A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

Where are the leading roles for superheroines?

courtesy of travelerstoday.com
Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman.

Every year there seems to be multiple movies following the exploits of superheroes, and with good reason. Comic readers have been enjoying the madcap adventures of these larger-than-life characters for nearly 80 years. It makes sense that moviegoers would love them just as much.

The movie-going public has grown to love Batman, Superman, Iron Man and Spider-Man. However, something appears to be missing: why are all the superheroes male?

There are just as many female heroes deserving the big picture treatment. Power Girl, Captain Marvel, Ms. Marvel, Huntress, She-Hulk, Black Canary, Dagger, Hawk Girl, Wasp, Star Girl, Vixen, Zatanna and of course Wonder Woman. That’s a long list isn’t it?

One could argue that most of these characters aren’t well known enough to warrant a film adaption. The same could have been said of Iron Man and Thor. Before 2008, no one knew who those characters were. But of course it’s the male characters that get a shot at their own films.

Let’s look at the most prominent female characters: super spy and avenger, Black Widow. She has  appeared  as a side character in “Iron Man 2” and “The Avengers.” While she does get some good development in “The Avengers,” it’s still not a starring role. Marvel has no plans to make a Black Widow movie despite fan demand and interest from Scarlett Johansson for the character to get her own film. However, even if Black Widow got her own film, it would not be enough. While Black Widow is an awesome character, she is more of a spy than an actual superhero. It’s not the lack of super powers that doesn’t make her a superhero. Batman doesn’t have any powers, but he is still a superhero. Black Widow is closer to James Bond or Jason Bourne than she is to Iron Man or Spiderman. It’s a slight difference but an important one.  Black Widow lives in a world of superheroes and fights alongside them but is not one. She’s one of the most important female characters in a superhero film franchise, and she isn’t even a superhero.

In the X-Men film series, the films bring to life some of the X-Men’s greatest superheroines like Storm, Jean Grey, Rogue and Kitty Pryde. Except Jean Grey is severely depowered and focuses on her love triangle with Cyclops and Wolverine. Rogue loses her flying and super strength, long considered part of her powers, to make her a damsel in distress. Kitty Pryde is regulated to small cameos throughout the film series.

Wonder Woman is finally coming to the big screen in a supporting role in the Batman vs. Superman movie. But she will get her own film June 2017, directed by Michelle MacLaren, best known for work directing episodes of “Breaking Bad,” “The Walking Dead” and “Game of Thrones.” Why wait until 2017 for a Wonder Woman film and focus on making a movie for characters who have starred in a combined 14 films?

On a similar note, Captain Marvel will get her own film in November 2018. This is after two more Avengers movies, an Ant-Man movie, another Captain America movie, a Doctor Strange movie, another Thor, yet another Spider-Man film and a Black Panther movie. Sensing a pattern here?

Hollywood is reluctant to make superhero movies with female stars because producers and writers are reluctant to have female leads in movies, especially in action movies. The studio executives dismiss every female lead success such as “The Hunger Games” and “Aliens” as flukes.

The fact there hasn’t been a major female lead superhero movie is ridiculous. Women, young and old, need to see themselves standing equal to the male heroes. They deserve to be seen more than just love interests or bit players. There is currently no lack for demand, or a lack of characters. It’s time that a superheroine gets the spotlight.

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Sean Curzon
Sean Curzon, Staff Writer

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