This past year has been a big year for feminists and their voices in media, and the arts. One could argue that they have always had voices in the arts, and before that person can continue 'mansplaining' to me about art and the different mediums and voices that art breathes life into, I am going to keep talking. Yes, women have always been present in art. Yes, women have always had a voice. But I am not here to argue about the overall stance of women in art, their voices, how and why they are/are not taken seriously. I am going to talk about two movies of this summer that have garnered a lot of scrutiny from the media because of their portrayal of women, and the way the directors, writers, producers handled the source material.
Suicide Squad was suppose to be the saving grace of the DC movie universe. They packed it with some box office draws (Will Smith) and heavy hitting actors (Viola Davis) and threw in some eye candy (Carla Delevingne) for good measure. Easily the most talked about performance was Jared Leto's (overrated) performance as the Joker. Only to push Margo Robbie's nuanced and skilled performance as Harley Quinn into the shadows. But there were some remarkable consistencies with another film that was released earlier this summer with women taking the helm.
Ghostbusters was the remake that we didn't think or feel that we wanted or needed, until we all fell in love with Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones. (To be honest, if you watch SNL, you were already in love with them, but now it became mainstream.) It took a delightfully silly and somewhat scarey classic and made it more modern, with the added twist of a full female cast where there had been a previously male one. It was funny, without being crude, it had fun and sentimental throwbacks that were not over done. It was an overall great time to spend in the movie theater.
But how are these two films similar? Glad you asked! I have developed an itemized list below. Featuring the obvious, the ridiculous, and the little acknowledged nuances.
1. Celebrated Pop Culture History
Both films are based in two very well loved universes that are celebrated by pop culture. One from comic books (Suicide Squad); one from a cult classic film (Ghostbusters). Doesn't matter that they don't come from the same medium. They are loved, cherished, and protected vigilantly by their fans.
2. Supernatural Villians
Both films save their respective cities from total destruction caused by entities that are "not of this world", or supernatural. Weird blue glowy lights were featured prominently. Ghosts, weird god like creatures, both of whom upset the balance of the group momentarily before they band together and stop the threat.
3. Specifically Developed Gadgets/Weapons
Both films have some pretty sick gadgets featured. Specially developed by the people that use them, using science. After all, dealing with supernatural beings means that the normal weapons and gadgets will not work. And, necessity is the mother of invention.
4. Sexy Foreign Beefcakes
Both films feature a sexy Australian Actor using their own sexy Australian accent. They might break out some dance moves as well. This has convinced me I need to go to Australia as soon as possible.
5. Cool Cameos
Both films feature some amazing cameos. To be perfectly honest, I have to say the cameos in Ghostbusters were the best. Not to spoil it, but you get a glimpse of almost anyone that made the original worth watching. You could tell they were having fun, and seeing them gave this reboot, a giant stamp of approval. The unexpected early cameo in Suicide Squad was awesome, especially when it went from little cameo to street fight with Will Smith. MORE OF THIS PLEASE!
6. Strong, Smart, Fearless, Self Aware Female Characters
Here's the bit that was really important to me, and was somewhat overlooked when people started ripping into Suicide Squad. But surprisingly celebrated in Ghostbusters. But both films featured more than one female character that was either a scientist, had a higher education degree such as a masters or doctorate, and each film had female characters that were not only strong in their convictions, and stood by them. Both films featured smart, intelligent women facing adversity, and overcoming it. Depending on the film, not necessarily in the healthiest of ways, but what are you gonna do? And honestly I could go on and on on this subject, but for the sake of time, and the briefness of the rest of list, I shall spare you, and save it for a different time.
London Griffith is an Alaskan born, Montana raised, Southern influenced, New York Actress. She occasionally writes about her life and experiences of being on the verge ...