Explosions, gripping fight scenes, sexist playboy arrogance, and close-ups of Robert Downey Jr.'s face overlaid with computer graphics—these were all things I expect when walking into an Iron Man movie. What I don't expect are convenient and overused Hollywood tropes about Muslim women.
While I'm personally in no way rattled by the acquisition/merger, I do think that it provides some opportunities to discuss gender, entertainment and marketing.
Marvel has over 70 years of history, and Disney will have access to over 5,000 characters (though the ones that have been mentioned most in the past week are the most profitable: Spider-Man, Iron Man, and the X-Men. Hmmmmm . … what could be missing here?)
The deal has included lots of business speak about "brands," "vertical integration," "long-term growth," "value creation," and my favorite, "synergy," (mostly because it reminds me of 30 Rock's Jack Donaghy telling Liz Lemon to "never badmouth synergy"). There certainly will be many opportunities for profit, but I'm interested in how y'all respond to the fact that one of Disney's major motivating factors has been securing a young male demographic.
Superhero movies have looked an awful lot like fraternity row the past couple of years, and lotsofbloggers (including this female gazer) have been vigorously calling for more celluloid superheroines. And we're not talking about more characters like Halle Berry's Catwoman. No way. We want some quality super women. But despite the generally underwhelming news on this front as of late, I'm crossing my fingers that the latest casting news about Iron Man 2 might include some promise for all of us.
Last month, rumors started started popping up that super spy Black Widow (Natasha Romanoff) might be appearing in Iron Man 2. Yesterday, Variety reported that Emily Blunt may be a frontrunner for the role, lending a whole lot of credence to earlier conjecture. This is potentially great news, because Black Widow might actually be a female comic book character who filmmakers can't screw up when they bring her to the big screen!
After the jump: a list of reasons why Black Widow might just avoid the pitfalls of shoddy screenwriting and stereotyping that have befallen other superheroines on screen...