In February of 1967, Batman was in trouble. Just one year earlier, the ABC series had been the biggest hit on TV, a cultural phenomenon that included a big-screen movie version. But things changed fast in the late ’60s, and the new youth movement soon had more socially relevant interests than men in costumes. So the show’s ratings fell hard. To save it, Batman producers had to come up with something hot for its third season, and they did — Batgirl. Portrayed by sultry starlet Yvonne Craig in a body-contoured high-heeled outfit, she added new excitement for kids and their dads — until the gravity of the times proved too heavy for fantasy heroes. Now entertainment history repeats itself, only with stupider producers. Their solution for the decline in comic-book movie interest? Batgirl. But a woke Batgirl, resulting in maybe the biggest film disaster of all time.
Last week, Warner Bros. stunned the film industry and the world by announcing it would bury its nearly completed almost $100-million production of Batgirl where it will never see the light of screen — big or small. Generally, motion pictures deemed too weak for theatrical release always played on television, so the studios could recover at least a fraction of their cost and perhaps gain the film a few defenders. Batgirl won’t even rate that ignominy. The total erasure of such a monumental project is a Hollywood first.
Left-wing media excuses are pouring out, with Variety out the gate citing an economic motive: “‘Batgirl’ found itself on the bad end of that decision, apparently neither big enough to feel worthy of a major theatrical release nor small enough to make economic sense in an increasingly cutthroat streaming landscape.” Of course, this doesn’t explain why Warner Bros. would rather take a full loss on a basically dead film rather than recoup a little money and goodwill by streaming it.
Everyone outside the liberal bubble knows the real reason for Batgirl’s implosion. Warner Bros. got woke and went broke. They checked every box required for modern industry benediction: female action heroine thrashing much larger men, minority actor cast as an established white character (double threat Leslie Grace, a nonwhite Latina), LGBTQ-plus representation (double threat Ivory Aquino, a trans actor as a trans character), minority director (double threats Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, of Moroccan descent).
None of these accomplishments is of any interest to the young male audience comic-book movies must attract. They may have had some passing interest in a DC Comics supporting character mostly because she’s sexy in the comic books. But sexiness — even the onscreen acknowledgment of it — is ideologically unacceptable in modern comic-book cinema, something to do with “the male gaze.” The filmmakers put political correctness above box-office potential and paid the ultimate price.
It’s a pity because Batgirl star Leslie Grace (In the Heights) is very beautiful and physically impressive, like Yvonne Craig, Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow), and Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman). The foolish filmmakers neutralized this singular advantage by draping her in a costume that resembles a blue hazmat suit complete with laced clodhopper boots. They turned Batgirl into just another ridiculous male-bashing action heroine minus the appeal of the original character. Comic-book authority Jacob Airey both concurs and defends Grace.
“It’s not her fault,” he explained in his latest podcast (6:15). “When somebody approaches you and they say, ‘Hey, would you like to play Batgirl?’, she’s not thinking, ‘Oh, it’s just some way for them to check a woke box on Twitter.’ … She’s like, ‘Yeah, I’m gonna get to play Batgirl!’ But of course she does not resemble Barbara Gordon (Batgirl’s secret identity) in any way, shape, or form from the comics, from the source material. So, of course, people were upset about this. But they kept trucking along, ‘cause these companies never learn.”
This time they just might get a clue since Batgirl is now literally unwatchable.
I have an idea why Netflix canceled the young adult lesbian vampire love story drama, First Kill. It’s a young adult lesbian vampire love story drama — made 17 years after Stephenie Meyer popularized the teen vampire romance genre with Twilight and then countless book and TV imitations exhausted it. Judging from the tiresome trailer, the series had no new blood to add.
The Romeo and Juliet angle between a vampire from a family of vampires and a human from a family of vampire hunters is a concept introduced in Bram Stoker’s novel, Dracula, only without the most horrifying yet fascinating element — corruption. Dracula corrupts vampire hunter Jonathan Harker’s wife Mina and uses her against him and his crew. Later variations on the classic — beginning with the hit Broadway play, Dracula, starring Frank Langella, and the inferior 1979 film version made the Dracula-Mina relationship more romantic and feminist. Once you start changing vampires from undead hypnotic ghouls — and vampire women from irresistible seductresses who lure men willingly to their doom — into guilt-ridden sensitive Ann Rice-type simps, there’s very little appeal. Stephenie Meyer tapped that vein for a while but it has obviously run dry.
The dullest aspect of First Kill is the lesbianism. The protagonists are two girls, one of them black. If the protagonists were a straight white boy and white girl, now that would be a total shock. So there will be no season two of the series. But at least people can watch season one. Nobody will be able to see Batgirl.