Superheroes and Sexism: Can Two Women Be in Batman vs. Superman Without a Love Triangle?

Amy Adams has said she hopes Wonder Woman and Lois Lane do more than fight over a guy

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Jim Spellman / WireImage / Getty Images

Amy Adams attends the "Man Of Steel" World Premiere at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center on June 10, 2013, in New York City.

As news about the much anticipated 2015 Batman vs. Superman movie begins to trickle out, the word that Gal Gadot has been cast as Wonder Woman has inspired many questions —well, one in particular — among those familiar with the character’s mythology.

Though Wonder Woman and Superman were originally found in separate storylines, the DC characters have interacted before. In the Superman/Wonder Woman series, that interaction was a full-on love story. Given the fact that the comics series only began this fall, it’s been an easy source of plot speculation for the upcoming film.

But, as even the most basic-level superhero fan knows, she’s not the Man of Steel’s only paramour.

(MORE: Richard Corliss reviews American Hustle)

Recently, Lois Lane got a chance to weigh in on what Wonder Woman’s presence may mean for the upcoming movie. While promoting her new film American Hustle, Amy Adams, who plays Lois, was asked (in an interview available on the site SuperHeroHype) whether she was interested in the next Man of Steel movie going in that direction with a Lois/Diana/Clark love triangle.

Her response, seen below, wasn’t exactly a ringing endorsement of the idea: “I hope that I can be involved with a woman on screen where we’re not in a love triangle,” she said. (For the record, the Jennifer Lawrence-Amy Adams relationship in American Hustle: basically a love triangle.)

Her desire for Wonder Woman and Lois Lane to team up rather than “cat-fighting” echoes a feminist critique of fiction that has made news in recent months: the Bechdel Test. In order for the movie to pass that test, it must have two female characters who have names and talk to each other about something other than a man. In other words, if Wonder Woman and Lois Lane discuss saving the world, that’s a pass; if they only discuss Superman (or never appear in the same scene), that’s a fail. Though the test has been criticized for oversimplifying the question of whether a film is sexist, it’s still the dominant mainstream standard for how to look at films through a feminist lens.

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But, though the persistence of love triangles as a plot device is unlikely to ever cease, Adams should take heart from the fact that Batman vs. Superman is a superhero movie. Though action films get a bad rap for being male-dominated, there are some stand-out examples from the genre. The large casts of the X-Men movies, for example, make it easier for even a movie with male leads to contain several well-rounded female characters; The Avengers also has multiple named female characters who don’t just talk about men (though the first The Avengers doesn’t quite pass the test, since Pepper Potts, Agent Hill and Black Widow don’t speak to each other). The first Man of Steel arguably passes too, for conversation between Faora and Lois.

And that’s not even getting into Bechdel Test superstars Catching Fire and Frozen — two box-office giants that, if they teach B vs. S filmmamer Zack Snyder anything, may help get Amy Adams what she wants.

(MORE: Media Sexism in 2013)

13 comments
RobVo
RobVo

No movie yet, but plenty of speculations. Amy commenting against a love triangle won't change much unless the movie creators decide against it.

JeanPaulMokuolu
JeanPaulMokuolu

great article. i just want a wonder woman cameo in this movie, then get goyer away from wonder woman. she needs her own movie.

peapers
peapers

The movie hasn't even started production yet and already were hearing from the political correctness police.

zaglossus
zaglossus

Another demonstration of the paucity of ideas in Hollywood: another comic book hero movie.

jdge439
jdge439

I already posted this, I dunno where it went. Wonder Woman(Diana), if the  writers have done there homework with the most successful recent version of the justice league, would know that Dian's people are forbidden from the world of men. The see no good in men. Which in turn, is exactly why when fighting baddies alongside supes, the flash, lantern, manhunter, and all the rest, she is drawn to Batman. A regular man, who doesnt like the world as he sees it, and does what he can to make a difference with only his witts. He shows her the world of men has a some good in it. Thats why it is shown that, even though he tries to push her away, she is constantly drawn to him. And he is to her, just wont show it.

jdge439
jdge439

Well, Its simple if the writers have watched any of the justice league at all that Bruce Timm produced. Although wonder woman and supes match each other on a physical level, Diane is interested in batman. The world of men is forbidden to her and her people, and to meet a regular man, who battles enemies along side her, with nothing but witts, is amazing to her, and shows her that the world of men is not all bad.

osaru.yo
osaru.yo

@jdge439 Not in the new 52. Superman makes out with wonder woman in that one. Seriously, comic continuity is a bitch. 

amyk_712
amyk_712

@jdge439 Well, that's almost solely the animated show. In the comics, Superman is matched to her much more frequently, and of course Steve Trevor even more than that. That doesn't mean they won't try pairing her with Batman in the films, but considering the animated show is basically THE only example of an attempted BMWW romance (with the exception of a very few comics), that is actually a very narrow interpretation of her character. Comparing 3 years of an animated TV show where she WAS interested in Batman doesn't exactly epitomize her character like 70 years of comics where she wasn't. 

RudeCherub
RudeCherub

@jdge439 The last place Goyer should look is the Timm-verse where the bat-god can dodge Omega beams.

JeanPaulMokuolu
JeanPaulMokuolu

@amyk_712 @jdge439 she should have one love interest and one love interest only. in her own movie, his name is steve trevor. she should be a cameo in this movie. bats supes and wondy need to be equals.