Happy New Year to all my readers. Yeah I’m late, so sue me! Let’s hope it’s a goodie!
Do you chaps make New Years resolutions? I’m not sure if this is just a western thing or countries around the world partake of this annual making-a-promise-to-improve-oneself-or-do-something-different. I gave up making them years ago and this year I have made 4 – swear less, smoke less, lose weight and publish book. *If only you could see my face right now*
Thought I’d start the year with something daft, a bit of candyfloss for the brain as I like to call it (and some of my writing-but that’s another matter). So I present for your delectation a selection of New Years resolutions from some of our favourite comic characters – yeah I actually interviewed them! What!? I didn’t say I was going to stop lying in 2018!!!
“Gonna smile more.” Hellboy
“Start a swim club and invite Batman; maybe he’ll like me more.” Aquaman
“Spend more time with my family.” Loki
“Visit my mother more.” Wonder Woman
“Get in touch with my gentler side, and hug people.” Batman
“Take up appliqué sewing.” Thing
“Try and get over my social anxiety and stop hiding.” Invisible Woman
“Try out a better alter-ego disguise.” Superman
“Ditch the tights, too chilly.” Green Arrow
“Quit smoking, drinking and swearing so much.” John Constantine
“Get a shave.”Wolverine
“Get a nice girlfriend and…get laid!” Captain America
“I am going to start taking out all the movie producers who do not give me film of my own this year. And you know I don’t mean dinner!” Black Widow
“ Make an Iron Woman; so I can get in touch with my feminine side. No, actually, what could be better than making love with me, myself and I.” Tony Stark
“I’m gonna get a kitten and call it Francis, and feed it, and love it, and care for it and pet it. And stop being so sarcastic and pay attention when the bad guy shows up. And make friends with all the strangers I have yet to meet…New Years Resolutions? Get outta here!” Deadpool
Well there you have it folks, resolutions from fourteen of our super heroes, for real!
If you have not yet seen this film, you may want to give this whole article a miss.
“Wonder Woman” is yet another origin story, but so what? I’ve had to sit through decades of testosterone to get to this point.
I enjoyed that the movie took it’s time to introduce the warriors of Themyscira; a lush city-state and island nation (Somewhere hidden in the Aegean according to some sources). Where we learn that Diana is not unique in her abilities; we get a real sense of where she is from, that although she is semi-divine, Diana is very much an Amazonian, and those women ALL kick ass. For me, that was one of the wonderful things about the Wonder Woman movie, they were all wonder women.
I felt that the story contained a good balance of action and drama. There is nothing worse than sitting for an hour or two, being bombarded with scene after scene of fast-paced-look-we-got-multiple-cameras scenario and bellowing sound – this, I think, is the film-makers version of an extended guitar solo played by an unaware man-child. ‘Wanking off’, a muso friend of mine used to say. I think there are loads of directors who have become over excited by the CGI and ‘exciting’ bits.
Maybe it has something to do with the director of this Wonder Woman being female? Maybe she just enjoys a good story? Maybe she is just a little more grown-up in the emotional department? Whatever the reason, it works.
I have to admit, I was also rather apprehensive about going to see this film. I love the comic book/super hero genre (see my earlier post on Female Super Heroes) But I grew up with that garish 1970’s WW, and have seen very few women lead in an action film. (Yes, I know you’re going to name a couple. People always do, but balance it out against ALL the films you’ve ever seen – then go away)
I think directors and producers have become lazy when making this genre, after all they have a ready and willing audience who will go and view it whether its shite or not. Now, thousands of women, like me, of my age, must have been waiting for this film. Where ARE all the female comic/superheroes??? So again, a ready and willing – if cautious and cynical-by-now audience was waiting for this film. Thought’s that passed through my mind in the build-up and trailer overload included – ‘I bet it’ll be overly moralistic’. ‘If she’s showing her cleavage…’. ‘It’ll be something for the boys really’. And finally, ‘I bet it’s shit.’
I went with my 19 year old daughter – so a broad age range to cater to – I’m 52. We both enjoyed it (apart from the sound of crisp/sweetie/nacho crunching dolts that surrounded us) It was not shit. It was not ‘for the boys’ and I almost wept to see women, actual women not youngsters, playing seriously physical roles. The fight scene on the beach is truly astonishing and deeply sad. For no matter how fast you run, or strong you are – bullet beats bow every time.
Let’s just take a look at those women –
Ages and Nationality
Robin Wright, plays Antiope – or should I say General Antiope! She trains and leads what could be termed, the militia of the Amazonian. She is hard as nails, can fight with fists, sword, and bow (in fact, she doesn’t even need a bow!!!) And get this, best of all, Robin Wright is 51 years of age – I am just gonna have to say that again – FIFTY ONE people.
Gal Gadot, plays Diana, Princess of Themyscira, Daughter of Hippolyta. Diana wants to be a warrior from very early childhood. She does not know, and we the audience learn as she does, that she is not quite like every other Amazonian (in fact, at the end of the film, Diana still does not know the full extent of her origins and abilities) Diana works hard; she strives for perfection and to impress the General; her Aunt. Gal Gadot is 32 years of age, not a ‘slip of a girl’. And best of all, she is NOT American!! Gadot is Israeli and I thank director, Patty Jenkins for making this decision.
Connie Nielson, plays Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons and Diana’s mother. She is regal, cool with a restrained passion. She is engaging as a loving mother and ruler, and you can feel her anger and pain as her only child makes the decision to leave their island home to head off with a man, to save the world of men. Can you imagine the homecoming?! (I think I’m gonna cry) Two best of all’s; Connie Nielson is also 51 years old! And she also is NOT American, she is Danish.
And some of the others –
Elena Anaya, plays Doctor Poison. She is Spanish and aged 41 years.
Lucy Davis, plays Etta Candy. English and aged 44 years.
Lisa Loven Kongsli, plays Menalippe. Norwegian and is aged 37 years.
For me, a fantastic multi-cultural selection of women who are not girls.
That costume –
Some of you might remember that awful, hideous outfit that poor Linda Carter had to wear in the 1970s TV series of Wonder Woman.
But take a look at what Queen Hippolyta originally gave her daughter to wear in the earliest comics –
Gal Gadot’s costume seems to have had the current trend for ‘dark costumes’ applied to it. The semiotics are not lost on film buffs and media students – still the red, white and blue are evident for all to see.
I have to be honest; I have an issue with American and how it perceives itself as the ‘policeman of the world’. It feels as though it foists its ideals on the rest of us. Most of the superhero costumes bear the colours or imagery, or both, of the ‘good ‘ole US of A’. Except Batman (huh, never realised before, maybe THAT’S why he is my favourite) I balk at the way many costumes imply an association with a country and it’s values/governmental policies. Captain America being most guilty of this – however, he is called Captain America.
And yes, I know other countries use red, white and blue as their flag colours – but we all know, don’t we, that ‘they’ mean America.
Another thing. Superhero females, at least in comic art, are invariably ‘sexy’. They have the tightest fitting clothes in the history of clothes manufacturing. They have more curves than an Italian mountain road. Their breasts could act as twin dirigibles. Women have railed against this for so long, we’re hoarse. In Wonder Woman 2017, Gadot’s costume has had the colours toned down, and although we still see bare legs, arms and shoulder, it is not sexy (I guess some men would argue against that, but it isn’t out-and-out-here-it -is –for- the –male- viewers sexy)But that’s it. No cleavage in sight. Curves are mostly concealed. The Amazon ‘uniform’ is more reminiscent of the Spartans. Look at Hellenic period armour; the bare arms and legs, the leather ‘flaps’, the moulded breastplate. It is practical and believable, whilst remaining true to the original design.
The physicality of this new Wonder Woman made evident in this lasso scene.
There isn’t any. HALLELUJAH!
99.9999% of films have a romance. Dull, dull, dull. Men and women can and do have relationships without becoming sexually or romantically entangled. And yes, there is a suggestion of Diana and Steve being ‘interested’, but this is clearly more him fancying her. Diana is here to do a job, she is focused and love isn’t getting in the way. She may have grown up in a glorious paradise inhabited only by females, but she is not ignorant of how sex works, and even suggests that men have become irrelevant and unnecessary except for procreation. Steve’s mental squirming is soon forgotten when they get to the nub of who is doing what in the war. Thank goodness.
The Men –
I suppose I should say something; I wasn’t going to write anything about the male stars at all. There’s enough information about ‘the great white male’ (as Grayson Perry puts it) without me adding.
So a quick nod to Chris Pine, Danny Huston and David Thewlis – the ‘good guy’, the ‘bad guy’ and the ‘badder guy’ in that order. Pine was great, Huston good, but, as much as I love Thewlis, he simply seemed wrong for the role of Ares.
Was it a great film? No, it was good; possibly in the Top 3 of this genre of films. Again down to lazy directors relying on a ready and willing audience, most of whom have become so desperate that there discerning monitor seems to have broken.
The storyline was simple, but that works as it is almost an ‘intro’ to Wonder Woman and her world. However, I did guess who was who quite easily.
It’s beautifully shot with the holiday brochure scenes of Themyscira; where you can almost smell the aroma of blossoms on the warm breeze, contrasting with the misery of brown and grey of London and the battlefront.
But I do believe this film will be talked about for years to come. When Sigourney Weaver first appeared as Ripley in Alien, a generation of women cheered and said ‘At last!”
Now I believe we are doing it again.
It is 2017 people.
50% of the world population is female.
Wonder Woman is the first female-led superhero film since 2005, when Jennifer Garner played the lead role in Elektra.
Have you ever noticed how few known female superheroes there are?
Go ahead and name some….
I bet if I asked you to name artists from history, they would be mostly male, if I asked you to name only female artists, I’m guessing it would take you longer.
I bet you would also have to think a little, not so much, of the names of female authors – not doing too badly in that department, though female writers go through phases of exposure in the media, the general trend seems firmly bent towards male authors.
But today I am interested in the superhero, or graphic novel hero, comic-book persona; whatever.
Most of us; especially those who take an interest in this genre, will have noticed the recent explosion of ‘super-hero’ movies being touted to us popcorn-munchers. Today I watched Deadpool, for the first time. I know! Where have I been? Right? Resisting the urge is my reply (I’m not a huge fan of Ryan Reynolds, usually) however, I really enjoyed it. It made me laugh, it made me groan (in the right places), the action was action-y, and not too much of it, the dialogue humorous. I can’t bear those directors that think if they put a tonne of CGI and violent crashes/fights/explosions/speeding trains/etc in, then it will make a good movie – IT DOESN’T – it is tiring on the eyes and leaves no room for narrative development.
Deadpool had a good balance. I loved his wisecracking ways, and have to admit, I haven’t actually read the comic (eek!). But it got me started, again, on my rant of – where are all the female comic superheroes? Wonder Woman? Pah! I saw the original TV show, it was horrible. (And isn’t Wonder Woman a bit of a crappy name?) I want a female superhero/anti-hero, who is smart, and sassy, who will make an impact and be remembered as much as Batman – and mostly – I want her to be British! ( Other European nations are acceptable)
Search the internet all you like, British heroes are a rare breed; some websites even include Sherlock effing Holmes! He’s not a superhero! I like him, don’t get me wrong, and he’s a genius dude, but he is not a comic superhero!
I know there are female graphic artists and writers out there, and I take my hat off to them, it’s a real hard slog. But I want the storylines and art to equal the male, and I rarely find that. I want Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, Grant Morrison, Brian Bolland and Mike McMahon, John Wagner, Alan Grant, Pat Mills, Angela Kincaid Grant Morrison, Mark Millar, Alan Moore, Mike McMahon, Dave Gibbons. Fans might see a pattern emerging in that list; they all work; or have worked for 2000 AD comics. I want a female Sláine or Deadpool (I know they made a Lady Deadpool, but, meh). The closest character creation, for me, was Jessica Jones – but she’s American.
So, please, please, please, can someone, somewhere create me a female superhero to be proud of.
P.S: don’t put her in a figure hugging 1940s latex suit – unless it is done, like Deadpool, with tongue firmly in cheek – yours, not hers!
“You shoot that gun at me–I will pull that bullet out of my ruined four hundred dollar leather jacket…and I will shove it up your ass with my pinky finger. And which one of us do you think that will hurt more? “