Sunday, March 27, 2016

Heroines (Reprise)

Now Playing: Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL - Is She With You? (Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice OST

I don't really have all that much to say about Batman v Superman that hasn't been said already--although I like the actors/performances and cinematography and action and music--and even poor, poor Zack Snyder's ambitious overreach--so much, I came out liking this movie a lot more than critics did. *Shrug* (I could have done without some of the overtly annoying religious angle, but once again, oh Zack Snyder, you sure do try to be deep. Can I fault someone for being ambitious and overestimating their abilities? Isn't that what we all do to an extent?)

So yeah--I don't have all that much to say.

Except this:

At the screening on Friday night, the crowd was pretty good. It's always nice to see these movies on opening weekends because the overexcited fans are a package deal. I think the very best crowd we ever got was The Avengers--because they laughed and clapped and cheered and then fell utterly silent in all the right moments. But the ones from Friday were great too.

Like most people said, Wonder Woman's appearance, however brief it is, turns out to be the very best part. When she shows up, at first quietly, and then in full gear, you feel the whole movie shift to something grander, to something better.

But the best part was this: when her theme hit, and we saw her for the first time in full costume, my theater exploded. They cheered at other parts, but that part had them go fucking nuts.


And when it happened, I had this momentarily flashback to the moment in The Force Awakens where people started cheering and clapping and bouncing in their seats: Rey and the lightsaber. Oh sure, they cheered at other parts. But the one where they absolutely lost it, was at a moment I wasn't expecting. An unknown girl, inexperienced fighter, grabbing such a beloved franchise by the rails and solidifying her mark in a single moment.

I don't know why--I still don't expect it. I don't expect a female character to become the highlight of a movie.

I don't expect the general audience to love and be impressed by and want female characters to succeed. Not after all I've seen in other media, all I've heard from consumers and critics and creators, after how women in fiction are treated and written.

And to be totally honest, Gal Gadot's casting was the first thing that really turned me off from this movie. The other casting choices did confuse me and worry me, but the Gal Gadot thing annoyed me because, well, it looked like they'd just grabbed a pretty girl with a super thin body and shoved her in with no consideration to the character she was representing. It didn't sit well with me. We have so many heroines already that are thin and conventionally beautiful, I was kinda hoping they'd divert from that.

I don't think my initial criticism was necessarily unfair. I do want different kinds of women (with different body types, features, of different races, that kind of thing) being cast for these roles. But I liked Gal Gadot. I liked Wonder Woman. I'm glad I was wrong about her. She has presence. 

And most of all, I liked what her reveal in the movie and what the fans' reaction represents: progress. With her and Rey, I feel us moving forward. Studios still are cautious. Stupidly so, but they are. They hide these heroines behind the vanguard of boys, whether in the marketing or in the end product, but audiences do come for them. They admire them. They want more of them.

I'm happy my wish surrounding Mad Max's Furiosa is turning out true. We really are paving the way for more heroines in mainstream, speculative fiction media. We got Furiosa, we got Rey, we got a bit of Wonder Woman--and for the latter two, there's so much more to come. We'll get more of them just in 2017.

Their movies are going to rock.
~Becky

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"Science and science fiction have done a kind of dance over the last century... The scientists make a finding. It inspires science fiction writers to write about it, and a host of young people read the science fiction and are excited, and inspired to become scientists...which they do, which then feeds again into another generation of science fiction and science..."
- Carl Sagan, in his message to future explorers of Mars.