The past year in Hollywood has been marked by a number of absurd debacles around female characters in film. While their number only slightly increased, suddenly there was outrage everywhere over the idea that a woman could play a similar role to a man, or helm a blockbuster movie. No one wants to see women fight, they said. Women aren't funny, they said. Hollywood has just fallen prey to the "feminist agenda," or whatever that means.
Thankfully, it seems like the box office performances of movies such as Rogue One are finally starting to pay off, proving that a movie doesn't necessarily need a muscular man in the middle of the poster to sell. Though Marvel is still taking way too long to give Black Widow the movie it deserves, #DC is releasing their first female-led superhero movie with Wonder Woman, set to release in June 2017. And that's not because of some kind of quota-driven motivation, but simply because #WonderWoman is an awesome comic book character whose turn on the big screen was long overdue.
'She's Just Going To Be Wonder Woman'
In an interview with \Film, Wonder Woman director #PattyJenkins discussed her approach to the iconic character, and what made her truly powerful. Spoilers: Wonder Woman doesn't have a hidden feminist agenda — she's a badass character, period, and she's way past having to prove that:
"I went into saying 'She's my Superman.' She can't be dark and angry and nasty. I kept seeing that female heroes always had to be some alt character. They couldn't just be the main lead. They had to be made more interesting somehow. And I was like, no, no, no, no, no. Not her. She's just going to be Wonder Woman. She's Wonder Woman. I love Wonder Woman. Let her be."
Jenkins argues that we shouldn't even be focusing on the fact that she's a woman, but on the qualities that have made her so popular in her 75-year comic book run: Her perseverance and her belief in love and the good nature of people:
"[...] Why can't everybody see that it doesn't matter if it's about a dog or a woman or a person from another country, it's about the story you're telling. We've told universal stories about different things. I think people were much more nervous about that than they are now. It's ironic that you could make an animated film about a dog as a universal character, but God forbid it be a human being…"
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In fact, Wonder Woman should — let's hope it will — open more than a few pairs of eyes to the absurdity of questioning a woman's ability to fight:
"She has no feminist agenda at all. It never occurred to her that anybody would be [...] She can never be lecturing and she can never be scolding. Because she just walks out like, 'What's going on? Why would this be happening? Why are you acting like that? What's the problem?' Which is such a funnier way to look at it and talk about it. Like, 'That's absurd! Why wouldn't I fight.' So we had fun with that part of it."
Steve Trevor Isn't Here To Make A Point, Either
Instead of selling the movie as a revolutionary reversal of the stereotypical roles of men and women in film, Jenkins has taken the approach of insisting that it's not a big deal that Diana is wielding the sword and that Steve Trevor needs her help.
"I didn't want him to be a damsel in distress. I didn't want to make an issue out of it. I didn't want to make a feminist statement with him. I wanted the guy, who you want to be with, who's cool that you're trying to do something else at the same time. And I want it to live up to that emotionally myself. Who's the guy who can be like, 'Well, that was a little intimidating.' But they can still help you when you need help. Or love you, or support you, or whatever."
If Wonder Woman delivers on its promise, we can only hope to see more female characters on screen that feel neither forced nor like they're just replacements for their male counterparts. No pressure.
Are you looking forward to Wonder Woman?