on the impossibility of a female gaze: Richard Corliss on ‘Immortals’

Now, I ask you, when you are presented with a movie — such as Immortals — that invites the viewer to gaze upon this:
Luke Evans in Immortals

And this:

Henry Cavill in Immortals
And this:

Kellan Lutz in Immortals

What is the first thing that pops to mind? Might it be, Wow, women are gonna love this movie! Not if you’re Richard Corliss in Time magazine (all emphasis mine):

[T]he movie is a feast for guys only:

What? Really? Do you mean for the small percentage of the male population that is gay? Surely that can’t be the case. Can it?

a Grand Theft Mytho video game in 3-D, apotheosizing the exploits of men who are their own gods, weapons and sex objects.

Wait: are you saying that Immortals wants to turn straight men gay? Or that even straight men are really kinda gay, too?

But there are female gods in Immortals, too. Do they somehow represent a kind of human being different from men for whom these female gods are “their own”? Like, you know, women? Might some of those other sorts of people be watching the movie? Or do the female gods belong to the men, too?

Not since 300 have so many well-sculpted men run around topless;

Hoorah! Gosh, it’s awfully nice of Hollywood to give us gals some eye candy once in a while…

watching Immortals is like walking into the shower room at the Greenwich Village Equinox.

…ah, you mean Greenwich Village = gay gay gay. Why couldn’t it be like walking into a naughty horny woman’s fantasy? Does the possibilty simply not exist?

I think, in the minds of many men, the possibility indeed simply does not exist. They’re so used to a male perspective being catered to all the damn time and every-damn-where that they cannot conceive of even the existence of another perspective, never mind being able to see through it, if only for a moment. For these men — be they gay or straight — women are far more alien than a guy who doesn’t share a sexual orientation.

Cavill, who was a finalist to play James Bond (Daniel Craig got the job), Batman (Christian Bale), Twilight’s Edward (Robert Pattinson) and Superman (Brandon Routh), and will finally play the reporter from Krypton in Snyder’s Man of Steel, flexes his biceps more vigorously than his acting instrument. Zeus, Luke Evans (Aramis in the latest version of The Three Musketeers), and the movie’s other Olympians are a generation or two younger than Olivier and his veteran colleagues in the 1981 Clash. Their smooth chests, puffed up like soufflés, are the male equivalent of the bosoms sported by babes in the soft-core sex films that air late at night on Cinemax,

So, Corliss does see sexualized male bodies. But he fails to see for whose oogling pleasure they might be sexualized.

between the Joel Stein funny-interview segments.

If Corliss can take a moment for a completely unconnected commercial for his fellow Time contributor, I can take a moment to say, Really? WTF?

(Heterosexuals must make do with the brief, stately consummation of the Theseus-Phaedra romance.)

Uh, no. Heterosexual women have been enjoying the movie very much all along, thank you very much.

Of course, Corliss has earlier in his review dismissed the notion of anyone other than men checking out Immortals because of the “squeamishness of the traditional female audience.” Which is worth its own separate takedown. But if one wants to talk about “traditional” femininity, one could look at Immortals from this perspective: It is always supposed that women are better able to enjoy stories about men than vice versa, and that women will accompany men to movies they might not otherwise desire to see — that pesky squeamishness getting in the way — just to be with their guy. So even if this movie is “for men,” the likelihood that women will be watching is not remote.

I suppose all us squeamish women are covering our eyes at the terrible spectacle of Luke Evans’ nipples, too.

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