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Women as Superheroes in Movies

15 Jun 2007 16:53 #9571 by lfan
Women as Superheroes in Movies was created by lfan
Interesting article in USA Today revolving around women as superheroes in the movies:

www.usatoday.com/life/movies/news/2007-0...-surfer_N.htm?csp=34

Personally while I agree to an extent that the general populace will always favor male leads, I kinda disagree on their analysis (what little there is) on "why" female lead movies do not sell.

I LOVE the fact that people always pick on Electra and Catwoman, which arguably are the most recent female-drive comic movies. These failed for two different reasons, IMO:

1) Electra -- she has the powers of electricity right? Umm, she doesn't? Then who is she? My point being that of all the female characters to make, why choose Electra. I will boldly predict that 95% of the non-comic book fans never heard of her till Daredevil came out, and because it was so bad, 98% of them forgot about her. Jennifer Garner was the hot ticket/starlet at the time and they thought they could cash in on her fame even with her playing Squirrel Girl. Unfortunately, the movie going public does not solely dictate what they see from the pages of US Weekly. Hence, the box office flop.

2) Catwoman -- Catwoman was a train wreck from the get go....the costume, the casting, the script, the actors, etc. Similarly, like Electra, they tried to cash in on Halle's comic book fame (Storm) at the time and thought she was the purrrrrfect choice. However, unlike Electra, DC waits like 10 years between Catwoman's last appearance (Batman 2) to make it. Not saying that another movie needs to launch a female lead, but why now? Catwoman is a far more recognized name than Electra, but the stupid retooling of her I think chased even comic book fans away. That costume woulda been seen as terrible if it wasn't so laughable.

Personally, I think the comic book movies thrive based on the villians. The better the villian, the better the movie. Batman is such a succcessful franchise cause of the myriad of great villians. So many non comic book fans know them: Joker, Riddler, Penguin, etc. Same (to a lesser extent) for Superman: Lex Luthor, Brainiac, Bizarro. Female movies have a difficult time I think cause of their Rogue's Gallery. Even their comic book equivalent have a hard time supporting them becuase of this.

Case in point, the new Supergirl comic. 18 issues in, she has fought: Teen Titans, Superman, herself (twice), Outsiders, Power Boy (??), and Lex Luthor. Only the last one is a true villian that is recognizable. Time for comic book writers (and screenplay writers) to start thinking up some challenging, well thought characters* for these gals or I just fear more disater at the box office next go round, which is a slippery slope anyways.

My $.02
ElF

* For the record, Sharon Stone as a cosmetics mogul is NOT what I mean :P

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15 Jun 2007 19:14 #9572 by jdrock24
Replied by jdrock24 on topic Women as Superheroes in Movies

Personally, I think the comic book movies thrive based on the villians. The better the villian, the better the movie. Batman is such a succcessful franchise cause of the myriad of great villians. So many non comic book fans know them: Joker, Riddler, Penguin, etc. Same (to a lesser extent) for Superman: Lex Luthor, Brainiac, Bizarro. Female movies have a difficult time I think cause of their Rogue's Gallery. Even their comic book equivalent have a hard time supporting them becuase of this.


Good point.

I think that this is one of the problem with the Wonder Woman movie. I mean, who is in her rogue's gallery? I can think of the Cheetah off the top of my head and, honestly, no others are coming to me.

The point is, I don't think the audience at large knows any good WW villians or who they are. It would take a very good brainstorm to create one for the movie.

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16 Jun 2007 02:11 #9573 by CaptainIrishman
Replied by CaptainIrishman on topic Women as Superheroes in Movies

Personally, I think the comic book movies thrive based on the villians. The better the villian, the better the movie. Batman is such a succcessful franchise cause of the myriad of great villians. So many non comic book fans know them: Joker, Riddler, Penguin, etc. Same (to a lesser extent) for Superman: Lex Luthor, Brainiac, Bizarro. Female movies have a difficult time I think cause of their Rogue's Gallery. Even their comic book equivalent have a hard time supporting them becuase of this.


Good point.

I think that this is one of the problem with the Wonder Woman movie. I mean, who is in her rogue's gallery? I can think of the Cheetah off the top of my head and, honestly, no others are coming to me.

The point is, I don't think the audience at large knows any good WW villians or who they are. It would take a very good brainstorm to create one for the movie.


Wondys' most iconic enemy is the third reich

nazi germany

the first season of ww placed her in ww2, most of the iconic images from that 3 series run are of her battle with the nazis, its the biggest association

and thats a problem

If they go cartoony with their depiction of ww in ww2 then they will face a media shitstorm (and who could defend them) but if they try and portray serious nazis....they risk more moral panic (devaluing real heroes) and problems with meeting realism standards set by saving Private Ryan/ Schindlers list...and if they don't meet those standards the movie will be laughed into flopsville and that will be that

tackling the wondy/nazi scene is a lose/lose situation

So next we have the cheetah - and straight away mainstream media will go for the catwoman/cheetah blurring and shout 'cheap rip-off' and before we know it they've branded the whole project as a farce and see it as an attempt to put a catwoman movie in cheetahs' clothing...

I figure its lose/lose odds on that too, no matter how they play it cheetah will come across as the 'made in china' version of Catwoman (I know that they are different, youse know that they are different but c'mon?How many superhero movies have you seen that respect comicbook canon? Gwen Stacey in Spider-whine 3, Hello? Bane in Bats 4? Killing off prof X AND Cyclops)...

So what we are left with is the Supergirl approach (chuffin Nora I love Helen S but.....) just get a random ass witch or female nutcase never seen before and an instantly forgetable female 'character' with a half baked scheme for village domination (OR...town domination) and throw in a romantic uninterest and there ya go...(actually catwoman springs to mind here also) and we have flop-city all over again.

What I'm saying is that wondy is really in trouble from the start with the badguy/girl question - the villain defines the piece (Dr. No, Sheriff of Nottingham, D. Vader, Dr. Evil, Blofeld, Beowulf, Joker, Penguin Lex Luthor, King Lears' Daughters, Iago, T-101, Alien, Predator, Dracula, Borg, Dialeks, Cybermen, Klingons, Romulans, Replicators, Chucky, Vicious, The Mummy in Bubba Ho-Tep, The Nazis in Raiders of the Lost Ark, Graeme Souness.......) the Hero is only as heroic as the villain allows them to be (think Bruce Willis and Sam Jackson, Luke and Vader) the hero is measured by what they overcome...and if their enemy is as scary as a teletubby....then we hit flopsville...and I fear that the main challenge facing WW script writers is producing a top quality baddie and alas I think the nazis threat was her finest moment in theory (yet not quite in execution) but after that things go down hill....

Until they get it right they shouldn't even attempt it :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry:

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16 Jun 2007 15:28 #9574 by lfan
Replied by lfan on topic Women as Superheroes in Movies
I thought going with the Nazis was the best approach for mainstream audiences, but would be hardest to pull off like you said cause of comparisons with Saving Private Ryan and the like. Also, if not done well as a period piece, will come off campy and/or stupid.

That said, you bring up an excellent point reagrading Cheetah/Catwoman. Public might associate it with "flop" before it even gets out of the gate. Personally, I always thought the character was kinda silly (from JL cartoon) and I never took her seriously. Of course than was before they turned her into this savage, blood hungry "tear your throat" out villianess in the current comic incarnation. Either version I think isn't best suited to the screen, though the savage version MAY work.

Silver Swan? Eh, like cartoon cheetah, hard to take her seriously. Giganta, hmm, as much as people would love her around these parts, dont think she'd be right in the role for the initial movie.

The one best bet I think would be Dr Psycho. -- not really recognized by the mainstream but the classic, twisted evil genius with no powers and a grudge. If they did it right, I think it could work. And he is fairly well-known in WW lore to the comic followers as well.

Thoughts?

ElF


Wondys' most iconic enemy is the third reich

nazi germany

the first season of ww placed her in ww2, most of the iconic images from that 3 series run are of her battle with the nazis, its the biggest association

and thats a problem

If they go cartoony with their depiction of ww in ww2 then they will face a media shitstorm (and who could defend them) but if they try and portray serious nazis....they risk more moral panic (devaluing real heroes) and problems with meeting realism standards set by saving Private Ryan/ Schindlers list...and if they don't meet those standards the movie will be laughed into flopsville and that will be that

tackling the wondy/nazi scene is a lose/lose situation

So next we have the cheetah - and straight away mainstream media will go for the catwoman/cheetah blurring and shout 'cheap rip-off' and before we know it they've branded the whole project as a farce and see it as an attempt to put a catwoman movie in cheetahs' clothing...

I figure its lose/lose odds on that too, no matter how they play it cheetah will come across as the 'made in china' version of Catwoman (I know that they are different, youse know that they are different but c'mon?How many superhero movies have you seen that respect comicbook canon? Gwen Stacey in Spider-whine 3, Hello? Bane in Bats 4? Killing off prof X AND Cyclops)...

So what we are left with is the Supergirl approach (chuffin Nora I love Helen S but.....) just get a random ass witch or female nutcase never seen before and an instantly forgetable female 'character' with a half baked scheme for village domination (OR...town domination) and throw in a romantic uninterest and there ya go...(actually catwoman springs to mind here also) and we have flop-city all over again.

What I'm saying is that wondy is really in trouble from the start with the badguy/girl question - the villain defines the piece (Dr. No, Sheriff of Nottingham, D. Vader, Dr. Evil, Blofeld, Beowulf, Joker, Penguin Lex Luthor, King Lears' Daughters, Iago, T-101, Alien, Predator, Dracula, Borg, Dialeks, Cybermen, Klingons, Romulans, Replicators, Chucky, Vicious, The Mummy in Bubba Ho-Tep, The Nazis in Raiders of the Lost Ark, Graeme Souness.......) the Hero is only as heroic as the villain allows them to be (think Bruce Willis and Sam Jackson, Luke and Vader) the hero is measured by what they overcome...and if their enemy is as scary as a teletubby....then we hit flopsville...and I fear that the main challenge facing WW script writers is producing a top quality baddie and alas I think the nazis threat was her finest moment in theory (yet not quite in execution) but after that things go down hill....

Until they get it right they shouldn't even attempt it :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry:

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22 Jun 2007 07:40 #9600 by d_k_c
Replied by d_k_c on topic Women as Superheroes in Movies
DareDevil Rocked!

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22 Jun 2007 23:06 #9601 by Grayface
Replied by Grayface on topic Women as Superheroes in Movies
And here I thought I was the only person on Earth that like the DD movie.

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23 Jun 2007 06:02 #9608 by angels
Replied by angels on topic Women as Superheroes in Movies
Wonder Woman was never really my cup of tea as far as superwomen went. The whole amazon background and the lack of a quality title comic for her as I grew up kind of set me off to her initially. I'm a bit too young to have any fond memories of Linda Carter in the role, but thank God for tv shows on DVD. Since WW is such a senior character in the DC Universe, and with the success of the new superman and batman movies, the powers that be have all the right ideas finally to make a good superhero film out of this, so long as they don't alienate the newer fans and the fans who are generally unfamiliar with her stories. No matter where in the world you are, you know who superman is, what he can do, what planet he is from, and who his familiar friends and villains are. Batman might not be as familiar as an icon, but he's a simple character with a simple backstory and an amazing selection of villains to choose from. Wonder Woman has all the potential to be a great film as long as:

a) It's properly cast. As much as I'd love to see anybody in the "I wish she were super" forum fill out her outfit, so to speak, most of them are way too well-known and will bring a lot of preconceptions from past characters to their roles. I can never look at Elisha Cuthbert as Supergirl (despite Spulo's amazing pictures) because all I see is the annoying character from 24 or the Girl Next Door. I think a lot of people will do the same with Wonder Woman and we'll end up with another "Batman & Robin." Luckily Jude Law has a lot of action work under his belt or we'd never believe he could be Batman. I like the m.o. of the new Superman movies - find an unknown actor who actually FITS THE CHARACTER and instead of the current hot actor/actress in hollywood.

b) Setting/Plot. I'm pretty sure in this day and age, you couldn't pull off a Wonder Woman vs. The Nazis story without everyone crying offensive or rolling their eyes. A lot of the younger generations wouldn't get it or couldn't relate to it. I'm not saying she should fight Saddam and the Iraqis in the name of America; I'm saying get a team of good writers involved and write a plot that would captivate an audience no matter who the starring hero is. Bonus points for getting writers who wrote for a strong female lead - like Alias or Underworld or something. It can be done without a costumed villain (although the Marvel movies showed that it could be done very well WITH one as well) as long as we're given a hero we care about and can root for against a common enemy.

Just my $.02
=A=

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