Warner Bros. Pictures

Drum roll, please! We're finally seeing it ladies, a superhero that we can support. Based on DC Comics character Diana Prince, "Wonder Woman," smashed records garnering an estimated $100.5 million in its U.S. opening. Numbers don't lie and the success of the debut film confirms that we are ready for women to take over the superhero world on the big screen. Bravo to director Patty Jenkins, who recorded the biggest opening for a female director, while audiences embraced Gal Gadot in the title role.

To give you a perspective, "Wonder Woman," crushed other films of the genre like "The Amazing Spider-Man" and "Captain America: The Winter Soldier." This was another shot to make a female superhero adhere to culture. Many studios attempted to make women a bigger part of the superhero realm, but they never resonated with the audiences or received financial support by ticket buyers. “Supergirl” was a film in 1984 and “Catwoman,” starring Halle Berry was released in 2004 and yet, they both fizzled out at the box office.

Jenkins is proving the opposition wrong, at least for now. "The director in me wants this film that I made to succeed," said Jenkins who directed "Monster" in 2003. With an air of confidence during an interview with CBS, she added: "But the person who's not me at all, who lives inside of me has heard people say for many years, 'Ah, nobody would go see a female superhero film, women don't like action,' all those things. That part of me is watching, saying, 'Ah, let's prove them wrong.'" Not all women want to watch slushy love stories or romantic comedies. We want to see some moxie and therein lies "Wonder Woman" or Diana Prince. 
 
The character Diana Prince is tricky to convey, however. She's strong and optimistic while navigating a culture embedded in panic during World War I. She's unquestionably good and yet, she can stand up to evil using her power, wit and sensibility. She can't appear to be overly naive about life, which is a hard balance to strike in a script. Also, women action stars are never seen as true leaders, they feel canned and contrived. Linda Carter’s Wonder Woman ran from 1975-1979 on television. She admitted that today’s female superheroes fall flat. “A lot of the modern day ideas of a female superhero are just yesterday's male hero in some tights, and maybe a push-up bra,” she said. However, she’s happy that there’s been an increase of interest from Hollywood to have more female roles, but it’s not enough. “It’s great that women are now allowed to be heroes."

Admittedly, we've come a long way since the first female superhero crime fighter. Fantomah was introduced into comic books during the 1940s. She was a mystery woman of the jungle, fighting for animals and the environment. Her abilities included flying and morphing into a skull-faced monster to scare off criminals. A bit of a thin character, but Fantomah set the path that we are on today. During the 1960s, women superheroes became, even more, suggestive in comics with Sheena, Bat Woman and the Invisible Woman, leaving women again, stereotyped as sex objects. The latest "Wonder Woman" still portrays women as sex symbols with their scanty attire. But nonetheless, Diana Prince has finally arrived to connect with audiences and particularly with girls.  

Young girls are looking for icons to covet. Boys have more than enough of this with Batman and Superman. It's our turn. Gail Simone is a comic book writer well-known for her work on Birds of Prey (DC), Wonder Woman (DC) and hopes that seeing a woman in a leadership position of any kind will bring the feminine aspect of wisdom and intelligence to whatever they’re attempting to do--be it in film, comics or at the office. "I’m hoping we start to grow now.”

As "Wonder Woman" remains abuzz in Hollywood, the critics are supporting the film, which could aid the crusade. The film has a 93 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The numbers are drastically better than "Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice," which had a 28 percent rating in 2016. However, "The Dark Knight," was rated only a percentage better than Jenkin's film, which is remarkable. What is not remarkable is the lack of role models on the big screen and the sad depiction of female superheroes in our society. Women are seen as the weaker sex, although we’ve made progress, there are more strides to take within our culture and within our fictional characters.

The success of "Wonder Woman" could potentially influence studios to target more than men when they brainstorm superhero-themed film projects. “I think the world is also demanding and shouting back that they want more variety,” Jenkins told theguardian.com. We are shouting for sure. Finally, we have a superhero to fasten onto.

 

 

 

 

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