“Wonder Woman” sets standard for female superhero films

Caroline Lozano/ Staff Writer

It looks like 2017 will be a remarkable year for superhero movies and especially for DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Pictures.

“Wonder Woman” directed by Patty Jenkins, hauled in over 300 million worldwide at the box office in just over a week, making it one of the higher grossing movies from a female director, according to Forbes.

Another highlight is the fact that it reached a positive consensus among critics as it currently holds a 93 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, a first for DC films after its rocky start with “Batman v Superman” and “Suicide Squad.”

The film is also the first female-driven superhero movie to ever hit theaters in over 10 years with the last one being 2005’s “Elektra,” a critical and commercial disaster. 2004’s “Catwoman” wasn’t any better either.

With two major flops, female superheroes had to take a backseat, making way for the line of male superheroes to grace the big screen.

Male superhero films have done their best to include significant female characters in their narratives, either as love interests or fellow comrades. However, they’ve always been part of the supporting role rather than the main one. And yes, even Black Widow.

The success of  “Wonder Woman” is indicative that female superheroes are worth the investment, but only if done the right way. And everyone behind the production of “Wonder Woman” did just that.

Instead of depicting her as an absolutely perfect character with no flaws, Diana Prince (Wonder Woman) is portrayed as naive while she learns the customs of Earth’s people after leaving her island paradise to help end World War I. This accentuates her character since it sculpts her as a real person who has a lot to learn about the world and thus, makes her likeable to the largely female audience.

She never relinquishes her femininity during the film which is a huge plus in my eyes. I’ve grown tired of seeing female characters having to downplay their feminine sides, becoming cold, distant or manlike to appear strong. “Wonder Woman” didn’t have to sacrifice her feminine attributes to achieve strength. She is strong because she is a woman and that’s that.

She treats her male comrades, including love interest Steve Trevor, as her equals rather than her inferiors. In fact, no “men vs. women” agenda was apparent throughout the movie, which was refreshing to say the least.

Tearing men down or turning everything into a competition between both sexes is pointless and does nothing to empower women. Women’s empowerment is gained not just from respecting women but men as well.

Although a few of the male characters were flirtatious upon meeting her, they learned to respect her in the same way.

My favorite feature of “Wonder Woman” by far is the romance between Steve Trevor and Diana Prince because it differs from the romances in other superhero films. There was chemistry, of course, but there was always a line of mutual respect where neither character was dumbed down into a “damsel in distress.” When Trevor took his ultimate decision around the third act, it was understandable why Prince reacted the way she did.

This is how you make a female-driven superhero movie, or any female-driven film. Take notes, Ghostbusters.

Now, I wouldn’t go as far as to call it “the best superhero movie ever made” as I’ve seen a few enthusiastic reviewers comment.

Some have compared it to Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight,” which is a bit excessive. However, it is a close contender.

“Wonder Woman” had a couple of flaws that could’ve been improved. But overall, it’s a shift from the usual films of the genre we’ve seen and a step in the right direction for DC and Warner Bros. Pictures. I’m looking forward to seeing what they do with Wonder Woman in future films.

 

DISCLAIMER:

The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of Panther Press Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.

 

Photo taken from Flickr.

 

About the Author

Caroline Lozano
Caroline Lozano is a senior pursuing a Bachelor's degree in English. She enjoys writing, reading, traveling, listening to music (especially The Beatles), attending cons, and watching movies/shows on Netflix. One of her goals is to become an accomplished writer of novels and short stories. Caroline is also fluent in Spanish.

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