A report suggests the DC motion pictures first LGBT character will be Ewan McGregor’s take on Roman Sionis A.K.A the Black Mask. The antagonist of the upcoming Birds of Prey film, featuring Margot Robbie reprising her role as Harley Quinn, will not explicitly “come out,” according to a vaguely-sourced report. Instead, it seems that Black Mask will have “palpable” sexual tension with Victor Zsasz, another Batman rogue. The site also suggests that Rosie Perez’s Detective Renee Montoya, an out lesbian in the comics, will maintain that characterization for the film. Also, Quinn is bisexual (in the comics) being tied to Poison Ivy, something the animated DC universe series will explore (some of which was discussed in the DC universe Comic-Con panels). Take this report with an entire pillar of salt, however, because the source is notorious for publishing “insider reports” that are pure fantasy. Still, it’s affordable that DC motion pictures first LGBT character may be in this film.
The reaction Of Some ‘Fans’ Is Why This Matters
In a world where all things were equal, none of this would matter beyond whether there’d be a love story B (or C) plot in the film or not. Yet, outside of an unnamed character in Avengers: Endgame, there has never been an openly-gay superhero (or super-villain) character on the big screen. In today’s era especially, the representation of historically-oppressed demographics is an crucial thing for storytellers to consider. These films have a large reach and will, as Richard Donner’s Superman and Tim Burton’s Batman before the, have a long shelf-life. So, the inclusion of female, ethnic, and LGBT+ characters is crucial to ensuring that every group that exists in our real world is felt in the fictional world of these films. The other reason this is crucial is that comic books were incubators for so-called “social justice” messages considering that the dawn of the Silver Age and before.
Captain America fought Nazis. The X-Men are a thinly veiled allegory against bigotry and prejudice against those who are “different” and seem “scary” to a traditionalist majority. Characters like Black Panther or series like green Arrow and green lantern delved into real-world political issues. considering that the main audience for these books, at the time, are children, this was a sneaky way to get progressive political messages past traditionalist parents and the restrictive Comics Code Authority. So, when angry “fans” complain about the live-action media continuing this tradition (as seen in the Batwoman trailer backlash), it shows that maybe the subtle messages of tolerance found in comics’ pages were maybe too subtle. Yet, the other purpose of these films is to make money, and studio executives try to avoid dispute that might affect the bottom line. Still, it’s fair to ask the question if DC motion pictures first LGBT character is being “forced” in a way that’s unnatural.
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DC motion pictures first LGBT character needs To Be Handled Carefully
Before we continue, we need to note that lots of people against inclusivity in this type of media use the argument that it’s “forced” and not natural to the story. While their justifications may be just south of ludicrous, proponents for the first gay character in DC films share this concern. GLAAD, an American civil rights organization advocating for the rights of LGBT+ people, share this worry because they want to make sure that LGBT+ characters are fully-formed in their own right. They introduced the Vito Russo test, named after their co-founder, to help guide storytellers.
The Vito Russo Test
The film consists of an identifiably LGBT+ character.
This character is not solely defined by the fact that they are LGBT+
This character need to be significant enough that their removal would substantially affect the plot or narrative of the story.
So, whether it’s Black Mask, Montoya, or just Quinn herself, the DC motion pictures first LGBT character would pass this test. Of course, because of the way these issues are discussed in the partisan political media, that likely won’t matter. Those against visibility for LGBT+ people will argue that it’s “social justice” shoehorned into a motion picture to shove a certain “agenda” in their faces. Those for a lot more visibility for LGBT+ would want the character’s sexuality to be explored more, rather than be just another character detail. (And they also certainly want to see LGBT+ heroes lead their own films.) When enjoyment becomes a battleground for a political discussion, the result often leaves lots of unsatisfied. However, the real feat will be how the characters play in the story itself.
The story Is The Thing
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Whoever the first DC motion pictures LGBT+ character will be, if they motion picture they are in is poorly carried out it won’t really matter. even worse, short-sighted studio executives could think the inclusion of a gay or bisexual character is “the reason” the motion picture failed. Yet, artists don’t just make art for the people who will see it in the first ten weeks of its existence. When the dust settles around the political clickbait, if the story resonates and the characters feel real, the details about them will also feel like they simply belong there. Tests like the Vito Russo test or the Bechdel test are not the utmost determination of what art is “good” or “bad” from a social justice context. rather they are simple, basic questions asked to storytellers that are indicated to make them recognize how they are utilizing their characters.
One-dimensional characters never enrich a story. They only devalue the entire effort. So, the filmmakers and actors need to focus on making sure they story they tell is a worthy one. The first film featuring Robbie’s Quinn, suicide Squad, was a financial success (and won an Oscar!). However, only the most devoted DC fans find the motion picture satisfying or worth a rewatch. That’s the real pitfall to avoid. including LGBT+ characters is important, because it better reflects the real world these modern myths are indicated to emulate. and for future fans of these movies, their inclusion will not be jarring or even controversial. This hang-up is special to this time in history, and there is no better way to deliver messages about social issues than through comic-style stories, just like in the past.
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