Friday, 13 November 2015

Why has it taken so long to make a Wonder Woman movie?

Superheroes. Superheroes everywhere. And yet, for every Ant Man, Avengers, and Dark Knight movie, we never get a female lead.

Look at Black Widow in the Marvel movies. Her back story is never fully explained; we only see snippets. She’s been hinted as a love interest to Hawkeye and Captain America (only for the Hawkeye one to be completely dismissed by his very secretive secret life and wife).

Despite whole movies dedicated to the origins of male heroes; Batman Begins, Man of Steel, Captain America: The First Avenger, Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow barely gets enough screen time to explain her association with SHIELD yet alone her fighting prowess. But she’s not the only one.

The Case for Wonder Woman. 

The Wonder Woman comic debuted in 1941. It was a time of war, but not just with Hitler and the Nazis. There was a war being waged for women’s equality.

The Press Release at the time made this particularly clear;
“ ‘Wonder Woman’ was conceived by Dr. Marston to set up a standard among children and young people of strong, free, courageous womanhood; to combat the idea that women are inferior to men, and to inspire girls to self-confidence and achievement in athletics, occupations and professions monopolized by men” because “the only hope for civilization is the greater freedom, development and equality of women in all fields of human activity.’” Source: New Yorker
Source: Smithsonian Library
Sure, Dr Marston created an overly sexualized female ideal; waist dangerously narrow,boob size so big it drew criticism every time if ever portrayed slightly smaller, but she was intelligent and a brave fighter. While the Justice League may have demoted her to a secretarial position within the team, she was well able to hold her own with the best of them, fighting the Nazis and otherworldly villains in equal measure.
Her merchandise has been selling successfully for decades; everything from bed covers to lunch boxes to key-rings. She's a commercial success.

In the 1970s Warner Brothers gained the rights to DC Comics. This meant they could produce TV shows and films based on the characters and storylines from the comic books. Since 1978 they’ve made 6 Superman films (7 if you count Batman vs Superman) and 8 Batman films (or 9 if you count Batman vs Superman). But there’s yet to be a Wonder Woman film.

Heck they’re even making a film about a supergroup of villains, The Suicide Squad, before they make a female led film.

Sure, I mean we got the booby prize (no pun intended); and Wonder Woman is set to appear in Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice in early 2016.
But does she appear in the title? In the main promotional poster? No.

Wonder Woman is expected to get her own spin-off following her cinematic debut in Batman vs Superman. It’s in pre-production, aimed for release in June 2017. It’s also set to be directed by a woman – Patty Jenkins. Female directors are still a rarity in Hollywood.

Since the world became superhero obsessed around the time of the release of Batman Begins in 2005, spurring a whole range of darker comic book storytelling and constant remakes, Wonder Woman will be the first female star to get her own movie.

In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, there are no plans to make a Black Widow movie. What was set to be the first female led Marvel film, Captain Marvel, continues to be pushed back for release, and is now looking at a 2019 release date. Instead we’re getting Ant-Man and the Wasp. While the Wasp is a strong female character, and played well by Evangeline Lily, it’s the ultimate consolation prize. We get the double-billing before we get a female lead. Not quite the victory for feminism it should have been.

The news of a Wonder Woman film follows the latest rush of female led comic book-based TV shows this year; Marvel's Agent Carter, Supergirl, and Marvel’s Jessica Jones. (Yes, Marvel do title all their productions with Marvel preceding the name. And yes, it is rather annoying.)

These are the first female led TV shows that aren’t about the lead character looking for love or modern dating (Yes I’m looking at you New Girl, The Mindy Project, and about a dozen other pilots that air every September) to be made in the last couple of years.

They’re about badass females; reminiscent of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Veronica Mars and Xena: The Warrior Princess.

Agent Carter, played by the amazing Hayley Atwell, was a feminist triumph. Male characters asked HER for help. She trounced on the 1950s post-war ‘shoving females out of the workplace and back into the kitchen’ mentality. She was freaking awe-inspiring and was commissioned for a second
series due out next year.

Supergirl has gotten off to a mixed start since it first aired in late October. The pilot was the highest rated TV pilot this year, but ratings have dropped over the past few weeks. It’s fun and runs along the same styling as the CW’s successful The Flash.

Netflix’s Jessica Jones series is debuting next weekend, 20th November. The anticipation on social media in the weeks leading up to release has been huge. And following in the footsteps of the highly acclaimed Marvel’s Daredevil, it shouldn’t put a step wrong. Watch the trailer here.

So yes, we have a resurgence of strong female leads on TV.

And from next year, the film industry is set to follow suit. As the character of Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games has proven, strong female character led films, and female led literary adaptations, can do well in the box office. There’s no reason why Wonder Woman won’t do the same.

It may have taken almost 40 years for DC and Warner Brothers to put a female on the big screen, but we’re also lucky that the first one, Wonder Woman, has her origins so tightly knitted into feminism.


Do you enjoy seeing strong female characters on screen?

Will you be watching the Wonder Woman film when it comes out?

A Bit Of Everything

17 comments:

  1. I remember as a kid watching the wonder woman movie which was made when my parents were being born and since then no revamp. I think your post speaks a lot of truth and hopefully 2016 will see female leads more in the superhero genre.

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  2. It's amazing now you point it out that there hasn't been a Wonder Woman movie before - and that there are still so few strong female leads on the big screen in 2015! She is such a strong character, I'd have thought it will do really well too.

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    1. It's so strange that they'll put out film after film on Batman and endless Spiderman reboots, but no female led film?

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  3. I'd never really thought about it. Part of me thinks that there wasn't really a need because of the TV series, but that didn't stop them with Batman and the like.

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    1. I get your point Erica, but it's bigger than just Wonder Woman. They haven't made a single female led comic book movie!

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  4. I have to admit I have never given it any thought, I dont think I will go out of my way to watch it, I don't with any other superhero film either x

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  5. I love marvel comics, but I do agree they do take long to come out but I do understand the productive sides and getting the right person to act. I love more woman superheroes than men. I mean we can be super heroes too!

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    1. Totally Analyn! We deserve a strong female role model on film :) x

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  6. I hadn't really given it much thought, though similarly it's like how Disney have a lot of (admittedly getting stronger and as a positive role model) princesses.

    The superhero era needs a new woman on the block, looking forward to this.

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  7. I never noticed that before - not that I am a big superhero fan but my cousin would watch a Wonder Woman film on repeat!

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  8. It's a hard one because although I agree that we need more women superheroes, it's like wanting more Disney Princes because they're being sexist towards men. I think we do need a film with a strong female role and think Black Widow would be amazing but think it would need to feature Hawkeye and be a prequel to show what went on with them both in past fights that are mentioned in the Avengers films x

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    1. Good point Michaela! But isn't it sexist that girls are shown princesses to aspire to, and boys are shown superheroes? Would love to see a Black Widow prequel mind x

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  9. Okay, first:I love meeting other Buffy fans! I am a huge Buffy fan and even write about the show on my blog. I have a post you might like to read: http://www.rockinrandommom.com/2015/08/24/10-reasons-buffy-is-still-awesome/
    I also reference Buffy in several posts throughout my blog and I periodically post Buffy Quotes if you want to see them, feel free to check them out under my random quotes section. I watched the Wonder Woman TV show and am all about strong kick-ass women. I loved Wonder Woman and I do hope they come out with a movie that doesn't flop. It depends on how the movie is made and the marketing they put around it. Hopefully, they don't do it half-ass. I watch Supergirl every week and my youngest loves her. I can't believe the ratings have gone down since the first episode but I love the show personally. I haven't heard of the Netflix series so I will be sure to check that one out too! It does seem that for every female badass that is a success in TV and the movies, there are several more that don't seem to be a focus. I love Black Widow and I love Scarlet Johannson as Black Widow but she doesn't get enough screen time and we, as fans, don't get enough back story on her like we get with the males. If you're interested there is an excellent dad blogger who writes about superheros and his daughter. He has some really great posts that I think you will like. Here is his site: http://manvspink.com/ I love your post and will be checking out you other posts, especially the ones on Buffy! Visiting from #abitofeverything

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    1. Thank you so much for your comment Michelle! I love that you get this subject and Buffy, so I'll be sure to check out your posts! Totally agree that Black Widow is not given as much screen time, or back story as the guys. Heck, even Hawkeye got the family thing going on. And I'm really loving Supergirl so far too :) Hopefully they'll make Wonder Woman a success, but after disliking Man of Steel I'm not so sure x

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  10. Yeah, so far the Superman movies haven't turned out well so that's why I worry. Personally, I would love to see Joss Whedon making the movie because he is a genius and he is doing well with the Avengers movies but hearing that a woman is directing the new Wonder Woman, maybe there is hope.

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    1. I agree, Joss Whedon is excellent (we're both Buffy fans so we already knew that.) But having a female director gives me hope :) x

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