It didn’t take a genius to figure out that the “Last Stand” thing was a big lie. There will be an X-Men 4, because they know that I have $8.50 that is not yet spoken for and they want it. And unfortunately, they’re going to get it whether they deserve it or not, because I wasn’t disappointed enough in X-Men 3 to sit out the next one.
I don’t know much about the critics’ general reaction to X3. Most people I know who saw it were at least a little disappointed. But from a heroine content perspective, one particular article in CNN back in May (it used to live here) did catch my attention.
The women of ‘X-Men’: Berry, Janssen, Romijn and Paquin on powers, hair, men
Feminism doesn’t mean that I can’t appreciate cool mutant hair, so I’m good so far.
The women of “X-Men: The Last Stand” can kick your butt.
Yes, I imagine that’s true, and bravo for a strong opening line. But let’s check out what the women of X-Men had to say about all of that butt-kicking:
Q: Did you ever envy one another’s superpowers?
HALLE BERRY: I envied that I never really got to do my powers until the third movie. Fly and do electricity and spin and make a tornado like I got to do now. I envied that I never got to do what I do.
ANNA PAQUIN: I still never get to do anything. Three movies, absolutely no action. It’s kind of amazing. […] I managed to survive three action comic-book movies and pretty much almost not to see one single bit of real violence or, you know, action sequences.
BERRY: You’ll have to do a Rogue spinoff, just so you can do something.
PAQUIN: Dude, I don’t know if anybody wants to see that, actually.
BERRY: Well, you got a great love story. I didn’t have that. I got no action and no story. I had nothing.
PAQUIN: I had some gloves.
Q: With women so prevalent, are the “X-Men” movies female-empowerment films?
ROMIJN: What I like most about these movies is they’re not gender-specific at all. Yeah, of course, the women kick butt, and so do the guys. It’s a non-issue.
PAQUIN: It’s never even addressed. When they’re going into battle, it’s more whose power is most useful.
Except that you just said you never got to do anything.
JANSSEN: I find it’s rare to see in a Hollywood movie, period, that many female characters. That many strong female characters. But specifically in the genre of comic-book adaptations, it just does not happen, because you have “Superman,” you have “Batman,” you have all these characters, and then you have the love interest. The fact that we have that many female characters in a movie of any size in Hollywood, it’s great.
That’s crap. We are well past the time when just having female characters in a Hollywood movie is enough. What good does it do to have them when they get the short end of the stick? Storm stood around wringing her hands a lot, Jean/Phoenix moped, and Rogue pined after a boy. Mystique started off powerful, but then the “cure” reduced her to begging on the floor, with backstabbing as her only remaining power.
So what will we see in X-Men 4?
Well, maybe there will be some good hair:
JANSSEN: It was really a hair commercial, if you think about it. We all said, if you want to get a great hair commercial out of this movie, let’s just make sure that the hair changes and upstages everything.
Sigh. That’ll be $8.50 well spent.
This post was originally published on Heroine Content, a feminist and anti-racist movie blog that ran from July 2006 to May 2012.