The X-Men is a comic that has something for everyone to identify with. And there are women characters, a lot of X-Women in fact, which is unusual and rather amazing. This series doesn't believe in the Smurfette Principle, with as many women characters filling the pages as men. But how has this translated to film? I thoroughly enjoyed X-Men: First Class, and you can read my spoiler-free review here at The Void, but is it a feminist friendly outing for the mutants?
What I've been asked about this film isn't, "is this film good for its portrayal of women?" but instead, "is this film not too horrible for its portrayal of women?". Our standards are so pathetically low, it's almost a relief to have some scraps thrown our way. So while X-Men: First Class is undoubtedly one of the best superhero films this year for women, it's no surprise at all that the X-Women are completely wasted compared to their male counterparts.
Balancing a feminist critique of a film alongside my genuine enjoyment of the film on its own terms is tricky. But while the film is better than others, and certainly a step in the right direction, we still have a long way to go.
Over at The Void, I've published my spoiler-free review of the fantastic X-Men: First Class.
Eleven years and five films, with yet more in production, X-Men is the comic movie franchise that audiences love and forgive evermore. But can an installment without fan favourite Wolverine really please us rabid comic readers? Hell yes.
This is the X-Men film we’ve been waiting for, the origins of the mutants, and more importantly, the origin of Magneto. Fans have lapped up the new movie continuity, effectively giving director Matthew Vaughn free reign to play with the biggest team in comics. It’s not perfect, squandering its political time frame and playing it a little safe, but it is unmissable entertainment.
One of the most frequently asked questions I get in my job as a bookseller who specialises in, amongst other things, graphic novels is “where do I start?”. Well okay, that's the question most frequently asked after we've established that yes I'm a woman, yes I read comics, yes I've actually read all of these ones behind me.
As we settle down to a monster year of comic book films coming to our cinemas, let's have a look at an ultimate guide for beginners to the stars of the year: Thor, The X-Men, Green Lantern, Captain America, Conan, and Judge Dredd. Heck, I'll even throw in a little Priest, Cowboys & Aliens, and Tintin for you.