It wasn’t until Wednesday that I realised I’ve been waiting over 50 years to see a woman save the world.
And then, of course, four come along together. Isn’t that always the way?
Ghostbusters may not be the best film ever made, but it certainly made me feel good to see a bunch of women take down the baddies at long last. It made me wonder how many times I’ve seen men save the day, the world, the planet, even the universe? Soooo many tiiiiimes. In everything from the black and white, terminally dull Westerns that were all that was on telly outside children’s TV times when I was a child, to the current glut of superhero franchises, men are saving us from deadly danger on a daily basis, with monotonous, predictable regularity.
It was just really, really nice to see things the other way round. The fact that there were cameo roles for the original male Ghostbusters (and Signourney Weaver, who had the boring part of hapless heroine last time and is now reincarnated as a scientist) must mean there were no hard feelings from the original team. The role of Kevin, the incredibly dumb but gorgeous secretary, was a cute bit of reverse sexism. The actor, Chris Hemsworth, actually plays Thor in his own superhero series, and his part in this film was saved from snide cliche by being simply hilarious.
And, it may not be the politically correct thing to say, but the fact that the women don’t always present an overwhelmingly competent facade meant that the triumphant ending occasionally seems in doubt – which adds hugely to the suspense. It’s a feeling of peril that you don’t get in male superhero films, where it’s all too predictable that good will triumph, no matter how insuperable the odds. After all, in Ghostbusters, the women’s weapons are pretty unpredictable, the science is incomprehensible and, in a plot neatly echoing the real life of the rebooted film, they are surrounded by haters at every turn. The final result is all the more resoundingly satisfying as a result.
All six of us went (which is unusual in itself – very few outing ideas get a thumbs-up from a 20-year-old girl and a nine-year-old boy) and all six of us loved it. Most importantly, to the nine-year-old boy, it now won’t seem unusual when other women save the planet in other films. Assuming all those haters out there ever let another Genderbusters get made.