Thursday, May 24, 2012

On Ladies & Superheros

There's a game that Eric and I like to play called "Better If They Were Gay."*

It all started one fateful night a few months back, when we were watching Frasier.**  I said (or Eric said, I can't remember which) that the show would be better if Niles and Frasier were a gay couple instead of brothers.

And that's when Eric and I started talking about other shows that would be better if they were a gay couple. Also mentioned were: Sherlock & Watson, Drake & Josh, Lenny & Carl... I'm blanking right now. But feel free to add onto this list.

It's not that I'm against women or romance. I enjoy both. I just don't like a lady being thrown in for no good reason. Often times, said lady is a 2-dimensional character with very little to offer the scene other than the fact that she is very pretty and is probably mothering/putting leading male in his place, and interfering with the chemistry between the two male leads.

Sometimes I feel like they put ladies in there just to remind you that these two characters aren't gay, because otherwise they totally would be. And to that I say, if the lady isn't bringing anything to the table, don't put her there.

Yes, I think it would be great if all ladies had well-written fully-developed characters. But I would rather see fewer ladies in movies than frequently seeing them appearing as eye-candy and arm-trophies and as some abstract justification for an action.

I was watching Thor the other day, and I quite liked it.*** I love Natalie Portman. She is my third favorite actress of all time (below Anjelica Huston & Kate Winslet but above Bette Midler). But I have never been more annoyed with a female character in a film before. I have no idea why her character was even there.

No, I have not read the Thor comics and I have no idea if her character even exists in them let alone how fleshed out she is in there. She might be the greatest character in all of comic book history, but that was not how she was presented to me in the film. I'm basing my opinion on her solely on that.

This got me to thinking about all the other superhero movies I've watched. Almost all of them have a girl. Almost none of the girls do anything except look pretty and provide some kind of abstract motivation for said hero to do something (often saving pretty lady from some form of distress).

So this is my plea to anyone making these movies: stop doing that. I would rather watch a superhero movie with zero ladies in it than see one more Jane Foster-esque character. The heroes don't need them. Do you know why Captain America wants to save the world? Because HE IS F****NG CAPTAIN AMERICA! He doesn't need a pretty lady to remind him of that.

What I'm saying is that either give me a well-rounded lady (well-rounded equal to or greater than the male lead in the film - I'll work it to scale) or don't have her there. I am sick of it. You can have pictures of Megan Fox in the background. Or maybe a little thought bubble floating above the screen where Natalie Portman winks and waves at you, then disappears.

Give me liberty or give me death.******

And what I'm usually saying when I say "This would be better if they were gay" is: "I am more emotionally invested in the two male characters because they are drawn-out fully formed characters while the female character gives me nothing to root for other than the fact that she is pretty and for some reason the dude seems into her."******

People are going to want to give me examples of strong-leading ladies to contradict the sentiments in this blog, and I encourage you to do so. I also by no means think that every lady in a movie is unnecessary or lame. Black Widow was quite good, and I think that Pepper Potts does a good job of balancing out Tony Stark. 

I'm not saying this a rule or that every film is this way. Or that I don't want to see ladies in films. What I'm saying is that I love Batman and Captain America, and I wish were there were more ladies in movies that I admired and aspired to be like as much as I do them.

I guess I just want there to be more characters like Ellen Ripley and fewer like Jane Foster. If there's no room for real ladies in film, you don't need to just shove one there. It doesn't make it a well-rounded movie. It just makes me annoyed.

Oh, This Means War came out on DVD & Bluray this week. It falls under this heading also. You should read my review: here, and then also watch it because it has Tom Hardy and Anjela Bassett. Also Chris Pine.

*We don't actually like to play this. We played it one time, listed everything that would be better, and then called it a day. I occasionally still play this game by myself, wherein I see something and think, "This would be better if they were gay." Then I quit. Because that's how you play the game.

**Six months ago or so, I was super into Frasier. I still think it's a tremendously funny show, but now I've seen every episode on the Hallmark channel, and I'm done.

***Did you guys know that Kenneth Branagh directed it? I know, RIGHT? It makes so much sense when I thought about it, but I never saw it coming.


*****Please do not give me death.

******Daphne was completely developed on Frasier. Niles and Frasier were just super gay.