Watching the trailer for Thor: The Dark World that was released yesterday, I was struck by a sense of how annoyed I would be if my boyfriend went missing for an exceedingly long time, and then showed up only to port me to an alternate universe without even giving me time to let my kicky astronomy colleague Darcy know where I was going. And it got me thinking about what women are allowed to do—or at least what movie studios think audiences will be psyched to see women doing—in trailers for the action movies that will be released this year.
Thor: The Dark World: If you’re a lady in Asgard, you apparently get to be anxious, get kidnapped, and walk around tables. On the upside, you also get to be in battle, which is a great setting for having your hair whip artfully around your face.
Fast and Furious 6: Appear in black-and-white surveillance photos. Be counted among the crew when the gang gets back together. Hang out with The Rock in a professional capacity. Attend parties where they wear miniskirts. Hang from jeeps. Shoot guns. Specifically at Vin Diesel. Have fist-fights in subway stations.
Man of Steel: Kal-El’s mother gets to be pessimistic about her son’s chances on earth. A neighbor lady gets to be perceptive about his abilities. Faora gets to stand near General Zod, though it’s a blind-and-you’ll-miss-it appearance considering she’s supposed to be a significant villain. And in a rare exception, Lois Lane gets to talk about her reporting.