Okay, so I wrote last year that Ruby Rose had been cast as Kate Kane, aka Batwoman, and from what I remember, I thought that cast Ruby as B-Dubs was honestly an exciting choice. Having her debut in the Arrowverse crossover event, Elseworlds, was a perfect way to tell a cool (I’m assuming) story while also acting as a backdoor pilot to generate interest in a potential Batwoman television show. but then four days ago, the CW released the first trailer for their upcoming Batwoman TV show and people are kind of, well, they’re reacting the way the internet always reacts. But could there be something to it this time? Are we being told that another show/movie is going to be a hit just because the protagonist is a woman? Allow me to break down some of the less finer points with this trailer.
The trailer starts by establishing the Crows Security Service, a paramilitary group of some kind that offers…security of some type. The guy standing at the end of the table, he’ll be important later.
Right now, Crows Security is providing…security for a public address from Gotham City Mayor Akins that I’m going to guess is all about Batman abandoning Gotham…? I don’t know, don’t think about it that much. I gotta be honest though, I’m digging the Bat-Signal just blaring in the sky at all times here.
Hey, it’s Wayne Tower from Batman Begins.
Here is our first look at Sophie Moore, played by Megan Tandy, a Crows Security agent who seemingly drew the short star and had to pull guard on the roof. Trust me, roof security is not fun.
Mostly because you run into fools in silly masks. Seriously, whoever Sophie, she’s got more self control than I do, because if I see a creepy guy wearing a bunny mask (or just any mask really), I’m out. Naturally, Sophie gives chase and is rendered unconscious. Uh-oh she must be bait for someone special.
Which leads us to our main villain of at least the first episode, Alice, played by…wait, that’s Dinah Lance (Rachel Skarsten) from Birds of Prey. How dare you CW, trying to pull a fast one on me.
This leads us to the introduction of our hero, Kate Kane, played by Ruby Rose, aka Batwoman. Kate is seemingly back in town just in time for her former girlfriend to be kidnapped.
One sepia-toned flashback later and we learn that Kate and Sophie were something of an item back in there Army days. In the comics, Kate was kicked out of the military for engaging in a relationship with a fellow female soldier while training/studying at West Point military academy. The TV show seems to be following suit and the trailer establishes this well.
Next we see a flurry of shots of Kate kicking the crap out of what I can only assume is Alice’s henchmen.
Tea time with Alice (as Kate is now kidnapped) leads me to believe that she is supposed to be the female version of classic Batman villain Mad Hatter. I don’t really see why she couldn’t just be the Mad Hatter (or why she’s playing this character like the Joker), or why we couldn’t just get a man to play the Mad Hatter. Gender swapping is not creative, but what do I know, I don’t make TV shows.
Remember the guy at from the first picture? That was Jacob Kane, head of Crows Security and Kate Kane’s father. Jacob, played by Dougray Scott(!), obviously does not want his daughter interfering with the Crows Security investigation and recovery of one of their lost assets.
And Kate is seemingly understanding of her father’s stance. It’s so great to see a father and daughter not arguing about one needing to do something and that the other just doesn’t understand. This sets up the classic comic book trope of the protagonist to create an alter-ego to protect the city. While Kate could be breaking her father’s trust, she can honor his request by operating as Batwoman. I gotta be honest, so far, I’m liking what I’m seeing. Kate seems to be a person capable of heroism, and now she’s been given the motivation to suit up and take on crime.
Unfortunately, as soon as we’re introduced to Camrus Johnson’s Luke Fox, the trailer begins to unravel.
Kate is next seen breaking into Wayne Manor, and eventually the Bat-Cave, as we find out that Kate is cousins with Bruce Wayne. This is all fine, even if it kind of sullies the comic book origin, because a television show should be different. If it’s not, what’s the point of adaptation?
So around two minutes in is where the trailer starts to lose people. Kate takes one look at the batsuit, a suit that has ridiculously been billed as “literal perfection”, and says it will be perfect once it fits a woman. We’ll come back to this later.
So we finally get some shots of Ruby Rose as Batwoman, in action, and I have to say, this suit looks awesome, despite a terrible song bringing down the mood.
And Ruby looks awesome in it. Sure, it’s not the suit we’re used to when regarding Batwoman, but we’ll get there. Not to trample on the hard work it takes to make these shows, and by extension, these suits, but I kind of prefer this look to the classic look for Batwoman we’ll get later.
Yay Sophie’s alive.
“I’m not about to let a man take credit for a woman’s work”
And this is where most people that were on the fence about this show, either stick with it or leave it behind. Kate Kane becomes Batwoman because Batman has mysteriously left Gotham, and the city needs a Bat. The Bat is a symbol to the people that they will be safe. A symbol that sends a message to the cowardly and superstitious lot. A symbol that is bigger than who is under the cowl. Remember when I mentioned Batman Begins, the whole movie could be boiled down to a single line;
“It’s not who I am underneath, but what I do, that defines me.”
The CW seems to be banking hard on the whole “woman selling a superhero show” idea. Like Captain Marvel before it, it’s refusing to give credit when credit is due by forgetting the numerous female-driven superhero shows and movies that have gone on to inspire both girls and boys in the years since.
Shows like Jessica Jones, Agent Carter, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, The Bionic Woman and the CW’s own Supergirl. Batwoman, and the CW, should treat the audience with a bit more respect by not stooping as low as making the presence of a woman a literal selling point. This trailer went from cool and interesting, to cringy and groan inducing at best. Perhaps the show will win fans over, but for right now, it has clearly stumbled out of the gate. Plus, if it’s going for a female empowerment message, that’s cool, but don’t try to accomplish it by making your female lead steal a guys stuff and call it her own. Let the viewers know that Kate is able to take on the symbol of the Bat and make it her own. Not because it’s time for a woman to be in the spotlight, but because it’s the right thing to do, and she is capable of doing it.