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)