Thursday, June 6, 2013

Unlike Joss Whedon, I'm not pissed off about it

But I do think with the popularity of the genre the time is more than ripe for a film with a female superhero as the central character.  When you further consider the various levels of critical acclaim accompanying well-made female-starring actioners Run, Lola, Run, two versions of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and Hanna-- we've got a pretty good case for broadening the source material to include superheroes who are women. 

The only reason it could fail is if they make a stinky movie.  That's happened before.  To name the most obvious one, Catwoman.  Halle Berry earned my undying admiration for actually showing up in person to accept her Golden Raspberry for Catwoman.  That gutsy act alone justified the movie's making.

But Catwoman didn't fail because of Halle Berry's gender.  That movie failed because it was a terrible movie with a lot of lousy ideas that just happened to involve Halle Berry as its lead.  If anything, the movie failed her.  And we've had any number of stinkers with male main characters.  Batman and Robin had two male leads, double your misery.  Daredevil, Green Lantern, the noble failure that was Ang Lee's Hulk, the wheezing, boring Superman Returns.  We could just as easily blame the main characters for those turkeys, but the true fault lies in concept and execution.  In fact, when asked about their execution, most people are in favor of it.  Yet the genre marches right over their dishonored graves, obscuring them to history, on its way towards making billions of dollars for movie studios.  Three Iron Man flicks, two Captain Americas, Avengers, Batman Begins, a Spider-Man reboot so soon after the Sam Raimi series ended I didn't bother to see it because I felt I already had.  So why get stuck on Catwoman, Elektra or even-- choke-- Barbed Wire?

So pissed I am not. 

So here let me reveal my ideal formula.  You take a little bit of Run, Lola, Run, some Let the Right One In, a tad of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, a twist of Hanna and then you shovel in great mounds of Lady Snowblood and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.  Bake it in a Bat-shaped pan for about 35 minutes at 350-375 degrees and call it Batgirl.

The Cass Cain Batgirl in the Nolan Batman style, but on a smaller, more intimate scale.  They may not have Christian Bale but Christopher Nolan could produce just the same way he’s doing for Man of Steel.  They’ve already matched the look and feel at times with the Batman movies, too.  With a little planning, they could have shot one on the side at the same time they made Batman Rises.  You don’t need to make it a bloated, special effects-heavy epic.  Keep it street-level and give it a kind of indie-film vibe and grubby verisimilitude and you have the potential for a game-changing sensation without massive risk.  I do believe you have to get that Batman Does Something connection in there to avoid anything resembling the Catwoman scenario, but with everything else in place you're well ahead of the game.

I can see a Ms. Marvel movie happening.  This is a good choice for a test balloon.  She's a natural fit for the Marvel movie universe Joss Whedon's shaping.  Solo movie, put her in the third Avengers.  Also, put Katee Sackhoff in it yesterday.  She's got the chops, she's got the experience.  From what I remember about Ms. Marvel, Ms. Sackhoff has already played her.  And while we're on the subject-- Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow in Black Widow.  How stupid is it this hasn't happened already?  It's as if studios hate money and we know that's not the case.  At this point, this one only has to be mediocre to make bank.

I also believe we'll have a Wonder Woman within the next five years.  She's the biggest name at DC, with a lot of recognition even outside comic book fan circles.  I'd be down for Wonder Woman Begins.  You know, a serious one without a lot of camp baggage and tongue-in-cheek nonsense.  Just don’t take Wonder Woman too far in the opposite, heavy-heavy direction and make some leaden bore-fest with muted colors and dark shadows and a lot of snarling people in armor smashing into each other in slow-fast-slow-motion while CGI mud flies into the camera.  Flush of the Titans.

I think Wonder Woman has a real chance, especially if Man of Steel succeeds.  They could set up the inevitable Justice League movie that will inevitably follow the Avengers template a little too closely but still make a lot of money for a lot of people who already have a lot of money they should be using to make Wonder Woman.

But I'd rather have a Cass movie.*

*I will win the Power Ball ten times before this happens.

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