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Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

Will we ever see a good, big-budget Superhero movie with a female protagonist?

Asked by Imadethisupwithnoforethought (14679points) October 12th, 2011

I was watching the trailer for “The Avengers” today, and thinking about how well Scarlett Johansson does in her superhero role. I realized 4 of the main characters in that movie have their own, well produced, well written movies. I never expect to see a “Black Widow” film released. After further thinking, I realized I have never seen a good superhero movie with a female protagonist.

Would you watch a good superhero movie with a female protagonist? Do you think there is a demand that would ever draw enough fans to justify a decent budget? Do the good writers just not bother?

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51 Answers

Blackberry's avatar

Well, the superheros were created in the past…..when things weren’t so great for women. They are coming around now. Some may not consider it big budget, but we already have multiple movies and shows with female protagonists.

But due to our society, people still want to see the big strong men compared to the big strong women.

PhiNotPi's avatar

As far as I know, nobody is actively creating new superheroes. We keep making movies about superheroes everyone has heard about before, and those are men.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Oh man! I would watch a suitable Wonder Woman run in slo-mo.

tinyfaery's avatar

Well, there is talk of a new BTVS movie, but I am 100% against it. Whedonite, here.

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

@tinyfaery you notice how they didn’t bother to get Whedon? Like they wanted to make it cheap?

Berserker's avatar

Elektra and Catwoman were certainly less than stellar…perhaps some day we’ll see something good though. I’m really hoping for Lady Death. (not to be confused with Lady Deathstrike, I’m talking about the goddess from Chaos Comics)

Buttonstc's avatar

Unfortunately Aeon Flux was an attempt at such but didn’t do that well at the Box Office.

It’s a shame because it was a neat character and I loved its animated version when it aired on MTV. She really kicked ass but the plots were too disjointed.

Berserker's avatar

@Buttonstc Yeah, those cartoons ruled. Wish I could say the same for the movie…Cyber Six was also great. They should make a movie of that.

iphigeneia's avatar

Sure we will. Will we ever get one where the female superhero is wearing a costume not designed primarily for the pleasure of the heterosexual male viewer? Don’t hold your breath.

Berserker's avatar

@iphigeneia Unless maybe they make a movie on the original Spitfire from Codename Spitfire/Troubleshooters. I loved those comic books lol. Kinda reminded me of Metroid, but like, in the jungle.

Aethelflaed's avatar

Not if DC and their bullshit revamp of Starfire have their way…

I think we will, eventually. Even one who’s almost entire clothed, eventually. But, I think there are going to have to be a lot of things before that, like smaller-budget movies with strong female protagonists, and strong female protagonists in general in action movies (being a strong female protagonist in Eat, Pray, Love and other “aren’t we all glad we have vaginas and mothers” movies do not count, because they don’t bring in any male viewers).

filmfann's avatar

Elektra, Catwoman, and Supergirl were all bad movies.

This may be stretching it, but what about Kill Bill?

Brian1946's avatar

I’d love to see a She Hulk movie, but some producers might think that a lot of the male (and perhaps female) viewers, would not want to see a female superhero who actually had enough of a physique to look the part.

Berserker's avatar

@filmfann I love Kill Bill, but they should just have made one big movie out of both, or at least dispersed the action and and dialogue a bit better…but yeah, that would work, if it was a super hero movie. It’s pretty much an American take on old classic Japanese samurai movies though. :/ No super heroes there. At least not technically…lol.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Not soon but thank you for asking. GQ

Blackberry's avatar

@Symbeline Just because they didn’t come out and say it, doesn’t mean she wasn’t a superhero. No human can dispatch 80 men in a sword fight without collapsing from fatigue lol.

Berserker's avatar

@Blackberry Superheroes need some trait or special power that humans cannot normally have to be defined as a superhero. Granted, nobody can do what she did, but in those movies, she got like that though means that don’t cater to the superhero formula.

So if I lived in that world, I could totally learn to swing a katana like a maniac and rip out eyeballs as easily as I cough. :D

Blackberry's avatar

@Symbeline Hmmm, I guess so. She was most likely just hardened by training and revenged-based rage lol.

mazingerz88's avatar

Big budget? Good? Maybe not. It seems the best superhero attributes that also happen to be highly marketable were given to male characters. Superman, Batman, Spiderman and Ironman. But then there’s Underworld with Kate Beckinsale and her character really rocked. I think that was a very good movie.

Berserker's avatar

@mazingerz88 Hell yeah. I usually don’t enjoy modern vampire shit, but Underworld I and III I really did like. I denno why, but number 2 can suck it. :/

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

@mazingerz88 I agree. That was a great movie and was popular, and vampire woman I will say is close enough. I can’t think of any others though.

Berserker's avatar

Vampirella. She needs a movie.

mazingerz88's avatar

@Imadethisupwithnoforethought I’d love a solo Hitgirl movie but it won’t be anywhere close to the level of Batman or Ironman. Right now I can’t think of any female superhero who has a chance to be in that pantheon of popular comic book hero turned mega movie blockbuster cash generating behemoths. Whoa, I would love to develop a new female superhero character with that goal in mind.

@Symbeline I loved the first Underworld and the second one as well. For some reason I enjoyed the plot of the sequel and the villain was this flying demon, an ancient vampire. Both were directed by the same visionary director who of course married Kate Beckinsale herself. ( Hot! ) The third one on the other hand felt tired imo and the director was Patrick Tatopolous who designed Godzilla and the Underword creatures. I don’t know, I don’t think he was good. Or maybe I was just biased since when a director/writer passes on a third installment, that usually is not a good thing.

But great news! There’s a fourth movie coming and Kate is back!

Berserker's avatar

@mazingerz88 That’s what I didn’t like about the second movie though, throwing too much stuff in that should have been epic, if it all didn’t happen on the back of a pickup. Just my opinion. It should have been really awesome, but it wasn’t to me. Felt like they were hurrying along with stuff, like when you drink beer really fast cuz you’re scared it won’t get you drunk. Make any sense lol? XD
The third one, I liked because of the whole roots thing, (and it was set in the past, that’s always a plus to me lol) and it was all dramatic. Although for how awesome the special effects were, they should have probably stopped ruining the whole thing with loopholes and just added more things killing each other; but still, I’ve a weak spot for that movie. :)

Either way, I’m up for number four any day, for sure. :)


Maybe, but I don’t think it would be a hit.

I have to agree with @mazingerz88, most people want to see the big action and power of male superheroes. Just like sports. Women’s sports just aren’t as marketable as men’s sports.

jerv's avatar

Allow me to edit that…

“Will we ever see a good, big-budget Superhero movie with a female protagonist?”

After Spider-man 3, X-men 3 and the rest of that franchise, Electra, Daredevil, ad nauseum, I would say that the answer is “no” regardless of budget or the lead’s gender.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@jerv You know they’re just getting started, right?

fundevogel's avatar

This isn’t a super hero specific issue. Sometime last month I randomly decided to tally the male to female protagonist ratio in my movie collection. Now let’s move past what a nerd I am. Granted, chick flicks don’t appear in my collection at all (unless you count movies like The Princess Bride or Moulin Rouge), but in movies where there was a featured protagonist it was overwhelmingly male. Ladies were reasonably well represented in ensemble casts, but out of 106 DVDs there were only 8 where the featured protagonist was female.

Primary Protagonist Male : 70
Primary Protagonist Female : 8
Dual Protagonists Male & Female : 9
Ensemble Cast with Females Reasonably Represented: 16

Props to the movie makers that actually made a female their key character:

Henry Selick (Coraline)

Steven Shainberg (Secretary & Fur)

Quentin Tarantino (Kill Bill 1 & 2)

Guillermo Del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth)

Max Fleisher (Betty Boop)

Jason Reitman (Juno)

Maybe next month I’ll check how many featured protagonists are a color other than white. It’s not lookin’ good.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@fundevogel I assume you’re familiar with the Bechdel test?

fundevogel's avatar

@mazingerz88 I loved Hitgirl. And her base vernacular.

@Aethelflaed Omg no. That’s awesome. Or tragic. I can’t decide.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@fundevogel It’s both awesome that someone out there is doing all this, and tragic that they have to, and tragic how many movies can’t pass. Because it’s such a totally reasonable request, and they can’t meet it.

fundevogel's avatar

@Aethelflaed Do they automatically fail if the women talk about men, or just if they don’t talk about anything else?

Aethelflaed's avatar

@fundevogel No, usually if there’s one or two lines where they talk about shoes or cats or jobs or whatever, that’s enough to “pass” (though there’ll be some disagreements in the comments). They can talk about the men, it just can’t be the only thing they talk about.

fundevogel's avatar

@Aethelflaed Ouch. For some reason I immediately concluded that must be how Sex in the City gets by. But I am nothing if not unqualified to judge the content of that show, since I refuse to watch it at all.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@fundevogel Yeah, pretty much. Well, that and the part where it’s a TV show, so eventually they do have to talk about something other than men, if only to comment on each other’s cheese puff making skills. No, wait, that’s 60s era sitcoms… But while the SATC girls are nothing if not insufferable, they do expand their insufferablity to talking about shoes, fashion, nails, booze, how technology baffles them, cats, and hatin’ on other women.

fundevogel's avatar

@Aethelflaed If only they were super heroes…

Aethelflaed's avatar

@fundevogel I know. If (mainstream, well-known) comics would expand outside the superhero genre, we’d have more options, but there’s very few options in female superhero characters, and even less that are well-done.

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

@Aethelflaed that is what prompted my question. I have seen movies with female superheroes. Some that may have been interesting. Certainly some female characters have more dramatic potential than Superman.

They all stink. @filmfann listed: “Elektra, Catwoman, and Supergirl were all bad movies”. Ultraviolet, Aeon Flux. Not good. And we know the original BTVS was awful compared to the show, and the new one will be as well.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@Imadethisupwithnoforethought Yeah, I think it’s going to have to start with having strong female characters that aren’t overly sexualized in big comics, where they can build up a fan base that big movie producers can count on when they fund the movie. Or, the alternative stuff on the web will become really big (I can only hope), and it’ll be relatively new characters outside the DC/Marvel universes. And, perseverance, that when there are a few flops, the Powers That Be won’t blame it on the main character being female.

ucme's avatar

Supergirl starring Justin “ain’t I cute though” Bieber. Ticks all kinds of boxes.
This movie was brought to you by sarcastic bastard productions, rated DG….don’t go, unless you’re of a shallow, empty headed persuasion.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

I suppose there are no real sexy female superheros. When they find one or create one, I guess it will do quite well at the box office.

Mariah's avatar

When it happens I think it will be less about “look how kick-ass this woman is” and more about “look how hot this woman looks when she’s being kick-ass.” AKA every female role in every action movie ever. But it’d be cool if it was done well.

fundevogel's avatar

@Mariah Ripley was never about looks. She was just kicking ass and taking names. And yet my dad is totally into Sigorney Weaver because of Alien. I guess he finds strong women sexy regardless of how they’re dressed.

filmfann's avatar

I love Ripley, and Sigourney Weaver is a babe, but she has a flat ass.

Berserker's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central Dude, she might not be a superhero, technically, but Red Sonja is totally hot.
They’re making a new movie about her, too.

Brian1946's avatar


Cool, although I’d rather see someone of more Amazonian proportions, such as Lucy Lawless or Jodi Lyn O’Keefe, play Sonja instead of Megan Fox.

Berserker's avatar

@Brian1946 Ain’t gonna argue that…I’m curious about the movie, (like I was about Conan…) but I might do better to just stick with the original. :/

fundevogel's avatar

@Brian1946 It looks like Rose McGowan might be playing playing her. I don’t know anything about the character, but I loved Rose McGowan as Cherry Darling so I’m optimistic. Or to be more precise, I know she can be a total badass. I have no idea if the movie would be any good.

Brian1946's avatar


Rose does have some impressive creds in the badass genre.
She could definitely bring the ‘tude to the role.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@Symbeline I can see her being a hot megamovie. I think the less busty incarnations of her to be better, but…….. I would think it might be hard to find a real actress that can be that flawless but yet come of strong and powerful. I also see other troubles brewing of a movie with her as the subject.

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