Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Deadpool and Fury Road

I came out of the cinema after Deadpool with a similar feeling to watching Fury Road. It was odd, the films were pretty damn different in everything from plot to cinematography, yet here I was with a felling of “that was just like Fury Road”.
Then I realised, it wasn’t because the films themselves were alike, it was because I had for once (or more accurately, for the second time), come out a a film not disappointed in how they had treated the female characters.
Female characters who were real characters, with personality, agency, characterisation and who didn’t exist to satisfy male gaze.

(minor spoilers ahead)

Vanessa, a quick witted, complex personality, who doesn’t take shit but isn’t the all powerful bad ass trope. A sex worker who is allowed to be a sex worker, who isn’t “saved” who calls the shots on how and when her relationships happen, who has genuine feelings and motivation. Who can be pretty and sexy and practical, who despite literally being a stripper, is allowed to have a costume that is relatively covering when she is being kidnapped and even puts on a nice warm coat. Who is allowed the ingenuity and skill to partially free herself but (due to being a normal human surrounded by superhero) still accepts help from others.

Angel, a super strong woman who looks super strong, who has a solid tough looking body, who wears clothes that are flattering yet highly practical and suitable for her role and activity. Who is a partner in the evil genius game and is respected by her boss, and treated as an equal, not a subordinate or arm candy. Who takes part in the delicious self aware gag about gratuitously ripped costumes. Who has opinions and emotions, who respects her opponents and loves the fight but doesn’t succumb to the trope of falling for her adversary.
(I have a major crush on Angel)

Negasonic Teenage Warhead, a teenage girl who acts like a teenager. Who has oodles of personality and isn’t made in to a bimbo. Who has a seriously realistic teenage body - slim, a little curvy but not hyped up and no teeny tiny measurements. Who is powerful and confident but who listens to her superiors. Who is bad ass, and dangerous and still knows when things are too much for her. Who isn’t expected to be in a love triangle with anybody.

Al, the smack talking older blind woman, who can put Deadpool in his place but still show care. Who has fun and lives a life she chooses whether that’s seen as respectable or not. Who is a sweet old lady that carries a pistol in her slipper socks. Who has opinions about Crocs. Who is there for you when you need it and knows when to ask qustions and when to keep silent. Who will disapprove about your sex life but only because your noisy about it. Who isn’t a stereotype of the disabled person who is actually super amazing despite/because of their disability and has overcome challenges to be inspiring, and instead sometimes is awesome and sometimes fails and that’s ok because that’s how life it.

Just like in Fury Road, here are a bunch of women who are real characters who exist in a film without it being a “girls film”, who have just as much thought put in to their writing as the male characters (if not more), who are exciting and fun to watch, not because they are women, but because they are good characters.
And it shows that if they want to writers and directors can have perfectly good female characters in any film they want of any genre and people will enjoy it. These two awesome films have managed it. These two films are all the more awesome because every character regardless of gender is a good character.

[disclaimer: I know Deadpool wasn’t without problems: it was very white, some of the jokes where dubious at best and could have been done without, but as far as female representation goes, it done good]
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