Now there is no denying the super hero movie franchise is making billions across the globe and has made many in Hollywood lots of money. All that being said I am now completely bored of the boy's club we have going on. In the 7 years since the Marvel Cinematic Universe began we have seen a total number of 3 actual female heroes (Black Widow, Lady Sif and Gamora) and then a few non-powered females (Maria Hill, Pepper Potts and Peggy Carter). Then we have those popping up in films by other studios such as X-Men. But they never seem to get the girls right. My question is why? Why are they so scared to give a female character amazing powers like the boys? Why no female hero movies?
Female heroes have been utilized in TV shows for decades and yes they share the show with the boy but as with many TV shows they all eventually get spotlight episodes. For me these episodes tend to be the more interesting in the shows as you see the girls fight just as well as the boys and in many cases better. I give you the following examples.
Rogue - A Rogue's Tale.
This episode comes from the 1990's X-Men animated series and saw the origins of how Rogue gained the abilities she had. It also saw the first out of comic début for Ms Marvel. This episode was clever as it showed Rogue's back-story and opened up a whole lot of questions for viewers such as her past with Mystique. Now in 1 episode you have two female heroes fighting each other and a female villain pulling all the strings. This episode has always stuck out in my head from all the X-Men animated series despite them featuring Sentinals, Apocalypse and the Phoenix Force! So why did we get a weak Rogue that I'd of happily seen die off after the second movie?
Ms Marvel - Avengers Earth's Mightiest Heroes
Seeing as I mentioned her already why not cover Ms Marvel next. Now I couldn't find a clip to show how amazing this character was in Avengers Earth's Mightiest Heroes but let me give you a break down. She was not in the show from the start, only appearing in one episode of series one which featured her origin story, but she did join the team in the beginning of series two. Now I am sure you are thinking how can she be that good when the team has Thor, Hulk and Ironman already as its heavy hitters. Well sometimes there is nothing like a woman's touch. In one episode she took down Ronan (if you have seen Guardians of the Galaxy you know who this brute is). But what may surprise you is she took him down after the combined efforts of the Hulk, Ironman and Captain America had already failed. She went solo against him and came up on top and saved the world from a Kree invasion. She even went toe-to-toe with the Hulk in the show and held her own and at the end of the series was the only Avengers to take on Galactus despite her massive disadvantage against him. They showed a female hero can have epic powers and be a power house on the team. So why have we not seen her yet?
Wonder Woman - Justice League War
Well I guess with Ms Marvel covered lets tackle Wonder Woman. Recently showing up more and more in the last few years, but she is the forgotten member of the DC Trinity. Justice League War being featured on the New 52 I was at first unsure how I would receive the changes but on the whole they were not that bad. What I did love was the new more aggressive Wonder Woman who doesn't just say she is superior to any man but instead proves it. She took on Darkseid while the all powerful Batman and Superman were off screen. How has this character not received anything in decades on the big screen? I am completely confused personally but at least there is hope for 2017....but still enough time for someone else to make their female hero movie first.
She-Hulk - The Cure
Now this was perhaps the highlight episode of a pretty dull series. This series of Fantastic Four on a whole just did not work but for this one episode it came to life. It featured Ben Grimm gaining a cure from his powers but that then resulted in the FF needing a new member...Enter She-Hulk! Even if she is basically a female counterpart of her cousin just with a higher IQ when all green, she still knows how to smack down. In the episode we saw her go against the Mole Man's lava beasts and in addition to great fight scenes we had some great one liners coming from the green babe throughout. This only proved further a female hero can kick it as good as the guys and also come out with better quips to throw out in battle. So why not have two gamma heroes?
Hawkgirl - Justice League
Now what I love about the old Justice League TV series is how they didn't go with Hawkman but instead Hawkgirl. She was a brilliant addition to the show with how she was 100% not what you expect from a female character. She was one of the boys at heart and I always loved how she would defend herself as to being "not" the one who started a fight. The portrayal of an female with a barbarians will to fight and press forward was just brilliant. I have yet to find a female hero in any other media that has shown this attitude and I loved every minute of it. Then they would shock you and you would suddenly see a softer side of her which would show she had many layers to her character. So why have we not seen her since this show?
Supergirl - Superman Unbound
Now the clip above I think perfectly states why a Supergirl movie could be epic. As Lois says, "rebellious, angry at the world, doesn't know her own strength." But what is so interesting in this movie is see her fear over the Brainiac drones and how she still feels powerless against them despite having powers on Earth. It is always interesting to see a physically strong character doubt everything they can do. For me this is the best candidate to reach out to women as an audience. She is a character people would feel more able to relate to due to her inner issues. But since the flop of the 1980's movie it doesn't matter how hard we pray they seem to be scared to try again. Hopefully Supergirl will see the big screen again, possibly in a Superman sequel?
Storm - Her Powers Used Properly
Now Storm has had plenty of screen time through the X-Men film series but they never captured her powers properly in my opinion. We primarily see her using a little bit of flight and a lot of lightning. If they wanted a mutant who just had electrical powers they could have opted for Surge instead. Now as you have seen from this compilation of clips from the X-Men animated series she had many more uses with her powers than has ever been explored in the movies. Where if you look at Wolverine in the movies he seems to be able to do anything. Why would they play down the powers of a female and boost the powers of a male? For me Storm is one of the most powerful characters in Marvel and has never been captured properly in the movies. Are they to scared to take the weather witch to the next level?
Batgirl & Wondergirl - Young Justice
Now this pair I think would make a great movie together. The confidence and skills of Batgirl combined with the power and eagerness of Wondergirl. The pair entered series two of Young Justice with a bang. For Batgirl it was the first time we saw her operate away from Batman and it was Wondergirl's TV début. It would be a great dynamic for a film but as much as we could hope for this it is highly unlikely. However that being said I do hope we seen them enter the DC Cinematic Universe. I for one would just like to see Batgirl appear before Robin as we need someone to restore faith in film fans after the terrible film Batman & Robin. Will we see them in the DC Cinematic Universe?
So that is just a handful of characters out of a much larger pool available. But they do not have any excuses. Japan could give them plenty of inspiration without any difficulty in how to portray a strong female character. Below is a clip from an anime which is part of the "Magical Girl" Genre featuring Cure Moonlight vs Dark Precure. As you will see a female fueled battle can be visually amazing while combining grace with power.
Magical Girl anime has been going on since the 1970's and has seen many different incarnations and yes most are light hearted but every now and then you get a jewel of a character like Moonlight. A female hero who is just epic on a new level. Marvel, DC, Fox and Sony could all learn a thing or two just by watching Cure Moonlight.
They also can not claim they have no stories for female characters as Ms Marvel, She-Hulk, Wonder Woman, Rogue, Supergirl, Hawkgirl and Storm have all held their own solo comic book titles before or are currently staring in them as you read this.
What is Stopping them doing it?
Well the answers are all pretty obvious. The three big female superhero films that were tried all flopped!
The Supergirl movie failed to impress. I think the biggest flaw was them not featuring Superman in the movie to clearly tie the two together. But the other problems were a villain created for the movie and not featuring any already established villains from the comics. The story did not follow any DC storyline and seem to basically ignore all the DC material they had available. Also you sometimes find yourself wondering if the film was even needed. The storyline was pretty weak and never captured the audiences like the Superman films at the time.
This movie completely bombed and what you can not help but wonder is why they even thought the movie would be a good idea. The Daredevil movie fell like a lead balloon so why did they think a spin-off movie would do any better. Again like the Supergirl movie their was no real link to the Daredevil movie and the villains she faced were complete rewrites from their comic book counterparts. The storyline was weak and left you feeling like you had wastes 90 minutes of your life.
Now I am the first to admit I am more of a Marvel fan than a DC so maybe a DC fan can explain to me what was the point of this movie? It seemed to me more of a reason for them to stick Halle Berry in a black PVC outfit to fuel boys' fantasies. I found myself really confused as to why a jewel thief was suddenly very interested in a cosmetics company and taking down the woman in charge. It just seemed so odd and had no links to anything Batman related. I mean even a cameo of Bruce Wayne at a function could have pleased some fans. All in all I believe they thought a hot actress in a skin tight outfit would make it a blockbuster regardless of a terribly pointless storyline.
These three films have damaged the chances for a strong female centred superhero movie.
There is Hope
This could change however next year. Next year Marvel begin rolling out their series they have coming to Netflix and as we all know Jessica Jones is set to star in her own series. So if this series is a success it may encourage the studios to take a chance and put a budget behind another character. However my fear is if Jessica Jones's series receives the lowest ratings out of the 5 planned series that we will never get the female hero movie we have always wanted. With that being said I am sure Marvel are trying to make sure Jessica Jones does not become the next Supergirl, Electra or Catwoman. We will have to simply wait and see what happens especially now with the addition of Scarlet Witch in Avengers 2 Age of Ultron.