2016 is turning out to be the year of female superheroes. And I don’t mean just the kind you find in comic books.
It’s happening. Movie screens are finally aligning with reality. 2016 is the year of the woman in movies. And in life.
Have you seen Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, when Wonder Woman comes to save Batman’s ass while Superman is unconscious? 2016 is the year women are blasting down walls, and the highest wall that’s beginning to crumble is in hard-to-penetrate Hollywood.
Did you know that, in 2017, Wonder Woman will have her own movie coming out, which includes Robin Wright? Did you also know that the chick selected to play Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) was Miss Israel 2004, served in the Israeli army AND is raising a daughter while she’s doing all this? Am I fan-girling over Wonder Woman right now? The more I get to know her, the more I love her.
All of this is happening only months after twenty-three year old Daisy Ridley held her own as a “strong female lead” in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Shout out to supremely talented (and visionary) Director J.J. Abrams for casting her.
Though many don’t realize it, entertainment shapes much of our biases (unfortunate as that may be). Here’s some research for you to check out. If we only see males in leading roles, and women as mere eye candy, it reinforces long-held notions that that’s all women are good for, and that women are incapable of saving the day as could a man.
This year, female superheroes are coming in every form and elevating our thinking in real life, not just in movies. And these images are visually transformative and groundbreaking for an America right now under attack by a virulent Donald Trump. While in the past Hollywood remained stubborn on moving the needle of progress, 2016 brings us reasons to hope.
On so many levels, women are wreaking havoc on centuries of outdated stereotypes about our ability to “carry a film”, run a company, command the military, own our identity, or overcome the label of bitchiness on the path to U.S. President. I have to say, I was even shocked myself earlier this month when Robin Wright went for Kevin Spacey’s salary. I may not have an Oscar or a bunch of Broadway shows. But I’ve got ratings and I run this show. Pay me.
Estrogen is in the air all over Hollywood. In Captain America: Civil War, Scarlett Johansson keeps winning in the role of Black Widow. All she needs is a meatier role where she does more than fight, and she has a chance to become this generation’s Sigourney Weaver (the Alien franchise, for those of you not on top of the scifi scene). I love that Black Widow is actually the voice of reason among the headstrong men of Avengers, and that quite often, they have to go through her to get what what they want. And Elizabeth Olsen is proving she’s more than Ashley and Mary Kate’s little sis as Scarlet Witch. Scarlett Johansson is a fantastic actress though, and as an aside, I hope she doesn’t pigeon-hole herself into action roles only.
I have not gotten a chance to see X-Men: Apocalypse, but they deliver on the female superheroes as well this spring. Alexandra Shipp plays a new, younger version of Storm, Jennifer Lawrence returns as Mystique, and my girl from Game of Thrones Sophie Turner is coming in as the younger Jean. Finally, the announcement has come down from Mount Olympus – er, Marvel – that it plans a Captain Marvel movie. Yes, for us non-comicbook readers, she is a woman. If this happens, she would be the first woman in Marvel to get her own movie. She’s a fighter pilot and a feminist, with half-alien DNA, and Marvel is banking on her to bring them box office success akin to what Katniss delivered in Hunger Games.
Those of you who lament that there is no hope for America, and that our society is falling to bigots, I must respectfully disagree. The characters in these movies, and our heroes in the real world, just aren’t going to let that go down. I do only have one quarrel though…
… Wonder Woman is not the greatest female warrior of all time. It’s Queen Dinah. With the nuclear power of half the Sun, she possesses the energy of several nuclear warheads, can destroy Earth and several other planets in hours, and put them all back together like Legos. And you know who wrote her. 😉