"Thor 4", "She-Hulk"... The super-heroines settle on the screen!

“Thor 4”, “She-Hulk”… The super-heroines settle on the screen!

This year, they burst the small as the big screen. July 13, Natalie Portman will be Mighty Thorthe goddess of thunder in Thor: Love and Thunder At the movie theater. From August 17, Tatiana Maslani will camp She-Hulk in the eponymous series of Disney +. And in November, Riri Williams, successor to Iron Man, should appear in the sequel to Black Panther, Wakanda Forever. So many superheroines in theaters or on platforms, in such a short period of time, it was unheard of before. Yet many comic book fans have been waiting a long time to see these female characters come to life. Why didn’t they get this spotlight sooner? Explanations.

When in 2019 comes out Captain Marvel, it is an event. This is the first solo film by a superheroine in the MCU. [l’univers cinématographique Marvel]. The character, however, has existed since 1988. Worse, Black Widow, interpreted by Scarlett Johansson in the productions Marvel since 2010, only got the headliner in 2021.

First, flops

“For a long time Hollywood had it in mind that superhero movies didn’t work,” explains 20 minutes Xavier Fournier, journalist and author of Super-Heroes: The other side of the costume. In effect, Supergirl, catwoman and Electra, three superhero films, released in 1984, 2004 and 2005 respectively, ended in flops. For example, for a production budget of $100 million in production, catwoman only reported 82. A failure that the comics specialist explains by “a script written with the feet… A Barbie with superpowers. »

The end of the 2010s marked a turning point in the creation of superhero films. The success of the Marvel and DC Comics franchises reassured producers and the demand for films centered on women in these universes was felt, which launched the productions of wonder woman and Captain Marvel. Paradigm shift in this post- #MeToo, which shook the film industry inviting it to question itself and opening up to female and feminist voices. Result: two successes reaching or approaching the billion dollar mark and which pave the way for other productions such as she hulk Where Miss Marvel for the small screen. Superheroines are acclaimed and pay off big.

Superheroines face sexists

Despite the undeniable success of Marvel films, however, criticism is getting stronger and stronger. Anthology on social networks: “ Captain Marvel is feminist propaganda”, “Marvel makes progressive propaganda” or even “She-Hulk? More She Woke” (“Miss Hulk? Rather Miss Woke”). Marvel Studios productions are accused of being too feminist, pro-LGBT, favorable to social justice. Accusations in particular made by American conservatives who see in these films and series mediums propagating a progressivism which they refuse and which do not correspond to their vision of comics. “Women in comics are a thermometer of the role of women in society. In the 1950s, the most retrograde for female characters like Wonder Woman, moreover, superheroines were created to show the superiority of man. This illustrates well the sexism of the authors of the time”, recalls Xavier Fournier.

The studio’s desire to highlight these women and characters from diversity would therefore be in line with the values ​​of the “Maison des Idées” (Marvel’s nickname). “Marvel realized early on the need for diversity, which led to the creation of Black Panther in the 1960s, later Miles Morales. [le Spider-Man aux origines latino-africaines] or that of Khamala Khan [la Miss Marvel actuelle, Pakistanaise et musulmane]. »

These characters and their stories meeting their success, the recipe is again used to create new characters on the basis of old ones. This is how Mighty Thor (Jane Foster) was born under the pen of Jason Aaron and Brian Michael Bendis created Iron Heart alias Riri Williams, the new Iron Man. Characters who upset the gendered codes of comics and who will therefore soon land on our screens.

Inclusion in the MCU, artistic will or com stunt?

If the Maison des Idées has undertaken this diversification of its characters, it is logical that its adaptations follow the same dynamic. But do not be fooled, the economic interest is never far away. The Jane Foster story as the Goddess of Thunder boosted sales of Thor 30% said screenwriter Jason Aaron. An aspect that was certainly taken into account when deciding to adapt this narrative arc in the next film.

For Xavier Fournier, the question of inclusion divides the United States into two blocks, the one that promotes it and the one that jeers at it. “Marvel, and Disney by extension, has chosen to embrace these issues. By doing this, Marvel satisfies the public who wants us to seize these themes and agitates the wasp’s nest of the American far right which, in fact, talks about the film and advertises it. »

Is putting superheroines on the front of the stage the sign of a real will or a simple mercantile opportunism? Xavier Fournier does not decide: “It’s both cheese and dessert. »

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