Female Superhero Movies: Time for Superheroines Like WONDER WOMAN and CAPTAIN MARVEL to Fly Solo

by     Posted 315 days ago

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The movie-going audience has spoken.  Movies with female protagonists are becoming more popular in this day and age.  With recent financial successes, such as Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy’s The Heat, turning studios’ heads, its time to take the plunge and start giving more superheroines a time to shine.  While female comic book protagonists starring in their own movies is hardly new (see Catwoman, Elektra, Supergirl), there’s a wealth of heroines still out there that can hold up a movie just as well as their male counterparts.

Hit the jump for Collider’s best options for female driven comic book films that will get people in the seats.

Black Widow

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The foundation has already been set for this one. Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanov has appeared in two Marvel Studios’ films: Iron Man 2 and The Avengers respectively, with another appearance on the way early next year, 2014, in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.  The Black Widow is a character with a long and interesting history, having appeared in the comic books around the same time as Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor decades ago, that deserves to have her own vehicle that could go into more detail about her origins.

While Black Widow doesn’t have any super powers of her own, it would make for an interesting story to see this espionage extraordinaire do some wet work while the flashier super heroes such as Tony Stark and Steve Rogers were getting the limelight.  Natasha Romanov is the James Bond of the Marvel Universe: strong, calm, and collected.  The former KGB spy-turned-superheroine could support a film which showed the underbelly of the bright and shiny world that is the Marvel Movieverse.  Fighting through the streets of Madripoor or over the skyline of Russia, the Black Widow movie could be a Marvel Studios film that had an overall darker tone, set in a more realistic environment with a hint of the extraordinary around every corner.

Captain Marvel

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female-superheroes-katee-sackhoffColonel Carol Danvers is considered Marvel’s premiere superheroine at the moment.  With powers such as flight, super strength, super speed, invulnerability, and the ability to fire energy blasts from her hands, Captain Marvel is waiting to be taken to the big screen.  Marvel has been pushing Carol more and more as of late, even going so far as to make her a leader of The Avengers under creator Jonathan Hickman’s pen, and with good reason. Carol could be given her own movie after appearing in a Marvel Studios film to lay down the building blocks for her solo feature.

Captain Marvel’s origins lie in the stars of the Marvel Universe, as she was the result of an alien experiment gone awry during her time with the US Air Force. She offers a militaristic, yet uplifting approach to super heroics, and bounces off the other members of the Avengers naturally, which would translate fantastically to the big screen. It also helps that she has one of the coolest costumes in comics today. Recently, its been confirmed that Marvel Studios has been in talks with Katee Sackhoff, of Riddick and Battlestar Galactica fame, regarding her upcoming schedule. Considering Ms. Sackhoff’s strong resemblance to Carol, a lot of fans are really pulling for Katee to bring this character to life.

Manhunter

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Not as popular as the other heroines on the list, but just as worthy of her own film, Kate Spencer lives in the world of Batman, Superman, and the rest of the Justice League, working on her own to bring criminals to justice. A court prosecutor by day, and Manhunter by night, Kate’s powers come from assembling a hodgepodge of equipment from other super-powered heroes and villains. This angle would be great in establishing a cohesive world and continuity which the DC Movie Universe desperately needs, perhaps by including an old utility belt of Batman’s into her repertoire.

Kate’s strength was not only in her suit, but in her stories. Writer Marc Andreyko created a character who was very compelling, with story arcs and supporting cast that gave her a place in many fans’ thoughts in the mid to late 2000’s. A selling point of Manhunter was a combination of the judicial system and super heroics, and how the character was able to use both of these to her advantage. In one storyline, Kate would upgrade and fix her weapons by blackmailing a former villain who was in the Witness Protection Program using her connections from her day job. Manhunter as a movie would help paint a picture of the differences between what it means to be a vigilante and what it means to be a part of the system.

Mystique

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Who says we need heroes to always be our protagonists?  Mystique was one of the breakout characters in the popular X-Men franchise and remains one of the most visually striking.  With the upcoming X-flick, X-Men: Days of the Future Past, on the horizon, it’s time for Fox to start riding on the coattails of the franchise’s popularity and create more spin offs.  The X-Men universe is just as rich and detailed as its Avengers counterparts and with the rising star of Jennifer Lawrence taking the wheel, Mystique could be a runaway hit in the same vein as The Hunger Games or its mutant predecessors.

So how do you sell a movie about a mutant terrorist to the public?  Well, you make her relatable, which the character of Raven Darkholme was in the prequel, X-Men: First Class.  The movie could follow Raven’s early years, being a part of Magneto’s brotherhood OR you could do the exact opposite!  Former Lost writer, and current writer of the wildly successful graphic novel Saga, Brian K. Vaughn wrote a Mystique series for Marvel comics, following the anti-hero through espionage missions, using her shape-changing ability in innovative ways.  Regardless of the story, Mystique is a character who is instantly recognizable and portrayed by an Academy Award-winner with more than one successful franchise under her belt. Its not hard to see that this could be a money-maker for Fox, and another worthwhile installment to the X-Men franchise.

Wonder Woman

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This one goes without saying. In the same way as Superman is the most recognizable character in comics, Wonder Woman is the most recognizable woman.  Wonder Woman has been in the media before, with the successful television series decades ago and even recently an animated feature under her belt, it’s time for Warner Brothers to pull the trigger on this character and give her a feature of her own. There have been numerous attempts at this in the past, one of the most notable being a solo feature headed by The Avengers director Joss Whedon that fell through. However, we’ve reached a time where this movie would not only hold its own, it would thrive among the superhero community of films.

Diana of Themyscera is born to an island of Amazonians and brought to “Man’s World” in order to help spread peace. Her background, however, is one steeped in war as she was taught to be a fierce warrior growing up with origins stemming to many Greek mythologies. It’s really a story of conflicts that would best bring this character to life. What’s the best way to bring peace to the world? Is it by punching out a giant Cyclops that has just emerged from the depths or by becoming an ambassador to the people and helping those who can’t help themselves, with less violent means? I think setting up the character as one who is struggling with her new environment, as well as her own nature, is the best method. With Batman’s adventures grim-and-gritty and Superman’s earth-shattering, maybe it’s time for more of an introspective movie that comments on our world today which could act as a springboard for her membership into WB’s eventual Justice League.

It is long past time for female protagonists to step out of the rafters and stand shoulder to shoulder with the other male heroes hogging the spotlight.  The evidence is there with more female-driven movies taking more market share of box office revenue, and with the ever-growing audience of comic book movie enthusiasts, what better time than now?  I’ll continue crossing my fingers that someday we’ll get a Squirrel Girl feature, but hey, baby steps.




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  • Stan

    This is so true. They need to do more superwomen movies. I’d say X-Men has a great amount of female characters that deserve their own. The problems is the companies always focus more on making the girl all hot without giving a damn about the script/character etc. Now though there’s a better chance of it being done right. But that’s why these movies always failed or never got off the ground. They wanted to just make them sexy and not smart, badass, tough characters.

  • poppincherry

    1984-Supergirl
    Outcome:BOMB
    2005-Ionflux
    Outcome:BOMB
    2005-Elektra
    Outcome:BOMB
    But the only female character that’s worth a damn today is Katniss. There’s your goddamn heroine. And the money is rolling into the hunger games.

    • Murdoch

      Yeah, she’s more of a literary heroine. Comparing her to a group of superpowered female protagonists would mean you also would have to count Bella from Twilight. I mean, i know they SAID she had some metahuman ability regarding vampires, i just can’t seem to recall what it was, and i’m happier not knowing.

      • tertiaryintervention

        You scum! You dare place Bella in the same league as other super powered being?!

        Fi on you!!!! FIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII!!!!!!

    • RiddleThemThis

      2004-Catwoman
      Outcome: Huge Success

    • Angela

      Right, those terrible movies failed because the lead was female.

      2000 Charlie’s Angels = Hit
      2001 Tomb Raider = Hit
      2003 Kill Bill = Hit

  • Yakoshi

    While a Wonder Woman movie should be a no-brainer, I’m psyched that you mentioned Captain (Ms.) Marvel, one of my favorite Marvel heroines. Although there’s enough material for a stand-alone movie, it’s probably never going to happen. (C’mon, we live in a world where movie execs think it’s a bad idea to make a Wonder Woman film!) However, she’s an Avenger, and would be right at home on screen. Joss “Chicks Rock” Whedon’s probably already salivating at the idea; she’s a hot, tough Air Force major with alien superpowers. Doesn’t matter if she’s introduced in part 2 or part 3, just as long as we get to see her kick some purple Titanian ass.

    In case anyone doesn’t know, Rogue–at least the version that most children of the 90s know–stole her powers of flight, invulnerability, and super strength from Ms. Marvel…along with a good chunk of her psyche. It’s too bad we’ll never see a Fox/Disney crossover in our lifetimes.

  • Edward Huggins

    It’s time for Wonder Woman. I think it’s the most anticipated movie … although we can not believe.

  • dungeons and draccus’s

    How about NO?

  • Mixed Race rich kid NYC

    Only Wonder Woman

  • Matt

    The money is the big thing here. If they’re going to make another standalone female superhero film, they have to do it right or it’ll embarrass the studio. This means a critically successful film more than a financially successful one. My expectation is Marvel will place a female superhero into one of the Avengers films and then let her go off on her own film. That way they could build a base and gage popular support for a film.

    They need to sell fanboys and less enthusiastic (but still the bread and butter of superhero film audiences) 15-24 year old males on the idea.

    It would also help if they sold female audiences but, despite being the ones shouting the loudest for a good female superhero film, there’s no genuine reason to believe women (and young girls) will come out for a PG-13 superhero film. The marketing would have to straddle so many lines.

    People mention Katniss but she was a human hero from a wildly popular tween book that got a lot of readers outside the age demographic as well. I don’t see her as a good comparison for why audiences are asking for this film.

    I’m hopeful it can happen but I’d say we’ll be waiting at least 5 years.

  • Littertray

    I’d be interested in the Captain/Ms Marvel film. Still would prefer Yvonne Strahovski to play her more than Katee Sackhoff though.

  • Ty

    It’s miss marvel, not captain marvel

    • Adrian

      She’s known as Captain Marvel now.

    • Adrian

      She’s known as Captain Marvel now.

    • JBug

      Isn’t there a Mar-vel?

    • JBug

      Isn’t there a Mar-vel?

  • osarumen erhunmwunsee

    if they make ms marvel movie before wonder woman, i will be so disappointed.

  • http://modmyi.com/forums/iphone-4-new-skins-themes-launches/740147-neurotech-hd.html#post5637502 Jay

    Haha, Pepper Pots was Marvel’s first female superhero.

  • tertiaryintervention

    Yes please! Can we finally get a Wonder Woman flick out there?!

  • Christopher

    Jessica Jones
    Ms. Marvel/Warbird/Captain Marvel
    Spider-Woman
    X-23 (a better choice for an X-Men spinoff than Mystique, in my opinion)

    Huntress
    Jade (Green Lantern)
    Power Girl
    Wonder Woman
    Zatanna

    Witchblade
    Aspen Matthews

    Any of the above could easily support their own film. I’m skeptical of Black Widow though because she seems to only function well when teamed up with someone (like Daredevil, or Hawkeye) and thus has always been more of guest star in other heroes’ books.

  • Christopher

    Jessica Jones
    Ms. Marvel/Warbird/Captain Marvel
    Spider-Woman
    X-23 (a better choice for an X-Men spinoff than Mystique, in my opinion)

    Huntress
    Jade (Green Lantern)
    Power Girl
    Wonder Woman
    Zatanna

    Witchblade
    Aspen Matthews

    Any of the above could easily support their own film. I’m skeptical of Black Widow though because she seems to only function well when teamed up with someone (like Daredevil, or Hawkeye) and thus has always been more of guest star in other heroes’ books.

  • Brainiac

    Why is there never no mention of Xena of this topic of conversation?
    She is the most original of all them and was very flawed, which made her human. I’ve never seen a show that as many strong heroines good or bad than watching Xena. Xena is true women’s franchise! it’s just Universal doesn’t see the value in the property, when could in fact be their buried treasure.
    Universal is missing out, because they could clearly have the advantage of green-lighting a Xena movie since DC or Marvel can’t figure out their shit on adapting one of their superheroines to the big screen.

    • Angela

      Universal can’t figure out shit to do either. They’re all pretty hopeless, but out of the 3, Marvel is the most likely candidate.

  • BookhouseBoy

    “Considering Ms. Sackhoff’s strong resemblance to Carol” – not true. Is this based on… hair color? Other than that, Sackhoff looks nothing like Carol Danvers. Neither her nose nor her eyes resemble the way Carol Danvers has been drawn for decades now. Charlize Theron is a closer match, and a stronger box office draw as well.

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