Please stop thinking you need to add unnecessary romantic subplots to your movies in order to get women to watch. I promise, that’s the last thing we want.
When I went to see "Thor: The Dark World" in theaters, I was ready to see Thor and Loki fight it out and eventually team up for the greater good. I laughed at Captain America’s brief cameo and cried when Loki “died,” but the movie was considerably worse than my admittedly high expectations. I knew Jane Foster would be important to the plot, but what I didn’t expect was the superhero action movie to essentially be more of a romance movie. The focus on Thor and Jane’s relationship throughout the movie was overwhelming and entirely unnecessary. Even the movie poster puts more emphasis on Thor and Jane than the villain and hero. I wanted to hear explosions and fighting and the whoosh of Mjolnir flying through different dimensions, not Thor and Jane swooning over each other.
Natasha Romanoff is incredible. She has overcome so many obstacles throughout her life and made a powerful name for herself in the Avengers crew. She and Clint have an unbreakable bond and her friendship with Steve is the greatest pairing since peanut butter and jelly. The last thing we needed was to see her break down over Bruce Banner. Sure, Bruce is an interesting character and we love learning more about Nat, but she’s a strong female character who has been babied down by getting wrapped up in an unnecessary love story.
"Guardians of the Galaxy" is arguably the best Marvel movie yet. It received a 91-percent rating from Rotten Tomatoes (making it the third best Marvel movie according to Rotten Tomatoes, after "Iron Man" and "The Avengers") and earned rave reviews from critics everywhere. Not only is Peter Quill a hilarious hero, but -- get this -- there's no love story. There were a few attempts at romance from Peter to Gamora but she shoots him down every time.
Ryan Reynolds, AKA Wade Wilson, AKA Deadpool, has spoken up for women who love a good superhero movie. In an interview with a German radio station, Reynolds said, “I think it’s funny that the studios go, ‘Oh, how are we going to market this movie to women? You know, we have to market the romantic angle.’ And it’s sort of like, well, no. Women love […] superhero movies. Clearly, they go to these movies. It’s sort of funny that the studios are sometimes the last to know that.” Fun fact for all the studios out there: if women wanted to watch a love story, we’d go see a romantic comedy, not a superhero movie that is clearly focused on action and adventure. Listen to Ryan Reynolds.
In some cases, the love story is not only necessary, but actually well done. "Deadpool" needed the love story to tie everything together. Wade probably would’ve gone on a murder spree to find a cure for his ugliness even if Vanessa wasn’t involved, so keeping their romance on the back burner didn’t ruin the story. "Iron Man 3" needed Tony and Pepper’s love story, but it wasn’t overwhelming and it kept the plot moving. Tony and Pepper didn’t act lovey-dovey during the movie and Pepper was still a strong female character.
Is it possible to have a superhero movie with a well-done love story? Sure. Is it possible to have a plot-driven superhero movie without a love story? Absolutely. So for the love of women (and men) everywhere, stop throwing unnecessary romantic subplots in your movies. We want to see fight scenes, (villain) death scenes, Captain America flexing more than necessary and women in powerful roles who aren't dumbed down by men.