The Female Superhero: A New Age of Superhero Movies
Women have been in comics since the beginning and the birth of female superheroes such as Wonder Woman, Batgirl, Ms. Marvel, and Storm opened a new era. However, despite female superheroes rise to fame in comics very little has been done to bring them to theaters as the main protagonist.
On July 23 of 2004, Catwoman first hit the box offices. This was one of the first live action motion pictures also known as a Batman Returns spinoff. Catwoman is a relatively well-known female superhero, but despite her fame this movie with a budget of $100,000,000, did not break even making an estimate $82,000,000 during its run at the theaters. The movie’s failure could be based on the anti-hero characteristics of the character that can make her hard to relate to at times. Catwoman always drifts back and forth between being a self-serving villain and a compassionate hero who stands up for women. At the time of release it is noteworthy to mention the demographic of superhero movie goers were mostly men. Men connected easier to fellow male superheroes and heroes they actually knew about beforehand.
In 2005 another attempt at a female superhero emerged, Elektra. This time the superhero was relatively unknown. This forced audiences to research Elektra beforehand to understand her origin. Elektra failed at the box office, like Catwoman before it. The movie was unable to make back the $43,000,000 budget. The dialogue between the audience and the character is crucial to a movie’s success. With Elektra as the star there was no preconceived idea of her identity. The movie’s attempts to explain the origin of the complex character left things jarring and at times hard to understand. This led to the movie’s downfall.
The combined lack of success between Catwoman and Elektra could explain the lack of attempts to bring out a female superhero as a main protagonist since then. However, since the success of female superhero Black Widow in the Avengers Franchise, the female superhero has become the talk of future movies. The demographic of superhero movie goers, although still more dominantly men, has begun to even out with female movie goers. With a more diverse audience, and more publicity on female superheroes, the advancement of a female superhero movie has become a possibility again. After years of male dominated superhero movies the female superhero is finally getting her own debut with two noteworthy upcoming films, Wonder Woman from the DC Universe and Captain Marvel as well as Black Widow from the Marvel Universe.
Scheduled Release Date: June 23, 2017
Although it will be a few years before the Amazonian Warrior-Princess Diana has her own movie, she is appearing in the new Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice and of course will be in the November 17, 2017 Justice League movie. Wonder Woman has a variety of arcs in the DC Universe to be sifted through for the origin of the character. The selection process led the writers to choose Diana’s new origin in the New 52 universe. This changes Diana from being made of clay by the magic of the Greek Gods to being the daughter of Queen Hippolyta and Zeus. This makes Wonder Woman a demigod and makes her easier for audiences to connect to. The Percy Jackson movies did well in movies displaying that a demigod can be relatable to audiences.
Wonder Woman should succeed in theaters for a variety of reasons. Wonder Woman according to DC is the “most famous heroine of all time”. Her fame leads to a large fan base. According to the Movie Picture Association of America in 2013 women and men were about even in attendance at the theaters. This makes now a prime time for female superhero movies to emerge. Wonder Woman has also been featured in many children’s cartoons including various Justice League cartoons and her own self titled animated films. Her presence on screen has also been made in a self title TV movie in 2011 as well as one of her first appearances on screen with her own TV series called Wonder Woman, which ran between 1975 -1979. Her TV series was rated 7 out of 10 by IMDb. The dialogue between the audience and the character is well established. As long as director Michelle MacLauren stays true to the spirit of Wonder Woman in her new origin story, the movie will succeed bringing in lots of money for DC and her partnering film company, while proving that a female superhero works on the big screen.
Scheduled Release Date: July 6 2018
Captain Marvel has been known under other names before finally being called Captain Marvel. Carol Danvers was a member of the Air Force before an accident subjected her to radiation from an alien species known as the Kree. The Kree may sound familiar. Ronan the Accuser and Korath the Pursuer from the blockbuster film, Guardians of the Galaxy are both from the Kree race. As seen in Guardians of the Galaxy, the Kree race is technologically advanced and highly militaristic.
When Carol first discovers her powers she names herself Ms. Marvel. She later changes her name to Binary, and then Warbird before adopting her current name, Captain Marvel. The radiation from the Kree gives her superhuman strength, speed, endurance, and flight. She also has a limited sixth sense that renders her resistant to most poisons and toxins. Her seventh sense is the ability to absorb energy (excluding magical energy without consequences) and blast it at her enemies. With such a wide and hefty list of powers Captain Marvel is a very powerful adversary.
Her popularity stems from her capability and autonomy. She is incredible strong with a full list of powers that allow her to rescue herself from dire situations, unlike other female heroes who tend to be called cheap knockoffs of male heroes. She is self sufficient and does not rely on other superheroes or organizations in the Marvel Universe. Unlike other female superheroes she is capable of handling the tasks she sets on. She is competent in her decisions and her blunders do not leave her in a situation requiring rescue. Captain Marvel has been praised by fans for her ability to be her own character with a complex and compelling personality. Carol dynamic personality brings her to life on the page, and sets her apart from other female superheroes.
Recently, according to the Inquistir, an unconfirmed but credible sources has stated Captain Marvel may have a cameo in the new Avengers: Age of Ultron. This will be a great test run for the hero and prepare audiences for her feature film later on.
Scheduled Release Date: Unknown
It has been confirmed that a Black Widow movie is in the early works at Marvel studios. It is highly anticipated since not only has Black Widow gained increasing fame and esteem but so has the actress portraying the now-iconic role, Scarlett Johansson. There is no guarantee, however, that the movie will make it to production. Many movie ideas are tossed around in early development. There is also the fact that Marvel has set their ‘Phase 3’ movies. ‘Phase 3’ is Marvel’s lineup of movies for the next couple of years and Black Widow is not on it. The immense work their movies take makes it difficult to picture a Black Widow movie in the near future. However, Marvel Studios wants to produce four movies a year. That may leave a little room to squeeze in a Black Widow movie but until it is confirmed as officially out of development and on the schedule we can only hope Black Widow gets the movie she deserves.
The long wait is over. The gateway to female superhero movies has been opened. Audiences will finally be able to see their favorite female superhero on the big screen saving the world like their male counterparts. This will finally show young girls that they can be superheroes, too, just like boys.
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