female superheroes is based entirely on their look moreso than the male counterparts and that results in studios, writers and directors not taking the source material seriously.