I don’t usually do that, but a group of our summer research students were getting together to go, so I tagged along. I also had just read this review, and I wanted to try and see it through those eyes.
There is a moment, in the film’s climactic fight scene, when each of the Ghostbusters have exhausted their weapons and had a turn at battling the ever encroaching hoard of ghosts. One of the Ghostbusters, played by Kate McKinnon, remembers her last resort. She whips two hidden guns out of her proton pack, licks the barrel, and, with the Ghostbusters theme song wailing, absolutely DESTROYS every evil thing on screen, in one of the most amazing 30 seconds… 60 seconds? Eternity? Longest moments of my life.
She isn’t a princess. She isn’t a prop. She isn’t a love interest. She is the main character, in a movie with no other “greater” male main characters. She’s being a bad ass action hero, saving the day not for the happy ending kiss, but for herself and her friends and the world. But most importantly… and this is so, so very, very incredibly important: You can’t see her boobs while she does it.
Wait, let me repeat this: she’s a main character, an action hero, AND there’s no sexy impossible back bending moves in the scene that show off a tight catsuit or cleavage or the silhouette of her toned butt. She is not leaping all over the screen just to fuel all the fanboy’s fantasies later at home. She is not wearing sexy make up and she does not even have long hair that blows in the wind, still curled, after she defeats the bad guys. Kate McKinnon’s character saves the world in a dirty, baggy MTA jumpsuit.
I have to say that on a second viewing, the plot looks worse — it’s kind of an arbitrary mess that throws up hordes of ghosts for the heroes to zap. But that review is exactly right about what makes the movie work — it treats women as people.
Now that’s going to color all the other superhero movies that are inevitably going to pour onto the screen over the next few years, and I hope studio executives are noticing. The new movie playing at my local theater now is Suicide Squad, which I have very little interest in seeing for a lot of reasons, including the terrible reviews, but now I’m wondering…is Harley Quinn a human being in the story?