There's a regular editorial over at CBR called "She has no head" where they lament over how women are treated in various media forays. I love reading it when it's up. It's always made some very interesting and valid points.
This time it's a little more entertaining for me. Reading it, can you tell why?
There are some great points made, especially about Firestar's potential as a feature film which I entirely agree with. Sony, if you do have the rights, look into updating and using her Spider-man and his Amazing Friends animated origin tale. Of course with some tweaks to circumvent the mutant movie rights issue, but that shouldn't be too difficult with the right catalyst in place from the initial harassment that propels the rest of her animated origin tale.
The editorial gets a little off beat with some points. Supergirl to many might be considered a success, but I'm biased. Outside of Batman and Superman it was one of my first forays into the super hero world as a kid. Thanks to TNT late night movies back in the 80s I managed to see it while impressionable where it influenced my preference for her as a character over Superman. I've been hooked on it ever since and rewatch it every couple of years. (Might actually watch it again tonight now too!) It's also thanks to those same late night TNT movies that I got my addiction to Godzilla movies and also how I saw the cult-hit film The Lost Boys.
It brings up a very valid point though in the form of femme-fatale stories. This is something that an X-23 movie needs to combat against slightly. Thankfully enough, her origin tale does just that. It's more focused on personal growth and family than it is on the fact she's a killer. In fact, it raises questions that should be asked about nature vs nurture. It reflects aspects of broken homes. It has elements of triumphing over the crappy circumstances life throws at you. The symbolism it carries is quite deep and well rounded across the board to cover many of the societal ills that are prevalent across the world. It's a loaded metaphor. This is why you can't exactly shoe-horn her into a single trope or off beat phrase like "another assassin woman movie?" She's more than that. It's a story that deals in child abuse, refusal to become an abuser like them, hues of human trafficking, genetic science used for unethical actions, the turning point of enough is enough to save a child, and the list goes on. It's a story of love, a sistah-mance if you will instead of a bromance. It's a story of helping a family come together. It's a story of not letting what's happened to you change who you are and preventing you from helping others. It's a story that covers quite a lot of bases which is what makes it work on screen so beautifully. Most of X-23's outings in the comic world carry these metaphors and more. Metaphors of personal strength and self-discovery. Even in NYX, where she's completely lost due to her grief from the origin tales, we see that spark of hope re-ignite in her as she protects her new friends.
X-23's story isn't one of being a femme-fatale, it's one of being a hero even without the colorful costume or the headlines from being overt in the press. It's a tale of saving people and protecting your family. It's a tale of escaping a toxic place. It's a tale of helping others. It's a story that's a universal constant in what it conveys and the messages it covers.
But I will concede that finding the best title could be difficult. It's a fine line of walking the recognizability and allowing her to stand on her own two feet. A good film is a good film, and by being tied into the X-Men franchise it does allow for that initial spark of interest. It would be remiss not to dive into the Wolverine aspects though, as it does present another tangible metaphor. That of a father who never knew he had a kid, and that does play well to audiences as we've seen in many dramedies over the years. Like I said, X-23 is a loaded metaphor that covers a wide array of topics, and that's exactly what makes a proper adaptation that maintains the spirit of it and done well(cannot stress this enough, if you strip away the soul of her in the process, the movie will be garbage!) complete artwork of the likes that makes film an art form.