We figure the title of the post is fairly self-explanatory, but if you’re the type who needs details, dammit, DETAILS, then here you go:
Whedon is nearing a deal to write, direct, and produce an untitled Batgirl pic for Warner Bros. as part of its DC Extended Universe.”
Those are pretty much all the details out there, with the addition of the news that he plans on doing only one film and not getting roped into a franchise.
Anyway, everyone’s gonna have a think piece on this, because both Whedon and DC films tend to inspire them, not to mention the topic of women and superhero properties, so we’re gonna go ahead and add ours to the pile.
This is mostly good news. Whedon tried to make a go of it with DC a long time ago, when he signed on to do a Wonder Woman film that was ultimately dropped. There was always a sense, even after he went on to pretty much launch the shared Marvel cinematic universe to tremendous success with the two Avengers films, that a part of his heart was still stuck on DC’s particular brand of good-girl heroes, in the mode of Wonder Woman, Supergirl and Batgirl, all of whom tend to be a bit closer to the Buffy mode than Black Widow or Jessica Jones or Storm. On that level, we’re unsurprised by the news and we think he will make a particularly good fit for the character. “Good-girl super-genius detective” is tailor-made for his particular skills and aesthetic.
It’s also very good news coming from the DC movieverse, which has seen a rather gloomy launch with the Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad films, both of which made a lot of money but also came in for a TON of criticism for being grim and over-serious. This was especially heightened by the continuing success of rival Marvel, whose films keep getting more and more glittery, sunlit, and primary-colored as they progress. Whedon just doesn’t have it in him to take a character like Batgirl and make something grim and horrifying out of her story. Considering his rep at Marvel and the fact that he’s the highest-profile director DC has hired yet, it stands to reason that, whether Whedon wants to do it willingly or not, DC’s looking to him to course-correct the whole line with this one film. The buzz alone will do wonders for the rest of the line’s reputation. We’ll see if Wonder Woman and Justice League, both of which come out this year, will do any work to help lighten the line. The former looks pretty colorful, bold and adventurous in an epic way, the latter is trying very hard to sound jokey and fun in its trailer, but tends to come off fairly forced.
On the flip side of all this is the very fair criticism that a film like this should have gone to a woman director first. We can’t really argue with that. DC gets credit for greenlighting female superhero films and for hiring a woman to direct the first one; Patty Jenkins on Wonder Woman, but there’s no denying that the character of a college-age girl genius and adventurer might be in better hands with perhaps a woman closer to her age than a middle-aged man, talented as he is, and with a record as good as Whedon’s.
We don’t know. We can see both sides here. Whedon’s what the line needs, but the superhero genre in particular is in desperate need of more women’s voices and talents.
And hey, if you don’t want to wade into that thicket, we can always have fun with casting suggestions. We suppose Emma Stone’s too big a deal now, right? A shame, because there isn’t one actress better suited for it than her.
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