In the recently released DC animated film, Batman: The Killing Joke, one of the most controversial graphic novels in history is brought to life on the silver screen. At its world premiere at San Diego Comic Con this past Saturday, it was met with mixed responses primarily due to the additional thirty minutes of new story added to the front of the film in order to supposedly give the audience more of a chance to care for one of the central characters, Barbara Gordon aka Batgirl (voiced by Tara Strong). The additional story only served to provide additional controversy to an already troubling film as well as clearly illustrate that DC has absolutely no idea how to create a strong female character let alone represent women well in their franchises. Be aware spoilers are ahead for the film, however electing to watch the film may result in critical levels of fuming and steaming of the ears at the pure idiocy of the writers.
|Batman, Batgirl's not a child. She's a totally|
capable woman who fully understands
what she is involved in.
|Would have much preferred a Batgirl driven by her own|
volition rather than being portrayed as someone
driven by her schoolgirl crush on Batman.
In the end, Batgirl gives up her super heroine identity and decides to simply be Barbara Gordon for primarily two reasons. The first is that she doesn't want Batman to feel like he has to protect her, and the second being that she doesn't want to fall into the same dark place that Batman has gone to. Her second reason is perfectly fair, but the first? Come on girl!
|Not only is Barbara Gordon harmed for the sake of Batman's|
storyline, the Joker's wife pre-villain days is killed off solely
for his storyline and development. Women are better
|It's not enough that Barbara was shot and paralyzed,|
she also had her body violated too. Thanks male writers!
|Clearly in DC's world, women are only good for furthering|
male storylines. Really feeling the love here.
The major problem with all of this is that the writers of this film are somehow convinced that they created a strong female character in Barbara Gordon by tacking on that additional story to the start of the film. Do they even know what a strong female character is?! In my own view, the definition of a strong female character is one who has her own initiative, makes decisions of her own volition and not because of some man, and who's sole purpose in a story is not just to further a male counterpart's story line. It's really not that difficult to do, so why does DC constantly struggle with female representation in their films?
|Lois Lane is willing to do whatever it takes to bring the story|
to the people in 'The Flashpoint Paradox'.
DC does have a few examples of well written female characters in their animated canon. Take for instance Lois Lane in The Flashpoint Paradox, who is a guerrilla reporter on the front lines of the conflict between Aquaman and Wonder Woman willing to risk her life for the sake of getting the story. Another excellent example is Carol Sparks from Green Lantern: The Animated Series (which is full of amazing female characters and is a rare gem in the DC animation) who continues to run a major jet company even in the absence of Hal Jordan not to mention declines the chance to join the Star Sapphires because it's not what she personally wants.
|Barbara Gordon/Batgirl deserved better writing.|
Overall, DC has a great deal of work ahead of them if they truly want to rectify their issues in female representation of their women characters. Only time and a great deal of continued constructive criticism directed their way will tell if they are able to make the necessary growth and changes.