In the wake of Avengers: Endgame, 2020 is the year of female superhero movies
The majority of superhero movies next year will be brought to you by female filmmakers and star female superheroes.
Jennifer BissetFormer Senior Editor / Culture
Jennifer Bisset was a senior editor for CNET. She covered film and TV news and reviews. The movie that inspired her to want a career in film is Lost in Translation. She won Best New Journalist in 2019 at the Australian IT Journalism Awards.
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Best New Journalist 2019 Australian IT Journalism Awards
Avengers: Endgame pretty much did it all this year. It yoinked Avatar's title as biggest box office earner of all time and was hailed as so special it "elevated the genre." The superhero movie to end all superhero movies, it tied the knot on 22
films that filled 11 years with some of the biggest blockbusters on the planet.
So what's next? What can Marvel possibly follow up with after seemingly concluding the story of the original Avengers?
Aside from embarking on a very serious Oscars campaign, Marvel is looking at some upheaval. And in 2020, its movie lineup may lead to some big changes.
Pair those with DC's two superhero movies in 2020, Wonder Woman 1984 and Birds of Prey, and there's a common thread. All those films, bar The New Mutants, are directed by women. All five feature women in lead roles.
If 2020 is a repeat of 2019, comic book movies will dominate the box office. Three out of the five top-grossing movies this year are superhero flicks. So there's a sizable chance the mainstream movie audience will watch 2020's particular superhero lineup.
Outside the superhero genre, female-led action thrillers haven't been quite so lucky. Widows and Annihilation were widely lauded but struggled to gather audiences, with the latter deemed one of 2018's biggest box office bombs.
Elizabeth Banksargued that her decently received Charlie's Angels reboot flopped because successful female-led movies like
and Captain Marvel, the latter of which surpassed $1 billion at the box office, are part of the "male genre." Those movies may follow female characters, but their connections to comic book juggernauts like the Justice League and The Avengers attract the full spectrum of movie audiences.
Basically, female-led superhero movies are looking good in 2020.
Though Marvel hasn't exactly balanced its scales. Captain Marvel, co-directed by Marvel's first female director, Anna Boden, along with Ryan Fleck, was the only female superhero film in Phase Three of the MCU's scheduled programming. Black Widow will be the other non-ensemble female superhero movie in Phase Four.
If you factor in Disney Plus, however, the scales get a positive nudge. Three female-led superhero TV series are in the works: WandaVision, Ms. Marvel and She-Hulk. In Elizabeth Olsen'sown words, WandaVision, starring Olsen as Scarlet Witch and Paul Bettany as Vision, promises to "get weird." Ms. Marvel will break ground with Kamala Khan, Marvel's first Muslim character to have her own comic book, and She-Hulk will revolve around Bruce Banner's superpowered cousin.
On top of that, you can probably add Hawkeye, the Disney Plus show set to follow Jeremy Renner's archer passing the mantle over to young archer Kate Bishop.
pitches in on the female superhero movie front with two projects early in development. Silk, a character from the Spider-Man universe, is set to follow Cindy Moon, a Korean-American teenager who's already popped up in Spider-Man: Homecoming as one of Peter's classmates, played by Tiffany Espensen.
Joining her is Madame Web, to be penned by Morbius writers Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless, according to Collider. They'll tell the story of Cassandra Webb, an elderly blind woman who's strapped to a life-support system that looks like a web. Early speculation points to her mutant superpowers holding the key to Spider-Man's shared universe.
But for those who aren't sexist, racist or homophobic, the MCU may receive a welcome shakeup. Tony Stark and Steve Rogers, two of the original Avengers, are seemingly at the end of their roads. The billionaire hero who began Marvel's journey in 2008 sacrificed himself to snap Thanos into oblivion, and the very first Avenger traveled back in time to shack up with his love Peggy Carter. Will the movies bring in a new generation of Avengers, featuring Ms. Marvel, Kate Bishop and She-Hulk? Could Captain Marvel step up as a leader?
In 2020, superhero movies may look and feel very different. Distinct from the superhero movies Martin Scorsese criticized for lacking "emotional danger," for lacking risk. This brave new world could become the norm and pave the way for others.
Or you can watch Sonic the Hedgehog. A movie about a blue hedgehog. How's that for diversity?
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