Monday, 10 April 2017

Some brief thoughts on Joss Whedon and Batgirl

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It was announced this recently that Joss Whedon was in talks to write and direct a Batgirl movie for DC/Warner Bros, presumably to be part of the DCEU (DC Extended Universe that began with Man of Steel. It's a major coup for DC/Warner Bros. Whedon helped make the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) what it is today, successfully bringing together its disparate heroes in the game-changing The Avengers. Having Whedon on-board the DCEU adds some good will considering the controversial reaction to their film output thus far.

Whedon's sensibilities do line up with writer Cameron Stewart's run on Batgirl several years ago, which was more lighthearted compared to Gail Simone's serious take on the character. Just imagine Buffy the Vampire Slayer but with Batgirl and I think you have something akin to the actual film.

When the DC universe was rebooted for the New 52, Simone re-imagined Barbara Gordon as having gained the ability to walk again. Barbara had being paralyzed by the Joker shooting her. This event occured in Alan Moore's The Killing Joke. In the previous continuity, Barbara took on the role of Oracle, a computer expert working alongside the DC heroes. With the DCEU reportedly moving towards a lighter tone, a Whedon Batgirl wouldn't feel as out of place as it would immediately post Batman v. Superman.

Whedon's Batgirl film is said to be taking inspiration from the New 52 so the question is whether The Killing Joke will be part of Barbara's backstory. The Killing Joke is a controversial, with some considering it sexist and misogynistic. Critics of the story view Barbara's role in the story as essentially a plot device to psychologically torture her father Commissioner James Gordon. I believe there is a way to incorporate Barbara's paralysis in to the story without her being a plot-device, which is to have her in costume and in action when she is paralyzed. 

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Another important question is who will play Barbara. Many have suggested Emma Stone, who's fresh off her Oscar win for La La Land. Admittedly, I'm not a huge fan of Stone and feel Jane Levy- who's name has also been bandied about for the role- is actually a more versatile actress and deserves a star-making role of this caliber. British actress Imogen Poots is also another actress who always feels like she's on the cusp stardom. 

I'm looking forward to seeing more of the Bat-family as the DCEU progresses, particularly with Ben Affleck's Batman in BvS seemingly cut-off from everyone except Jeremy Irons' Alfred Pennyworth. So, let me know- is Whedon a good pick? And who do you want to play Batgirl in the DCEU?