SHOULDA BEEN TITLED: WONDER WOMAN/SUPERGIRL: BIG BARDA RETURNS
I can watch Superman Batman Apocalypse over and over again. The only problem with this film that I have is literally the title. It is very misleading because it’s not about Batman or Superman; they are just incidental protagonists in this story, the action comes to them, starting with Kara (voiced by Summer Glau of Firefly fame) crash landing on Earth. From the opening scene, when Kara is in her birthday suit, the male gaze is questioned in this feature. A few workers catcall Kara, and one attempts to grab her, but she uses her super strength to crush his hand. Batman has to put her down by using Kryptonite he found at the landing site. Wonder Woman decides it’s in Kara’s best interested to be discipled by her and the Amazons. Clark/Superman, Kara’s cousin also from Krypton objects, but Batman persuades him its for the best. None of these are Kara’s choices; people are deciding for her. Darkseid the villainous god of Apokolips has decided he wants Kara as his leader of the Furies, a female band of warriors that lead his army to invaded planets, his honor guards (reads like a “third” world dictator” if you ask me).
Using trickery, Granny Goodness kidnaps Kara to Apokolips where Darkseid manipulates Kara into being one of his killers. Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman seek out Darkseid former Fury, Big Barda, who wants to live a normal, suburban life. But when given the chance for redemption, and vengeance against the tyranny of Darkseid, Barda agrees to travel with the Trinity to Apokolips to stop Darkseid, the Furies, and Kara.
Throughout this movies, the male heroes represent different types of male gazes. For Clark Kent/Superman, he’s the overprotective, chivalrous elder brother who thinks he knows what’s best for Kara. Batman, while a little xenophobic of her foreignness, is supportive of her being discipled by Wonder Woman in very much the male-feminist ally fashion. The construction workers and Darkseid desire nothing but the control of Kara’s body. It’s not until Kara accepts her responsibility to control her powers (her choices, her body) for the greater good as a hero that she is able to overcome Darkseid.