While I love the recent renaissance in superhero movies, particularly Avengers and the related Iron Man, Thor and Captain America lines, I can’t help but notice that there’s something missing.
That would be: women, also known as “half the human race.”
Avengers, in particular, is rather galling because it is pure awesome. What a concept–take each member of the team and make a separate flick about him, then make a big movie with all of ’em put together. Great!
Except you’ll notice that not every member of the team did get his or her own movie. Two of them were left out. One, Hawkeye, spent most of the Avengers movie being mindcontrolled, which is too bad, because he seemed like a cool character. But he ended up being a bit of a sidekick to everybody else.
The other one, the Black Widow, didn’t. And she wasn’t a sidekick. She was in tons of scenes, and not just as a perfunctory romance partner, either. In fact they avoided romance altogether with her, and made her a mission-critical part of the team. She’s the one who retrieves Bruce Banner. She’s the one who manipulates Loki into giving up his plan. She has a meaningful friendship–not a romance–with Hawkeye. And she kicks a fair amount of butt, just like all the others, despite not having any apparent superpowers, a magic suit or the ability to transform into a big scary green guy. We saw glimpses of a cool character there, even in the short duration of an ensemble film, and we’d like to see more.
So where’s her movie? Where’s a great starring vehicle for the Black Widow, a character who is in total control of the situation even when she’s tied up in a chair being tortured for information? Why can’t we have this movie?
Oh, because Catwoman and Elektra bombed? Newsflash, folks: those two movies didn’t bomb because they had female leads. They bombed because they were terrible. (Okay, I haven’t seen Catwoman, but I haven’t yet met anyone who liked it.) So was Green Hornet., which also did not do well. So?
It simply doesn’t follow that every superhero flick with a woman lead will be badly-written enough to be a box-office bomb. And you can’t tell me that a well-written superhero movie with Scarlett Johansson, kicking butt and taking names, won’t do well at the box office.
Women — and men — deserve a great woman-superhero movie.
The Black Widow deserves her own feature-length film.
And while we’re at it, Hawkeye might make a good flick too.