THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE PERKY
In this day and age, with superheroes and superheroines flying, jumping and kicking their way across the big and little screens, the place of a woman within this world primarily dominated by men is important. While Iron Man is completely sealed in a suit of asexual armor, the Black Widow wears a skin tight outfit and her "assests" are a major part of her persona. Iron Man gets a Hulk-Buster suit that every 8 year old wants to wear to school and the poor Black Widow can't even get one single action figure. When Continuity was involved with the Bucky O'Hare toy line, the pilot Jenny (a beautiful white anthropomorphized cat woman) was not given her own action figure because "she would never sell". Let it be said that Jenny was probably the most important and powerful character in the crew and her actions saved everyone on multiple occasions. These characters (Jenny and the Black Widow) just can't seem to get a break even though teenage (and older) males oggle and sweat when they see them.
So the question becomes, what is the role of women in superhero fiction? In our "real" life, women are still treated as sex objects or monsters. Violence against women is a major issue, the statistics skewed heavily by a male perspective. Women aren't paid as much or treated the same. Planned Parenthood is on the chopping block financially for their "Godless" stance towards the right for women to control their own bodies. The hypocracy and disparity are shocking. I like to believe there is hope...that the daughters of the world might have a heroine to look up to and imagine they could be just like her. A stalwart, moralistic woman who fights for Truth and Justice. Someone like...maybe...Superman. (At least how he should be and not the dark, bizzaro creature that exists now...who destroys an entire city in a fight that ends with Kal El, the last son of Krypton, perhaps the greatest hero these past two centuries have produced, snapping his enemy's neck. For shame, Warner Bros. For shame.) Perhaps we could restart this once great legacy with a strong, perky, intelligent woman with all the same powers. Perhaps there is still a glimmer of hope. The Maid of Steel (we're gonna have to work on that one, right?), the last daughter of Argos, Kara Zor-El...Supergirl!
That said, the show certainly has some issues but the overall feeling is positive and uplifting. The dialogue needs a slight tightening...the costume scene is so good, I just wish there was a great line to be found in it. "You gotta wear the cape..." Or "You've got the "S", girl...use it! And it's Totes Adorbs," "Huh," she asks. "You know, totally adorable."
Maybe she could say, "I wear it to honor my family name...for my mother, my father and for the House of El." Then the guys says, "Yeah, okay...but it makes you look like the big guy! Not a bad thing." Anyway, I'm getting carried away. The skirt is the right length and the cape is not too long. In the end, she's pretty but competent-looking. Strong and feminine. The casting was great. Jimmy Olsen may not be the freckled kid I grew up with, but the actor is tall, strong and handsome. A great potential love interest. Calista Flockhart is suitably hatable but she is the opposite of Kara. And she's successful, powerful and inside she doesn't want to shut down the newspaper. She's secretly happy Supergirl saved the paper and all those jobs. A woman but a slightly different kind.
The action is good and strong. The effects aren't clunky and her flying feels quite real. Her comment about the freedom of flight was really nice. She forgot how wonderful it was. The sound track has hints of the John William's classic work and it brings up the legend that is inherent in the Superman mythos. It's early in the show so she's not overwhelmingly powerful and compotent yet, but she's tough and is doing the right thing. Is it her fault all these criminals are here on Earth? Nope. But she's going to do everything in her power to make things right. Unlike her movie cousin, she feels that she DOES owe this planet and its people something. Her loyalty. Her sense of right and wrong. Of Justice.
I'm a hard-core comic fan who loves the first Superman movie, the Fleisher cartoons (damn, they were good) and the John Williams' Superman theme music is in my workout mix. (It's the greatest superhero music ever written, BTW.) However, if you asked me which character most embodies the tenents of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster's character...Kara Zor-El is the easy choice. I should also point out that maybe I missed it, but Otto Binder and Al Plastino should get some credit since they created Supergirl. C'mon, Warner Bros...give the boys their due credit, yo!
When the world is changing and people think it's okay to change our morality...to allow our government to listen and record all our phone calls and e-mails and texts without a warrant...to send young men and women into harm's way for reasons unknown...to elect businessmen to office because they are the only ones telling the truth...THAT'S when we need our heroes, the pillars of morality and truth, the most. NOW is the time when Superman should ALWAYS do the right thing.
Now if we can just get Streaky the supercat, in there somewhere....