It seems like all the talk today is about the lack of female lead characters in superhero movies. Sure, there is a lot to like about The Black Widow when it comes to her appearances in movies like Iron Man 2, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and The Avengers, but at the end of the day, she is a supporting character in all of those movies. Until a female led superhero movie is made – in today's movie world – the complaints are valid.
There is one big problem. Female led action movies rarely do well at the box office, with the rare exceptions (Resident Evil and ones starring someone like Angelina Jolie). To make it even worse, the last two comic book movies based on female leads were bombs (Elektra and Catwoman). Of course, those movies sucked, so it really wasn't the fact that it was a female hero as much as it was a horrible movie.
But, until a female led superhero movie is made – and succeeds – there will always be those two movies that stand in the way. With that said, the first part of this week's Alternate Takes will look at five female characters who could make for a very entertaining superhero movie.
Top 5 Females Who Deserve Comic Book Movies
A lot of people don't know much, if anything, about Spider-Woman. Yes, she comes from the world of Spider-Man, but I am pretty sure she belongs to Marvel and not Sony because she is connected almost completely to SHIELD and The Avengers and not the world of Spider-Man. That is best. In order to make Spider-Woman a movie that could work, the entire weird complicated legacy crap needs to be completely eliminated.
The Spider-Woman that deserves a movie is Jessica Drew, the original Spider-Woman that I grew up with. Her origin came at the hands of HYDRA and she later worked as a bounty hunter and a private investigator. In 2005, she became a prominent member of The Avengers, which could really be a nice way to introduce her before giving her a solo movie. She ended up as part of a counterintelligence agency called SWORD and that is where a great movie could lie. Almost a female James Bond with the super powers.
4. Birds of Prey
I really want to talk about Barbara Gordon here. There was a Birds of Prey television series that lasted a short time. It was ok, but nothing special. However, I think if DC Comics is really serious about popping out two movies a year, then once they finish up with the core heroes, a Birds of Prey movie could be awesome. BUT, only if it has Oracle – ie. Barbara Gordon and NOT Batgirl. Oracle is such a great character that the New DC 52 reverting her to Batgirl was just an insult.
The best members I can think of for this group is Black Canary, Oracle and some other, minor female characters like Huntress and Katana. Don't get ridiculous and keep it small and have them as a butt kicking group of women who take on evil and never back down.
3. Captain Marvel
While I would love to see a Spider-Woman espionage movie, there is a better chance we see a Captain Marvel movie in the next few years from Marvel. In a recent appearance, Bad Ass Digests Devin Faraci claimed that he has a source who says Marvel is finished making origin stories. The first big one is going to be Doctor Strange, and he will already be in power when his movie starts (this is a huge mistaken opportunity because Strange has a great origin story).
However, they can't ignore Captain Marvel's origin story unless it happens in an Avengers movie (or on the Marvel's Agents of SHIELD TV show). Carol Danvers is a military officer who ends up almost dying when a Kree device (the alien race from Guardians of the Galaxy) explodes and almost kills her. Captain Mar-Vell saves her and she ends up with superhuman powers from the explosion giving her some of Mar-Vell's Kree genetic structure, making her pretty much a hybrid. Unlike Spider-Woman, this movie would have a lot more superhero action, and probably more of a cosmic bend to it. Or, they could just go with the SHIELD angle and have more of a movie like the last Captain America film.
2. The Black Widow
This would be the easiest to pull off right now, so it will be the one I talk about the least. Everyone knows who Black Widow is in the movie world and Scarlet Johannson should sell the movie easily on her own. The would be a pure espionage movie and could possibly introduce some classic Captain America villains like Crimson Dynamo to the mix. Plus, this would be a great chance for both Hawkeye and maybe Winter Soldier to get some solid screen time.
1. Wonder Woman
This is the movie that should have been made years ago. Yes, there needs to be more females in action movies, specifically in the lead roles. There is no female superhero more popular or iconic than Wonder Woman. Joss Whedon even wrote a script, and with his track record concerning strong female characters, it should have been a no-brainer, but Warner Bros. is stupid.
Now, it looks like they might actually beat Marvel to the punch of creating a female led comic book movie with Wonder Woman in a few years. She will first appear in Batman V Superman, but it is time for Diana Prince to get her own movie. Plus, she needs to be like she is in the comics, and carry a sword and have no problem with shedding blood in fights. Wonder Woman is a badass and she should be portrayed as one in her movie.
Now, moving on.
5 Alternate Takes: Female Action Heroes
In this week's Alternate Takes section of the column, I want to look at five alternate female led action movies that proves that a female led superhero movie can succeed. These women aren't actually superheroes, but if they can wreck havoc, there is no reason someone like Wonder Woman can't.
5. Lara Croft
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider gets a lot of flack, but that is mostly from fans of the video game. Honestly, as an action movie, it is not that bad. Angelina Jolie is just about perfect in her role as the female equivalent of Indian Jones. That might be another problem – comparing this movie to the Indiana Jones movies. It isn't fair and this movie stands just fine on its own as an action movie, female lead or not.
4. Resident Evil Franchise
Yes, the Resident Evil movies got a little ridiculous as time goes on. However, the first movie isn't that bad of a horror movie at all and Mila Jovovich is a great action actress in the series. No, she isn't better than someone like Ripley, but she might be the next best thing in today's action horror world. Besides, these movies are about watching a chick with big guns blasting monsters. It gives the audience what it promises.
3. Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Now, we get into the greatness. Sure, the first two movies on this list were decent action movies, but starting here we get proof that female led action stories can be more than good. Of course, I am not really talking about the original movie starring Kristy Swanson, but about the Joss Whedon created TV show with Sarah Michelle Gellar. This show proved that you could make smart, compelling TV with a female at the forefront and it never seems out of place to see her kicking anyone's butt, male or female.
2. Kill Bill
Next up is both parts of Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill saga. Uma Thurmann is just perfect in her role as the hilted Bride who survives an assassin hit and comes back with great vengeance. She then tears through all the assassins, including a brilliant scene where she fights and beats an entire army of ninjas. Sure, Tarantino can turn anything into a great movie, but Kill Bill was just special and a master class in how to create a female badass.
1. The Alien Franchise
The best of the best. The first female ass kicker and the template that all that followed have struggled, and mostly, failed to match. Ripley is a real character, one that develops from a scrappy crew member into a warrior who will stand and face a Queen Alien. Someone who is willing to fight to the death to save herself and everyone around her. While an entire Marine unit fell to the aliens, Ripley proved that sometimes it takes a woman and she made you believe in her. Make a female led superhero movie with a character as realized as Ripley and it will be a success.
Do you have other female led action movies that deserve talked about? Let us know your ideas in the comments.