Honestly, if 12 years ago when The Fast and the Furious released you’d have told me there would be a sixth movie in the franchise, I would have scoffed. Then I would have followed with some comments about studios cashing in on a string of sequels no one wants or asked for. But had that happened all those years ago, I would have been dead wrong. As of now, I haven’t seen Fast & Furious 6, but everything I’ve been reading lately makes me want to fix that. Pronto.
First, there was Angie Han’s wonderful article on /Film outlining what Star Trek Into Darkness could learn about creating strong, believable female characters from Fast & Furious 6. It was an eye-opening and welcomed analysis in light of the whole Alice Eve in her skivvies debacle. Today, MTV’s Splash Page has another interesting article discussing recent comments from Fast & Furious 6 star, Michelle Rodriguez. In the article Brett White describes a fight scene between Rodriguez and Gina Carano that, “puts nearly every other fight in the movie to shame.” Right there, these two articles have sold me on seeing Fast & Furious 6. A film from a franchise I assumed was all about fast cars, loose women, and the men who lust after both. And while that’s probably all still true, the careful consideration put into creating their female characters blows me away.
All of this is just back story, really, bringing me to this point: Why can’t we get these kinds of well-developed, kick-ass women characters starring in a superhero flick? Both Rodriguez and Carano’s names have been floated around before as potential big screen super heroines, but so far, nothing’s happened. While speaking with Entertainment Weekly, Rodriguez enthused she’s a big comics fan,
I was a big Iron Man, Superman, and big Spider-Man fan. I love all the DC Comic characters. I love all the great male superheroes. They’re awesome. I especially love the rebellious ones like the Punisher. Like when he went head to head with Spider-Man? That was so cool!
But, when it comes to playing one, she doesn’t think there are any strong, female superheroes out there,
There aren’t a lot of chicks that I like at all in comics. As a matter of fact, in order to have one, I’d probably have to invent one. They just don’t exist now.
And while I could list female superhero upon female superhero who I’d think make great movies and the actresses who could play them, Rodriguez has a point. When you’re looking at superhero movies, it’s a boys club. And since most people aren’t reading comics, they’re learning about superheroes from those blockbusters. There’s no denying there’s been a disproportionate number of female superheroes to male superheroes ever since 2000’s X-Men kicked off this superhero craze. In last year’s biggest superhero flicks, The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises, we got two excellent depictions in Black Widow and Catwoman, but at the end of the day they’re still only supporting roles.
So Michelle, I feel ya, but I don’t think it’s a matter of those characters not existing, but more so no studio thinks they’re bankable. Which is not only a lie, but a real shame that’s the accepted mindset. As I’m writing this Marvel is releasing a new X-Men title starring all women. Ms. Marvel has been re-branded Captain Marvel. Batwoman is breaking all sorts of boundaries. And Wonder Woman, the matriarch of kick ass, woman superheroes is still going strong after 72 years, no matter how hard they try to derail her. All we need is for someone to take a chance.
I really hope we see Michelle Rodriguez starring in a superhero film before the genre over stays its welcome. And Gina Carano, too, for that matter. What superheroes would you cast them as? Do you think the problem is a lack of strong female superheroes? Or is it just that no one wants to make a movie about them?