Finally, finally we have an actual date for a superhero movie about a woman. Not a love interest, not a sidekick, not a villain or a team member, but the actual focus of the film! [Wonder Woman](movie:45787) is on the list leaked by NikkiFinke today, and I am absolutely thrilled! I will admit, I was worried that she would be relegated to supporting roles in [Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice](movie:711870) and [Justice League](movie:401267) and would never get the solo project she deserves. Looks like DC is stepping up to bring some balance to the superhero genre, and it’s about time!
The only real female-centric comic book movie is 2004’s Catwoman and 2005's Elektra, both of which failed miserably at impressing critics and fans. Maybe that’s why it took the studios ten years to consider making another one, continuing to say that movie-goers aren't “ready” for it. *eyeroll* Two standalone, less-than-loved movies are hardly a reason to just give up on an entire gender! Nor were they the first superhero movies to get a less-than-glowing reception. I mean, I don’t think that Daredevil flopped because fans weren’t ready for a blind superhero.
So why now? Are the studios finally realizing that women go to movies, too? With the ratio of men to women at Comic-Con hovering around 60/40, it should be obvious that there are a lot of female fans who want to see super-heroines, not just heroes. Some of these women have been fans since childhood, and as a kid, I liked the characters that I wanted to be. It shouldn’t surprise you to learn that I didn't want to be a dude. I looked up to Rogue and Storm, and yes, to Wonder Woman. It always bugged me that the other major DC girls were just versions of the DC guys – unlike SuperGirl and BatGirl, Wonder Woman is a hero in her own right. How many of those female Comic-Con attendees felt the same? Nostalgia is a powerful selling point, and those of us who preferred the girls when we were young want to see them in their own movies now we are adults.
Add to that the people who are just plain fans of the character: It’s not just women who have been clamoring for Wonder Woman! There are plenty of men who would love to see this movie, and not just because it’s a hot girl in a tight costume (although I’m sure there are a few of those). At the base of it all is the fact that this is a fantastic character! Wonder Woman has fans because she deserves them, and it is well past time that studios started making movies on the merit of the story, not the gender of the hero.
As much as I would like to believe that the decision-makers at DC and Warner Brothers just woke up one morning, slapped their foreheads and realized how ridiculously male-dominated the genre is, there is a more likely explanation. They are upping the competition with Marvel. Marvel has been dominating the box office, working with three studios (primarily Disney, but with Fox and Sony owning character rights) to create a huge and interconnected live-action universe. With the presumed announcement of a Justice League movie, DC can compete with Marvel’s Avengers, and start to build a similar universe of their own, albeit several years behind.
Lacking an alternate timeline that would allow DC to catch up, creating a movie with a female lead is a serious move to try and even things out, as long as they can do it in time. Being the first to let a woman take the spotlight is going to create serious publicity, thus drawing all the attention that Warner Brothers want to Justice League.
Except they may still not be the first. There are two movies in the works at Marvel that feature a female: [Black Widow](movie:1070824), which is confirmed as in development (but does not have a release date yet), and [Ms. Marvel](movie:949779) (rumored to make her first appearance in [The Avengers: Age Of Ultron](movie:293035)). On one hand, it makes sense for Black Widow to be released first; Marvel may as well make a stand-alone film for every member of the Avengers, and the casting is already done. But I wonder if a Black Widow movie will evolve into a Black Widow/Hawkeye movie, as I have heard no rumblings of a solo project for him, and we really do want to know what happened in Budapest!
Which leaves us with a truly thrilling possibility – that the summer of 2017 will be a box office face-off between Wonder Woman and Ms. Marvel! The best part about that, of course, is that the buzz around the rivalry will most likely mean that both movies end up hugely successful. If both Marvel and DC can see dollar signs, we may finally stop being limited to the best-known and most obvious male choices. That’s the hope, anyway; to finally prove that the world is more than ready for female superheroes in the spotlight.
What do you think?