Female leads on the rise in hero industry

Superhero franchises are dramatically changing and are now featuring more powerful and courageous female characters in film productions, giving way to a new era of feminist heroes.

The superhero universe today is different than it was in the 1970s as women are now receiving bigger roles in films all throughout the industry and being labeled as symbolic figures within the superhero franchise.

Valerie Bolanos, freshman nursing major, said she believes the hero universe has changed into something for all genders and ages.

“The franchise has grown because movies within it are now (made) especially for women and children,” Bolanos said. “It’s changing due to new technologies and productions.”

In recent film productions, women have carried the roles of Black Widow, Wonder Woman, Mystique and Catwoman — all females known for their backstories and male-equivalent skill sets. Many of these characters used to take a sidestep to the male-driven plots but are now the ones carrying the storylines.

Superhero films in the 1970s focused on the dominant male superheroes such as Superman and Batman and did not feature many symbolic feminine figures in their productions. One of the biggest superhero franchises, DC, has a vast library that recently boasted some of the most popular female superheroes and super villains in the industry, a step forward because the older comic books targeted a male audience.

Pamela Flory-Sanchez, adjunct English professor, said she believes that technology has allowed the superhero franchise to change drastically and prefers the older film productions, but today’s female characters have caught her attention.

“Media and technology have changed the industry, (but) I like the old movies better,” Flory-Sanchez said. “Technology is amazing, but back then I liked all the colors and the (strong) moral ethics.”

Jacob Shankwiler, freshman pre-nursing major, said Marvel has grabbed viewers’ attention and completely changed the franchise.

“In the older days, Wonder Woman stood out to me and now I would say Batgirl stands out,” Shankwiler said. “Women have been a part of the superhero franchise ever since the comics were created but now women are becoming the headliners.”

Supergirl and Jessica Jones have been dominating network TV while Harley Quinn in the upcoming “Suicide Squad” and Scarlett Witch of “Captain America: Civil War” are some of the most hyped big screen female characters, offering variety and originality.

The superhero universe has changed dramatically over the course of decades and women are now taking the lead, being featured in shows and films in roles viewers can be proud to look up to.

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