Female superheroes finally getting ready to storm the big screen

Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. (Handout)

Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. (Handout)

Steve Tilley, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:03 PM ET

Could we finally be entering the golden age of the superheroine?

Not since 2002’s Spider-Man launched a new era of comic book films – a span of a dozen years that encompasses the Dark Knight trilogy, most of the X-Men movies, both Spidey franchises, two Superman reboots and all of Marvel’s Avengers tie-in movies – has there been a superhero film with a female as the lead character. (Halle Berry’s awful Catwoman doesn’t count, because she was a bad guy, sort of. And it wasn’t really based on the comics. And we’ve completely erased that movie from memory.)

There’s something terribly wrong with this. But the clouds of testosterone obscuring Hollywood might finally be letting in a few rays of light.

Sony Pictures has reportedly hired writer Lisa Joy Nolan to script a Spider-Man spinoff starring a female hero, a move that comes on the heels of the studio talking to Bridesmaids director Paul Feig about a possible Ghostbusters reboot with an all-female team of spook-catchers.

Wonder Woman will make her big-screen debut in 2016’s Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, and with Warner Bros. having announced release dates for a massive roster of DC movies from now through 2020, it’s a distinct possibility that Gal Gadot will anchor a spinoff based on the Amazon warrior.

And with Scarlett Johansson’s Lucy beating Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s Hercules to top the box office on its opening weekend – although both have since been devoured by Guardians of the Galaxy’s debut – maybe the Avengers’ sole female member will finally get her own Black Widow movie.

While Hollywood will likely claim a newfound enlightenment when it comes to giving superheroines their own films, it’s more likely the ringing of cash registers that have caught their collective ear: women have had top billing in several biggest movies of the past year, from Angelina Jolie in Maleficent to Sandra Bullock in Gravity. And Jennifer Lawrence will surely continue her Hunger Games streak with this fall’s Mockingjay: Part I.

The idea that women can’t carry tentpole blockbusters seems to finally be dead. So the question is, which character would Sony Pictures look to for a Spidey spinoff?

I’m not sure they’d attempt a Spider-Woman or Spider-Girl movie. For one, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 didn’t meet expectations critically or commercially, and Sony needs to get that franchise back on track – perhaps through director Drew Goddard’s Sinister Six movie in 2016 – before they attempt any more spinoffs.

And two, it might just seem too derivative, like the terrible Supergirl movie from 1984. While at least one of the incarnations of Spider-Woman from the comics has very little in common with the red-and-blue webslinger, she’s still fairly obscure outside of comic fandom, and she’s very much entangled with the Avengers, which Sony can’t touch.

A more logical pick would be Black Cat (slyly introduced in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 as Felicia, as played by the amazing Felicity Jones.) Or perhaps Firestar, who made her debut in the animated Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends series in the ’80s and went on to pop up in various comics, although she too has ties to the Avengers (owned by Disney) and the X-Men (owned by Fox.)

Whatever the case, the time is long overdue for a female comic book hero to have her own movie, and there’s no shortage of super-powered women to choose from. As long as Catwoman isn’t one of them. Ever again.

Twitter: @stevetilley

steve.tilley@sunmedia.ca

 


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