Saturday, December 5, 2015

Editorial on an Editorial: Supergirl v. Jessica Jones

Because we talked about this a little on Wednesday...

[Editorial] Jessica Jones & Supergirl: Apples & Oranges (Major Spoilers)
Supergirl is popularly referred to as “Girl Flash”, which is definitely true. The Kreisberg/Berlanti machine makes television shows under a certain formula that fans across their serieses can pick out – it’s not that subtly done. The problem with that qualifier is that nobody is looking to Legends of Tomorrow and calling that “Time Traveling Supergirl”. Why does WB’s female show require qualification through comparison to one of its MANY male led counterparts?

I took these promotional images from the Major Spoilers site.
There's nothing that's actually wrong with the editorial in question; I just think
Marvel Studios gets a lot of artificial heat from people looking for an issue.
To Marvel Entertainment’s credit, nobody seems to be describing Jessica Jones are “Girl Daredevil”, but Marvel is about to enter PHASE THREE of their Cinematic Universe and there hasn’t been a female-led film yet. Some people like to split hairs and talk about Black Widow’s contributions to Captain America: the Winter Soldier, but let us all face facts like adults: the movie isn’t called Black Widow. It isn’t even called Captain America and Black Widow. It’s called Captain America: the Winter Soldier named for the two male leads – one of whom is spectacularly executed, but has less than twelve lines in films total 136 minutes.

I dropped the following comment on the site.  It maybe makes me a sexist pig, but it was intended to point out the length of time needed to raise and allocate $100 million:

Avi Arad was king in 2006.
It was only about ten years ago that Marvel took out the billion dollar line or credit it needed to form its own movie studio, and clearly we've all forgotten what a hugely risky move this was at the time.  Avi Arad thought it was so stupid that he left the company and sold his shares, and Wall Street in general thought Marvel was headed back to bankruptcy.  Most observers thought Spider-Man and Arad personally were the best thing going at Marvel.  

Against that backdrop, there was NO CHANCE that they were going to start making experimental movies about extremely untested female superheroes.  In fact, it's pretty surprising that they went with Iron Man first; at the time, nearly everyone thought that Captain America was the only character that Marvel still owned that was worth ANYTHING.

Marvel did a round of male superhero movies because they basically HAD to, and then they made the Avengers and did a round of sequels because that's how you make money.  That said, we are only just now entering the period in which the studio can pretty much do what it wants creatively, and look where we are.  You have the perhaps the best female-led action/PI show in history, Agents of SHIELD with so many female leads that there's effectively no male lead in many episodes, Agent Carter (with no male lead at all), and plans for Captain Marvel on the drawing board.

Truth is, Marvel's not getting enough credit because people are impatient and ignorant about finance.  Making these movies is a long game with very high stakes, and Marvel Studios has only had true Freedom of Maneuver for the past couple of years.

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