The premiere of Superman Batman: Apocalypse was satisfying enough. It had dark humour from Batman, true blue heroics from Superman, earth mother advice and slick warrior moves from Wonder Woman. Despite the movie title, at its centre was a young Kryptonian girl caught in a rite of passage, Supergirl.
We have a few kick-ass female heroes out there but they are not as present in the culture as Superman, Batman or Spiderman. One of the main reasons why, is that as many women do not buy comics and the female comic book heroes do not prove to be as popular with the male fans. Even this film is based on a comic book called, ‘The Girl from Krypton’ but did not retain its original title because Hollywood needed a more ‘action-movie’ sounding name.
It’s a shame that this is the case because female super heroes can be empowering. Not only because of their fantastically enhanced superhuman strength and powers, but they also serve to remind us of real female fighters from Joan of Arc to Sikh warrior women like Mai Bhago. These women need to be dragged out from the past and shown to our young girls as symbols of empowerment but also as a real part of our history.
Films like Superman Batman: Apocalypse may be carried by the male heroes but they do seek to remind us of this female warrior tradition, too. I, for one, got great satisfaction from seeing Supergirl repeatedly pound Darkseid in the film, but even more from seeing her come to a decision about who she was, by herself.
The film is out on DVD on 28th September, 2010.