With any popular genre, there are a number of clichés to go along with it. Despite the fun of watching sequels, prequels and spinoffs, audiences often suffer the frustration of simply seeing their favorite franchise’s most iconic moments recycled ad nauseam. Whether its heroes diving away from a huge explosion or saving a damsel in distress, it’s only a matter of time before people start to get tired of the tropes. Jurassic World leaned hard into stereotypical damseling, relegating its star, Bryce Dallas Howard, to a decent amount of screen time fleeing from angry dinosaurs in fancy high heels. This stripping of agency has had many fans wondering why Jurassic World 2 would bother to include her.
There were many things about Jurassic World that led it to be such a huge hit – but Claire, the park’s operational manager played by Howard, may have been one of the least of them. While there was nothing wrong with the actress’ performance, there was much criticism from fans about how her character was portrayed. She often defaulted to the whims of the gallant dinosaur trainer, played by Chris Pratt (Guardians of the Galaxy). In era where strong feminist characters (and women in the real world) are becoming more empowered, her damseling felt out of place to many viewers. However, Jurassic World 2 director J.A. Bayona (A Monster Calls) assures fans that Howard’s character will come well-prepared for his turn at the wheel.
While promoting his most recent movie, Bayona discussed a number of elements about his impending work on the Jurassic World sequel. Birth.Movies.Death. reported the particularly revealing quote that “Claire doesn’t wear high heels in this movie.” It’s a somewhat inconsequential detail, but one that suggests her damseling days are in the past.
Details on the sequel are slim, but Bayona seems like a great choice for the helm. He has promised a “darker” sequel that deals with the issues animal abuse, and if Howard’s character has a more consequential role to play, it’s all the better. These creative choices could come as a solid change of pace to the tone that Colin Trevorrow brought to Jurassic World. Could the sequel be a better and smarter movie than fans are expecting?
Jurassic World 2 has a lot of responsibility on its shoulders, the least of which is the $1.7 billion box office of its predecessor. It remains to be seen if the film can bring the necessary goods to make a worthy and successful sequel to one of the most cherished franchises of all time. Luckily, it’s already exhibiting a number of promising elements and ensuring each lead character gets their due is definitely a step in the right direction.