Thoughts on the continuing rise of Wonder Woman in the DCEU
Now that Wonder Woman has defied all expectations, I think many people can breathe a sigh of relief. As a woman and a fan of DC, I feel like a weight has been lifted. I saw Wonder Woman twice opening weekend and still can’t get enough.
I have been excited for this film ever since it was announced. Wonder Woman is such an iconic hero, and it was about time that we got a female led superhero film. I’ll never forget that when Batman v Superman was struggling, everyone was really down on the DCEU. I was afraid that no one would give Wonder Woman a chance, even if people didn’t completely hate her part of BvS. I even had a conversation with a coworker that to this day still surprises me. He didn’t understand why anyone would want to watch a movie about a hero that’s “so old.” I pointed out that everyone loved Captain America even though that character is also very “old.” He promptly stated that it was different because Captain America is a man. I knew then how important this movie could be.
Now that we’ve seen the final film, everything seems so obvious. Of course, a woman should have directed this film. Of course, the Amazons should have been these fierce real–life heroes and athletes. Of course, Gal Gadot is perfect for the role. Hindsight is 20/20 after all. What is hard to remember is the struggle to get those perfect pieces in place. Patty Jenkins is obviously a phenomenal director, with credits such as Monster and The Killing under her belt, but she had never been a part of a film of this caliber. It was a pretty big gamble for Warner Brothers to give her the job.
Gal Gadot blew our socks off as Diana Prince, but she got her share of backlash from the public after her casting. Her body wasn’t what people thought Wonder Woman’s body should look like. Gadot also didn’t have as many credits under her belt as say Ben Affleck, and people wondered how she could carry this film and bring people to the box office. Talk about some serious perseverance. Still, everyone involved in this movie set out to make the best movie they could, and it’s easy now to say that everyone who had a part in this film should be very proud of what was created.
DC, Warner Brothers, Jenkins, and Gadot were key in breathing new life into Wonder Woman, and the joy and excitement is certainly spreading. This year at San Diego Comic Con, it was amazing to see all of the Wonder Woman love and support. It’s obvious that many women and young girls would admire Wonder Woman, but what I didn’t expect was just how much love she was getting from men and young boys. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying that the male gender didn’t like Wonder Woman before or didn’t wear shirts with her face or symbol on it. What is nice to see is how much more common it is.
With a film of this size, you’re bound to see merchandise all over the place. This time, people of all ages and genders seem to be flocking to get their hands on a piece of Wonder Woman merch. I know both my husband and I have bought a few Wonder Woman t shirts and will probably be on the lookout for more. This response can only mean good things about changes to come (hopefully!) in Hollywood.
After audiences saw the film, the positive reviews were pouring in. Gone were the arguments of Gal Gadot’s body not measuring up for whatever reason. Also gone were those pesky gratuitous body shots to show off a woman’s body for no other reason than to ogle her. And you know what? Nobody seemed to miss that or think that the movie was incomplete without the camera performing a full body scan, while she’s trying to get dressed, or giving us a butt shot just because.
All that backlash from the original castings were soon quieted by the sheer greatness of the film. One thing I loved was that Wonder Woman’s armor looked much closer to armor in this film than it has ever before on screen. Diana was able to fight without looking like she would fall out of her outfit. An author I admire, Jodi Picoult, was asked to write a Wonder Woman story, and she shared some of the difficulties she had with wanting to change things but still sticking true to the character. The first thing she wanted to do was give Wonder Woman straps on her costume. Picoult always thought it was silly that a warrior would be fighting in a tube top. Of course, DC told her there was no way she could change the outfit that much, but Picoult did make a good point. While Diana didn’t get straps in the film, her outfit finally stood up to the test of holding up in a fight.
There have been many articles and news pieces written on Wonder Woman and the impact this film has had, and I’m not sure I see that stopping soon. DC and Warner Brothers have been smart and are seeming to realize the diamond that they have now. The latest trailer for the Justice League movie that debuted at San Diego Comic Con features a lot of Diana. She even gets to kick off the trailer with a bang. I hope that this can help to spark some change in how people view heroes and the strength of women.
To everyone who had a hand in creating this film, I tip my hat. Thank you for giving us Wonder Woman. Thank you for showing young girls that they, too, can be heroes right alongside the boys if they want. Thank you for showing young boys that they can look up to female heroes as well and be excited about a woman saving the day. Thank you for ignoring the backlash and setting out to make your version of this film, easily the best version that it could have ever been. Thank you, Gal Gadot, for brushing off the ridiculous comments about your body and giving us the most beautiful and badass Wonder Woman. And last but not least, thanks for helping me prove to my male coworkers that they were wrong, and people do want to see female led superhero movies.
With that, Warner Brothers just confirmed at SDCC that Wonder Woman 2 is officially a part of their release schedule. Diana Prince isn’t going anywhere, and I couldn’t be happier.