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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Fan-rants: Why Jared Leto Needs To Cool It

Harley-Quinn-Suicide-SquadListen, everyone is excited about Suicide Squad. You can’t throw a stick into the internet without hitting an article or entertainment blog post featuring a picture of Margot Robbie or Cara Delevingne in their creepy and predictably objectifying costumes. But the old adage that any publicity is good publicity isn’t always true. Warner Bros. has been pushing Squad pretty hard, which is understandable given how much money they’ve almost certainly sunk into this project and how much they stand to make should the movie do well. But do they really need to work this hard? A movie like this, with comic book origins, a pre-existing fan base, a well-known cast, and millions of dollars behind it, will generate it’s own buzz. And with every released photo and every crazy teaser, expectations just get more out of control. That means that audiences now feel entitled to a not just a good movie, but a great one. At this point, Squad can meet expectations, but probably not exceed them.

Which brings me to Jared Leto. No part of this movie has been buzzier than Leto’s balls-to-the-wall method approach to playing the Joker in this born-to-be-a-blockbuster. In a recent article with MTV news, Will Smith admitted that he’s never actually met Jared Leto. All of his interactions have been with “The Joker”. All year, audiences have been barraged by reports of Leto sending fellow cast members creepy gifts from his alter ego and generally being weird in character. And while I admire1401x788-Screen-Shot-2015-07-13-at-4.20.07-PM (1) his commitment, the whole thing is starting to feel more like a publicity stunt than legitimate preparation.

Also, I think we can all agree that, given the nature of the part, Leto might need to tread lightly. He’s reprising a role that most recently belonged to a beloved actor who passed away shortly after filming wrapped on The Dark Knight. Leto’s method acting, which under different circumstances would just be another actor going native, may here be seen as someone trying to make his Joker bigger, badder, and crazier than the one before him. That isn’t going to ingratiate him to The Dark Knight/ Heath Ledger fans (aka humans). I’m not saying that Jared Leto shouldn’t give this part his all, but maybe cool it with the antics. Give audiences the chance to be as pleasantly surprised with this performance as they were with Ledger’s. Fans will thank you for it.

Whitney Weldon

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