The skeptics were plentiful. A reboot of Superman barely seven years after a rather disastrous outing? But DC was determined to bring Clark Kent’s alter ego to the big screen, if only to rival Marvel’s seeming dominance. Their gamble paid off and Man of Steel is a hit. With the studios now proving they’re willing to take a risk on a big budget film, it’s about time they did the same for Wonder Woman. While being recognized as one of the most famous female superheroes — or any super hero for that matter — Wonder Woman still hasn’t had her own big screen outing, and the reasons as to why that is are getting weaker by the moment.
There are still critics who say there just isn’t the market for a female-led superhero film, which is simply not true. Oh sure, the studios will point to the two unsuccessful female action films of recent years, but that proves nothing. Superman Returns wasn’t exactly stellar, yet here we are at the precipice of a worldwide hit. The success of films like Snow White and the Huntsman, Brave, and The Hunger Games prove there is a market for a female heroine; Hollywood is just ignoring it.
“[M]ovie people will point to the two terrible superheroine movies that were made and say, You see? It can’t be done. It’s stupid, and I’m hoping The Hunger Games will lead to a paradigm shift. It’s frustrating to me that I don’t see anybody developing one of these movies,” Joss Whedon told the Daily Beast.
It frustrates me too, especially considering Whedon himself was tapped to write and direct a Wonder Woman film not all that long ago. That dream is almost certainly gone, as Whedon seems locked into the Marvel Universe for the foreseeable future. His undeniable interest in powerful females is perhaps the reason why he’s been so adept at writing them, giving little girls characters to look up to even if they’re not superheroes.
A wonderful (no pun intended) documentary, Wonder Women: The Untold Story of American explores why Wonder Woman is such an iconic figure and why she is the natural choice to spearhead the movement for a female superhero film. Wonder Woman was always a pioneer, the first female hero to break into the world of comic books, the first to inspire a generation of young girls. She began as such a trailblazer, her own hero reliant on no one else. Since then, she’s had a bit of a bumpy road — especially the 1950s and 1960s — but what better way to return her to her former glory than a live action blockbuster.
All of the elements are there for a successful franchise, and I’m not just talking about her ties to Superman. Wonder Woman is an Amazon warrior, but one who is devoted to love and peace. Her story began when she was introduced to the terrors of the human world by pilot Steve Trevor. She felt it was her duty to do what she could to restore some semblance of order to the world and while her origins may lie in World War II, her story has never been more pertinent. And unlike many other “strong” females, she doesn’t need to be rescued, she rescues herself. All due respect to Lois Lane, but a superhero she is not. Wonder Woman is a necessity.
I’m not the only one who believes so. The scribe behind Man of Steel, David S. Goyer, was asked what his dream project would be. His answer? Wonder Woman of course. While there are rumors of a Wonder Woman appearance in the next DC film, that’s simply not good enough. We don’t need another supporting player, we need a lead. Someone who can drive their own story.
I know there are obstacles in bringing Wonder Woman to life. Audiences may find it hard to believe in a superhero that is molded out of clay. And the whole being bound by a man takes away her powers has got to go. But if audiences can believe that Perry White can’t figure out Clark Kent is Superman then they can suspend their disbelief for long enough to believe in an Amazon goddess from Paradise Island.
The trick will be finding the balance between Wonder Woman’s innocence and her warrior abilities. Hopefully DC will take MGM’s lead and hire a woman. Because if DC gets this right and gives Wonder Woman a chance, maybe then we’ll be bombarded with the likes of Ms. Marvel and Batgirl instead of yet another Spiderman reboot.