DC and Marvel, the two largest comic book publishers in North America, have turned their vast catalogue of superheroes into dozens of different movies, yet between them they have created only three movies starring solo female superheroes, all of which were critical disasters. 1984’s Supergirl (8% on Rotten Tomatoes), 2004’s Catwoman (9%) and 2005’s Elektra (10%) should not, however, be barriers to more female-led superhero movies anymore than 2007’s Ghost Rider (26%), 2008’s Punisher: War Zone (27%) or 2011’s Green Lantern (26%) are to more male superhero movies. If Marvel can plan its Cinematic Universe for the next ten years and DC can use a Man of Steel sequel to build towards a Justice League movie, then surely one of the two companies can spare a space in their schedule to give audiences the solo female superhero movie they deserve.
To develop this top ten, I chose to eliminate characters who could easily have a great movie made around them because of other factors. Catwoman has already appeared in Batman Returns and The Dark Knight Rises, while Supergirl seems more likely as a supporting character in a Man of Steel sequel. Jessica Jones will be appearing in a Netflix series for Marvel, while Elektra is more likely to appear in the Daredevil Netflix series than have her own movie. Black Canary is already appearing on DC’s television show Arrow and Maria Hill looks like she might receive more screen time in Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, should it last a second season. Without further ado, here are the ten solo female superhero movies I think would make the most creative and financial sense.
10 Lady Blackhawk (DC)
9 Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew) (Marvel)
8 X-23 (Marvel)
7 She-Hulk (Marvel)
6 Wasp (Marvel)
5 Sif (Marvel)
4 Batwoman (DC)
As a Bat-related character with a dramatically different background than Batman or any of his other allies, and only peripherally related to Bruce Wayne and his world, Batwoman offers dynamic new storytelling opportunities that wouldn’t conflict with whatever plans DC has for Ben Affleck’s version of Batman in the Man of Steel sequel. As the daughter of a former military officer who attends military school herself, only to be forced to leave after her relationship with another female student is exposed, Batwoman has a ready-made origin story, sensible explanation for her crime-fighting abilities, and most importantly an opportunity to tell very different stories than any other superhero.
3 Captain Marvel/ Ms. Marvel (Marvel)
2 Black Widow (Marvel)
1 Wonder Woman (DC)
The most famous female comic book character of all has been in exactly zero live-action movies, while her DC counterparts Superman and Batman have had six and seven live-action movies respectively in the last forty years, as well as another one on the way starring both. This Man of Steel sequel will also introduce Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot, from the Fast and Furious franchise) as a supporting character, but it would be a gross injustice to fail to use that as a springboard for a solo Wonder Woman movie. Though recent attempted TV pilots have failed to reintroduce her to popular culture again since her 1970s series, Wonder Woman deserves a movie befitting of her stature within pop culture. Finding the right director and screenwriter will be important to discovering the proper balance of her warrior nature and loving, diplomatic side to deliver on her character’s full potential. If done correctly, however, a Wonder Woman movie has the opportunity to stand beside Superman or The Dark Knight as a definitive take on the character and one of the great movies of the superhero genre, as well as re-establish Wonder Woman as their equals in the public eye.
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