Jennifer Lawrence is perhaps the most important woman in Hollywood history. But don’t take my word for it – Lawrence herself has assured us of this, declaring herself the very first female action hero ever to lead a movie in an interview with Variety – actually, more of a conversation with Viola Davis hosted by Variety. When Variety posted this on Twitter, it received such an avalanche of mockery that they deleted the tweet, but you can see a screenshot below the video because, like diamonds, the internet is forever.
Woke Jennifer Lawrence: “When I was doing Hunger Games, nobody had ever put a woman in the lead of an action movie."
— Drew Hernandez (@DrewHLive) December 7, 2022
It’s almost pointless to get into why this is stupid, how women have led movies like this since even before Sigourney Weaver tussled with a dual-mouthed monster from outer space (but it’s also fun, so here we go). 1954’s Johnny Guitar was not about Johnny Guitar; it was about Joan Crawford’s character, who was the protagonist, the figure ideologically opposed by the villain, and the one who did the shooting. Let’s even discount Sarah Connor; as great as she is, Arnold is the star of those movies. Aside from the two already mentioned, you’ve still got every version of La Femme Nikita, The Quick and the Dead, Kill Bill, every Blaxploitation movie starring Pam Grier (Pam Grier was doing Death Wish before Death Wish!), Barb Wire (yep, Pamela Anderson got there before you, Jen), Tank Girl, Barbarella, Fair Game (Cindy Crawford, not Naomi Watts), Salt, Aeon Flux, Ultraviolet, and a personal favorite at Christmastime, The Long Kiss Goodnight. (Charlie Baltimore would kick the ass of Katniss Evergreen or whatever her name is all over that forest and single-handedly overthrow the evil government while she was at it.)
Oh, did she just mean franchises? In that case, the Resident Evil series, the Underworld series, the Tomb Raider series, and the Charlie’s Angels movies back when they were allowed to be fun all started before The Hunger Games. And that’s not getting into television, the home of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Alias, Dark Angel, Covert Affairs, the original Charlie’s Angels, The Avengers (spies, not superheroes), two more versions of La Femme Nikita, and more lady cop shows than you can shake a stick at.
But none of that matters because Jennifer Lawrence needs to feel important, or at least to sell herself that way. That’s what a lot of this comes down to; everyone from the actors to the studios wants to sell their movies as landmarks in cultural history. How many times is the next female or black superhero going to be called groundbreaking and be accompanied by a bunch of virtue signalers exclaiming, “Finally!” This has become perhaps the funniest of them all, but what’s the release date for the next Disney movie to feature the company’s newest first gay character? I think a lot of this self-congratulating is to mask that most of these movies aren’t very good. How many of those “first-gay-character” Disney movies sucked? Is it a secret why Captain Marvel had to lean on how “important” it was?
In Jennifer Lawrence’s case, it’s to combat the notion that she’s not a big deal anymore. Hollywood did its damndest to make her a thing (which makes her woe-is-me whining about Hollywood trying to keep her down both laughable and ungrateful), including showering her with awards and nominations she didn’t deserve. (How did she get nominated for the outstanding American Hustle but not Amy Adams?) But her movies haven’t been doing that well of late. Mother underperformed, Red Sparrow barely made its money back, if it even did (Deadline hilariously said that it would have been more successful if it didn’t have to pay her $20 million – remember when she was pissing and moaning about appearing in American Hustle for about fifteen minutes and not making as much as Christian Bale, who was in almost every scene?), and her last two films went to streaming after five-minute theatrical releases to qualify them for awards. Much like Quentin Tarantino suggested about the Marvel heroes, if she’s not in a Hunger Games or X-Men movie, she’s not a draw.
But that’s not gonna stop simps from simping:
A lot of white dudes mansplaining to Jennifer Lawrence who was the first female action hero.
— Holden (@Holden114) December 7, 2022
She's a female action hero. I think she knows more about female action heroes than you. It's like walking up to Marie Curie to explain chemistry. https://t.co/RtuL9PyLzI
— Holden (@Holden114) December 7, 2022
I hope she sees this, bro.