Even the DCU’s New Dream Team Is Now Towing the Misogynist Line About Batgirl’s Cancellation
Excuse me DC, but your misogyny is showing
Today is a big day for comic book movie fans! Warner Brothers just released the whole DC slate of movies for 2023 and beyond. Normally, I ignore comic book movies, because frankly, I care about Blade and Blade only for reasons that should be obvious. (Vampires are awesome.) However, DC fans are so excited, it’s impossible not to glean some info from today, and friends, something has really pissed me off.
First, there’s this comment from James Gunn, Co-CEO of DC Studios from Variety:
“I will say here that “Flash” is probably one of the greatest superhero movies ever made,” Gunn said.
OK, look, Gunn has taken over leadership of a studio that, even if you’re a fan of DC movies, has taken a bit of a beating over the past few years. I say that as someone who kinda sorta liked Black Adam because I like The Rock in basically everything. Gunn has to get people hyped for this movie because its star, Ezra Miller, has had multiple run-ins with the law over the past few years. I’m not here to get into that. It’s well-documented on this site. The point is, if you’re coming on to a new job, clearing house with old talent, and promising a new direction, you need to have some wins out of the gate. So will The Flash be the greatest superhero movie ever made? No. Blade: Trinity already exists, and you can’t improve upon perfection.
So what’s the issue here? At an event held on Jan 30th, Peter Safran, who is the Co-CEO of DC films alongside Gunn, decided it was wholly appropriate to sh*t all over Batgirl, saying it would have been damaging for the studio. Per a separate article from Variety:
“Batgirl’s a character that inevitably we will include in our story,” he said. “On the Batgirl front, it’s not about late in the process of the film getting canceled. I saw the movie, and there are a lot of incredibly talented people in front of and behind the camera on that film. But that film was not releasable, and it happens sometimes. That film was not releasable. I actually think that [president and CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery David] Zaslav and the team made a very bold and courageous decision to cancel it because it would have hurt DC. It would have hurt those people involved.”
Excuse me, Batgirl was unreleasable, but Batman v Superman, where Lex Luthor made Congress drink urine was fine and dandy? That’s cinema? Totally fine, fit for public consumption, nothing to see here? Cool.
Let’s be really clear here: Batgirl was a female-driven project with an Afro-Latina lead. Per The Wrap:
“It’s such a thing, we haven’t seen a lot of Latino superheroes, or actors of Latin descent within the superhero world,” Grace told E! News in an interview. “So it was such a beautiful opportunity to be granted and a big responsibility as well.”
There is something deeply unpleasant about the newly installed white, male Co-CEO of a comic book movie studio (don’t see too many of those. Oh wait) throwing the sole movie led by a non-white, non-male lead under the bus to tow the company line, and publicly telling the stars “It was for your own good, trust us.” I know there are many passionate fans of DC movies, but let’s be really honest here, there have been some stinkers over the years. How bad, truly, could Batgirl be? Especially when it was determined that the movie’s budget was able to secure Warner Brother’s a 90 million dollar tax write-off. It’s not like Warner and DC took the loss and gained nothing. They got a lot back by shelving it.
It’s not that I think they shouldn’t be hyping up their upcoming slate of movies. It would be a highly weird marketing tactic if they weren’t. It’s that perhaps you don’t need to sh*t on a movie your boss already murdered that will never see the light of day, especially if that movie was the only movie with a female star who wasn’t white.
The juxtaposition of slathering all over a movie with a troubled star, proclaiming it to be the greatest thing in the world, while concurrently sh*tting all over another movie, declaring it damaging to a brand—that again, released a movie that forced people to drink pee a few years ago—highlights a gross double standard at play. When in the history of Hollywood has a studio not released a movie they thought would damage the reputation of its star? I cannot think of a single instance. The argument Safran is parroting here is gross, paternalistic, and misogynistic. Leslie Grace doesn’t know how to manage her own career, and she needs Warner Bros. to do it for her. Really? If that was the case, why hasn’t Warner Bros. stepped in and shelved any completed movies up until then? The whole argument is bullsh*t, but since Safran has the platform and the power, it’s getting repeated as fact.
Audiences will never get to judge for themselves if Batgirl truly was the worst of the worst. Saying nothing is free in a situation like that, and by bringing up how bad it was, it does nothing but reinforce a misogynistic talking point that no one can verify.
(featured image: Warner Bros.)
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