I went to see Iron Man at the weekend. Have any of you seen it? I have mixed feelings to be honest (there are spoilers below). It was enjoyable for the most part, and had some good comedy lines. However, I left feeling a little disappointed. The trailer had given me hope that Pepper was really going to DO things in this film. And she did, she did have a little bit of action time. However, in the scenes leading up to her action moments it was all a complete stock-girl-kidnap. Pepper is tied up! Pepper is crushed! She is sliding towards her doom! There is a 'reach for my hand' moment! I was just a little bored. Because generally, in films, women serve the role of plot development and character development - for the male lead. Pepper is kidnapped as a motivator for Iron Man. When he is caught you think - how will he get out of this? When she is caught you think - how will he get her out of this? There is a good Feminist Frequency about how the Damsel in Distress trope is over-used in games, but it applies to films just as much. I know that Iron Man 3 did give her some degree of agency but it felt so odd to me, to put her in that stereotypical role, and see it through to it's usual conclusion (spoiler: man rescues woman) and at the end of it all give her some action. It only served to prove to the audience that she was only tied up so that she could be rescued. Because if she was really badass and clever - which she is - she could have got herself out.
If I was making it, I would have had that scene with Iron Man trying to call his suit to get out of being tied to a bed. It's funny, it's great. How about if Pepper had escaped herself, showed up and used brains to get him out and the suit was there after all that. It would have worked with the anthropomorphism of the suit, and it wouldn't have given us that boring scene of stereotypes. Because seriously, it's not only sexist it is OLD.
And on that note I have to say I am a little nervous about all these characters I love. I utterly adore Star Trek, but the Into Darkness trailor whilst exciting has a lot of stock sci-fi elements. There are bad people! Explosions! A ship crashing into water! A blonde woman takes her clothes off! Men say brave things!
I am totally going to see it of course, but even if it reaches beyond those motifs, the very fact they felt the need to put a moment of Dr Carol Marcus in her pants says JJ Abrams has let me down.
It's all so silly. The Bechdel test has been circulating since the 80s. Girls have read comics, liked sci-fi since it began. Every so often a film gets it right and is successful... I wrote that. Then I went away for twenty minutes on the Bechdel test website to look at action films that pass. Um. So, the only one that passes 'with flying colours' is the Hunger Games. But my point is that a good writer and director wouldn't feel the need to stub in tropes to their work. If they can show women saving the day in a few minutes, don't spend the rest of it showing them like stock characters!
Anyway, I didn't mean to turn my Iron Man 3 review into such a long piece. In the mean time, here are some pictures of me and our wedding venue in the snow. We went back to check it out and refresh ourselves - only we had to avoid snow drifts! It's not going to be like that on the day I trust.
|And here is my ceramic sheep riding a toy scooter.|