We appear to be living in an era of superhero adaptations like no other for quantity and diversity. Female superheroes have never been given enough attention, but now Wonder Woman and Supergirl are back, on screen, for the first time since the 1970s and 80s, respectively.
I know there’s an unreleased (but widely leaked) unedited Wonder Woman TV pilot, made in 2011, starring Adrianne Palicki in the role; and Kara Zor-El turned up in Smallville in the form of Laura Vandervoort; but for vastly different reasons, neither of these two actresses made it as these super heroines.
I must confess I haven’t seen the Batman vs Superman flick, as it came out at an unfortunate time in my life. I’ve watched the first 11 episodes of Supergirl before I had to cancel my subscription to cable. No matter, I will watch all in time. What I really wanted to share was my opinions, thus far, on the course they’re taking with these characters, as I never wanted this blog to be entirely a story site.
The most immediate impression I get – and had since I first saw both players dressed as the super heroines – is the producers have intentionally cast actresses who don’t strongly resemble their characters in the comics or previous adaptations. There’s been some pretty mean criticism on the Net, especially levelled at Gal Gadot, which I’m not going to repeat here. However, I do wonder if by casting such different types to what’s expected, is a clever way of making these characters more inclusive to a wider audience? After all, a female demigoddess, who is by nature perfection in human form, and an alien blonde bombshell, are hardly relatable to most women.
I’m genuinely delighted to read critics saying Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman is the best thing about Batman vs Superman. Now every fan is excited for Wonder Woman’s first ever theatrical solo movie. It looks like DC have played it surprisingly well, so far; admittedly, I opposed such an introduction. The only comment I can make at this point in time is I find Wonder Woman’s costume acceptable; just about.
I can offer a firmer view of the first ever live action Supergirl TV series. Melissa Benoist is a capable actress who really captures both the geeky Kryptonian awkwardness of Kara Davners and the feisty good intentions of Supergirl – there’s just one problem – she doesn’t look anything like the previous versions, on screen, or in the comics. The biggest discrepancy is Melissa has dark blonde hair with lighter streaks, rather than being the platinum blonde we associate with the character: think of a platinum blonde super heroine, chances are that’s Supergirl, right?
As for Supergirl’s costume, it copies the modern Man of Steel Superman outfit, which isn’t a bad thing in itself, except the decision to dress her in dark tights with ugly red boots doesn’t do it for me. There’s no reason they have to stick with exactly the same costume, I hope it improves in Season Two.
My main criticism of the story telling on Supergirl is that they go for broke all too often. If Supergirl has to crawl back from the brink of annihilation to triumph against all odds, in nearly every episode, then even the fiercest action gets dull and predictable. It’s as if they think every story is a movie, but film is a different medium to TV, and needs to be treated as such.
Kara working as an assistant to a magazine mogul is not very imaginative (these Kryptonians certainly like keeping it between the pages of the press). Her boss is supposed to be smart, but appears to be the only major character who doesn’t know Kara is Supergirl. I really think they’ve missed a trick by allowing her love interests and just about everybody else to know she’s Supergirl.
The show still has potential – and it was getting better, the more I watched – however, I do feel they need to reflect on the way to make this Supergirl an iconic show and not a just another passable Kryptonian flight of fancy.