Fan Rants: My Worries About Wonder Woman

If this trailer doesn’t give you girl-power induced tingles, try watching it with your eyes open. DC’s Wonder Woman is one of the most anticipated movies of 2017, if you can believe my twitter feed. It combines all the things I love most: superheroes, period pieces, and brunettes gettin’ it done. But in light of the most recent DC tent poles, my Wonder Woman hopes now have a pretty big asterisk.

WonderWomanSupermanBatmanIf you’re at all familiar with Fangirly, you know that Ellen and I have some issues with the way women are portrayed in superhero films, DC films specifically. And although DC is far from the sole guilty party, it’s safe to say that they struggle the most with bringing their female characters to the big screen in a empowering and (frankly) interesting way. I think I’ve pretty much said my peace on Batman V Superman and Man of Steel, so lets look to more relevant examples.

In a long list of disappointing things about Suicide Squad, perhaps the most substantial bummer is how it obliterated its opportunity to bring us any well-rounded or well-thought out women characters, which would have gone a long way toward engaging DC’s ever-dwindling non-fanboy audience. Take Harley Quinn. Here’s a character who lost her freedom, her career, her sanity, to her relationship with a green-haired gangster. She’s a poster 2A8183C600000578-3160445-image-m-68_1436863964058.jpgchild for the devastating effects of abusive relationships, but the most interesting thing this film found to say about Harley Quinn was that she was “hot” and “crazy”, not necessarily in that order. And don’t even get me started on the scene where the Joker offers Harley’s “services” to a male business associate. Seriously, don’t.

The other ladies in the movie are hardly worth mentioning. In lieu of giving June Moone a SUICIDE-SQUAD-55personality they gave an age old shortcut: a love story. Katana serves no narrative purpose at all,  unless the shadowy government agency that formed the squad had some kind of Affirmative Action quota to fill. And Amanda Weller, easily the film’s most intriguing character, male or female, get’s boiled down to one word- bitch. Reductive? Sure. But also not that surprising.

The reason women can’t seem to catch a break in these films is because I’m fairly certain that they aren’t made with women in mind. Several scenes in Batman V Superman were complete undecipherable unless you were intimately familiar with the comics on which the film was based. And even though girls are carving a real niche for themselves in the comic book arena, the fact still remains that most comic fans are one X chromosome shy of 12670724b2dcebae01d32954ca08fcc760bac3e368b5075752c482d983b67a09.jpga matching set. Dudes, in other words. Which is why, you understand, I have my concerns about DC attempting to launch a franchise centered around a character that is an icon of Third Wave Feminism.

DC, you cannot get this wrong. Wonder Woman will be the first female stand-alone superhero franchise, and it’s success means more than just a bottom line. That means resisting the urge to put women in hot-pants. I know you have it in you.

Yours optimistically,

Whitney Weldon

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Lighten Up, DC Comics

why-so-serious-the-joker-3122768-1024-768Today DC Comics announced their plans for 10 upcoming movies including The Flash, Aquaman, a stand alone Wonder Woman, Shazam, and 2 Justice League movies.  While this news does excite me, it fills me with some degree of trepidation, as well.  I need to make it clear that I will always welcome more superhero movies because I am a sucker for superhero movies.  However, Warner Brothers’ recent mandate that this upcoming slate of movies will have no humor really does not work for me.

I think I understand why they are doing this.  The Dark Knight Batman movies are far and away DC Comics’ most successful and at least ranking as such for Warner Brothers and those movies are assuredly not the most gut-busting.  At least not in the laughing way.  Removing the humor is also a pretty good way to set themselves apart from Marvel.

It’s pretty clear that DC Comics wants to follow in Marvel’s success and create their own “cinematic universe”, but this really doesn’t seem like the way to do it.  At this point, Marvel is guaranteed success because we know their films are going to be an entertaining, enjoyable, good time at the movies. “Enjoyable” being the key word.  People were wary of the unknown Guardians of the Galaxy but once word got out that it was funny, it became the biggest movie of the year so far.

I had multiple issues with Man of Steel, but perhaps my biggest was that Superman needed to lighten up or at least people needed to make jokes at his expense, otherwise he is just an indestructible pretty boy and who likes those?  Then when you throw characters like Aquaman in the mix, I don’t know how seriously I am going to be able to take it.  Even if he is played by the oh-so-imposing Jason Mimoa.  None of comic book source material is without at least some form of levity, especially The Flash and Wonder Woman, and I have to imagine that the humor of those series has aided in their success.  DC Comics has also done pretty well with their TV series and again, I think a lot of that has to do with the shows being fun to watch.  Even the gloomy Gotham has some laughs.

All that being said, DC, I will still see your movies, I just wish you made it easier for me to look forward to it.

– Ellen

Fangirly’s Favorite Things: James Franco’s Movie Reviews

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Have you ever read a movie review and thought, “wow, this is just way too coherent and concise?” I know I have. Is it too much to ask that a review be so weird, rambling, and incoherent that you wondered if someone just scanned a page of  “Great Expectations” and called it a day? James Franco doesn’t think so.  In his series of film reviews for Vice magazine he gives you all the pseudo-intellectual nonsense you could ever hope for. Here’s a particularly stirring excerpt from his recent Great Gatsby review:

“The challenge Baz Luhrmann had in adapting The Great Gatsby to film was similar to what Walter Salles faced with On the Road: how to stay loyal to the era depicted, while still retaining the rawness of the original text. Salles did a great job of capturing the ambiance of 1950s America, but it could be argued that his Dean and Sal didn’t have enough zeal—enough of that desire to live, live, live.”

This critique seems utterly valid to me. I mean, what DOESN’T a guy born in 1978 know about life in 1950’s America? You know, that desire to live, live, live.

His real masterpiece, however, was his latest review of Zack Snyder’s Man of  Steel.

“I was also at Leicester Square earlier this year for the premiere of my film Oz, when the red carpet was a yellow brick road, but the night I saw the new Superman, I arrived incognito: 1) because it wasn’t my film, and 2) because I don’t think Henry Cavill would have wanted to see me there.”

Wait… what?

“Not that we’re enemies. Years ago we worked on a film together called Tristan and Isolde. I played Tristan and he played my backstabbing sidekick. My hunch is that he didn’t like me very much. I don’t know this for certain, but I know that I wouldn’t have liked myself back then because I was a difficult young actor who took himself too seriously.”

I can’t tell you how refreshing it is to find some self-awareness among young Hollywood! Please, James Franco, go on.

“What Henry took seriously back then was Superman. He wanted to be Superman more than anything in the world. Personally, I’m not sure why. I missed the whole Superman-film phenomenon. I was more a fan of director Richard Donner’s Goonies and Lethal Weapon. I can understand the appeal the original Superman comics had for the WWII generation and its need for a hero to rid the world of evil, but in my days as a young man, this appeal was long outstripped by the cheesiness of the character’s suit and his douchey invincibility.”

James Franco seems to understand what no one else in The Business does. The people don’t want to read a two page snoozer about “character development” or “narrative arcs”. We want to read a four page ramble that manages to belittle the star and subject of the movie it’s supposed to be reviewing. So keep them coming, Franco! As long as you keep churning them out, we’ll keep laughing at them.

Whitney

Run-On Sentence Reviews: Man of Steel

Man-of-Steel-Henry-CavillBefore proceeding with the review, let’s just get this out of the way, shall we? Holy mother of Zod, Henry Cavill! His body is IN-SANE. SuperABifrajDELICIOUSexpialiHOLYSHIZ.

We will now return you to your regularly scheduled run-on sentence review:

The reviews were not great and it seemed to be quite divisive amongst Superman fans so I went with moderate expectations and they were more or less met because while I thought it was a nice movie to look at (and look at and look at) the story dredged on a little too much and I did not buy Lois and Clark’s relationship at all and not only because Henry Cavill is a god amongst men but because they did absolutely nothing to develop that relationship and I just kept thinking during this move that the DC movies need to take some tips from Marvel and add SOME levity to their movies because, for example, Superman is often criticized for being TOO perfect and TOO impenetrable so think of the fun they could have with that and I know that there is a lot of hullabaloo about the ending and I have my own problems with it but I just have to ask what you expected with Zack Snyder and Chris Nolan at the helm?

Verdict: If you were looking for a cool “big screen” experience, then I say go. Otherwise, a rental will suffice.

Ellen

Fangirly Crush of the Week: Henry Cavill

thI respect you all too much to lie: I have not yet seen Man of Steel. But even I can see that, as Lindsay Weir would put it (look it up kids), this guy is an Adonis. Stone. Cold. Creamery. I don’t want to pontificate too much on the relative hunkiness of this British import because I feel like I’ve been doing that a lot lately, so I’ll let my clips do the talking. Suffice it to say, meow. Continue reading