Not to be outdone, Marvel followed with an announcement of a female Captain Marvel movie for 2018. And Sony’s female hero Spider-Man spinoff is coming out in 2017. Is this starting to sound like a competition?
It’s a little unfortunate that it had to take film studio one-upsmanship to get a full slate of female-led superhero movies, but if that’s what gets the job done, I’ll take it. It implies that it’s a poor marketing move to not have plans for a female superhero movie. Our demands to see featured super-women are being heard – and maybe these studios are finally acknowledging all their female fans.
It’s still a shame that there aren’t more female superhero movies in the works, but this is a solid start. The A.V. Club also makes the excellent point that this past summer’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier was already a female-led superhero movie of sorts because of the importance and complexity of Black Widow: “Widow isn’t there to teach [Captain America] a lesson, get rescued by him, or grow under his influence. She’s an independent player whose motivations are explored almost as much as his.”
Of course, Black Widow should get a movie of her very own – but I’m still thrilled to see an existing female hero given more depth than the all-too-common “strong female character” (follow that link for an excellent discussion of why “strong female character” is just another narrow box female characters get stuck in). It’s not ideal that Black Widow is still treated as more of a sidekick than a main character, but giving her – and, hopefully, other lady heroes – more fully developed characterization is a step in the right direction.
Speaking of a step in the right direction: if you don’t want to wait until 2017 for Wonder Woman, you’re in luck. She will actually be introduced in 2016’s Batman v. Superman, so we’ll get to meet her a year before she’s in the spotlight on her own. It sounds like we’ll get to see her several times; Gal Gadot, who will be playing Wonder Woman, signed on for a three-picture deal. That’s definitely promising. Let’s just hope that the movie is better than the failed 2011 attempt at making a Wonder Woman TV show.
But even if the Wonder Woman movie is terrible, I think we should all see it – and Captain Marvel, and whatever Sony is doing – early and often. If the studios are playing a marketing game, let’s play it, too. If we show them that female-led superhero movies can be popular and profitable, they’ll give us more. There are plenty of superheroines to choose from!
If enough female-led superhero movies come out, they’ll become so commonplace that we might not even remember why the announcement of a Wonder Woman movie was such a big deal in the first place. What a super day that would be.
Sasha Albert holds a Master’s degree in Gender and Sexuality from the University of Amsterdam, and works in public health research in the Boston area.