If you're anything like me, then you love progressive representation in movies, whether it's a good portrayal of a person of color, LGBTQA+ inclusion, complex female characters, or a groundbreaking expression of gender roles. Thankfully, all of these things have been witnessed in the most progressive moments in movies from 2017, so far. Which gives me hope, you guys. Slowly but surely, we're finally getting somewhere.
But while many of these moments are cause for celebration, there are others that still leave plenty of room for improvement. We have some way to go in being able to enjoy progressive characters and stories in mainstream movies — particularly without such inclusive storytelling being sensationalized in some way. At some point, hopefully all of these kinds of moments will become so normalized and accepted that they'll just be commonplace in cinema. No biggie. No need to use it for a headline.
For now, let's just enjoy the fact that cinematic content definitely appears to be improving in some way. Sure, it sometimes feels as though the industry is taking tiny steps when the rest of us are already striding. But for this year, at least, we have all of these movies moments to watch when we need to see some progression in action...
1Laura Challenging Gender Expectations In 'Logan'
The image of a young, traumatized girl fighting back against the very men who inflicted the trauma upon her was incredible to see. As a character, Laura challenged the idea that girls are innately sweet, frail, and weak.
2'The Lego Batman Movie's Gleeful Celebration Of Queerness
On top of including a portrayal of Robin that celebrated the character's long speculated queerness without ridiculing it, The Lego Batman Movie felt inclusive of LGBTQA+ issues. The idea of a chosen family, long seen as being a pillar of many LGBTQA+ communities, is celebrated as a support system for anyone who may feel "different," which is awesome in and of itself. But the movie also depicts that having two same-sex parents (Bruce Wayne and Batman for Dads?!) is just the absolute best, and my god is that amazing for a family movie to portray.
3The Victorious Finale Of 'Get Out'
When those police lights start flashing right at the moment that Chris is escaping the psychotic Armitage family with a trail of blood behind him, you automatically think the worst. But Get Out wonderfully subverted audience expectations when it's revealed that the lights are from Rod "T-S-Motherf*cking-A" Williams' airport security car. And he's here to save the day.
4When Wonder Woman Saved Steve's Life In 'Wonder Woman'
Chris Pine as the damsel in distress, and Gal Gadot as the spectacularly strong hero. It's the perfect subversion of tropes, and I'm so here for it.
5In Fact, That Entire Army Of Women In 'Wonder Women'
I mean, the only thing better than seeing one powerful woman is seeing a whole damn army of them.
6The Sex Positivity Of 'Wonder Woman'
Diana Prince's sexuality is shown as developing without the male gaze. As such, throughout we see Wonder Woman completely owning her sexuality and enjoying her exploration of it for nobody else's gratification but her own.
7Belle's Defiance Of Gender Expectations In 'Beauty And The Beast'
I'm sorry, but did that Disney Princess just wear riding boots, invent a washing machine, and teach young girls how to read against the objections of her small town? Yep. She went there. Belle was a feminist boss in Beauty And The Beast, and it made for a glorious change of pace for a mainstream Disney movie to take.
8LeFou's Short Same-Sex Dance In 'Beauty And The Beast'
The first of several small LGBTQA+ movie moments of 2017 that, I'll be honest, could and should have been expanded upon. But, still, it's a small step that will hopefully become a giant leap.
9The Casual Inclusion Of A Gay Married Couple In 'Alien: Covenant'
Speaking of which, while the gay moment(s) featured in Alien: Covenant was admittedly very thin (the couple in question are clearly affectionate in the prologue, released online before the movie hit theaters, but aren't during the movie), it was at least refreshing that the relationship wasn't sensationalized at all. I just wish that their relationship was made less subtle on screen.
10Ruth Refusing To Be A Victim In 'I Don't Feel At Home In This World Anymore'
We're all so used to seeing women being saved by men in movies that when we see a woman taking charge of her own fight, it feels exceptional. Ruth's actions may lead to extreme consequences, but at least she got some retribution.
11The Lack Of A Romantic Subplot In 'I Don't Feel At Home In This World Anymore'
Seriously. Ruth and Tony are the lead characters who enjoy a meet-cute based on taking action against other people, rather than romance. And not once during the movie do they almost kiss, or talk about their feelings, or get caught biting their lip at the other. Because it's 2017 and heterosexual men and women don't have to fall in love to enjoy a fulfilling relationship with one another.
12Gamora Putting Her Personal Needs Ahead Of A Romance With Star-Lord In 'Guardians Of The Galaxy, Vol. 2'
Though it's been obvious that there's something between the two characters since the first movie, Gamora knows that a romance with Star Lord isn't what she needs at this point. And she sticks to it. No matter how fine that man is (and sweet, holy mix tape, he is). It's refreshing to see.
13Bo Using His Self-Confidence To Achieve The Impossible In 'Sleight'
Though Sleight first debuted at Sundance in 2016, its wide release came in 2017, so it still counts. Overall, African-Americans are not very well represented in Fantasy or Science Fiction movies. So to see such a story starring African-American characters in Sleight was encouraging. Even more so when you consider that the lead character, Bo, basically made magic happen with the crucial power of believing in himself.
14The Revelation That Trini Could Be Having "Girlfriend Problems" In 'Power Rangers'
Again, it was a small moment, but with big implications. The LGBTQA+ acknowledgment in this Power Rangers moment was vital, but here's hoping that we actually get to see the character explore that side of her identity in the potential sequel.
And these are just some of the most progressive moments from the first half of 2017. Hopefully, we'll get to see a lot more forward-thinking moments in the movies that are still to come.