Why We Need DCEU’s ‘Wonder Woman’

This is a *no spoiler* blog post, so those of you who haven’t seen ‘Wonder Woman’ or don’t want to can still enjoy.

            The perks of working in a cinema? The occasional free ticket to any film you want to see. It’s especially great as you don’t feel you’ve wasted money on a particularly naff film (here’s looking at you Pirates of The Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge). However, there is one film this year that I would have gladly spent my money on, and I certainly will when the film comes out on DVD. That film, is DCEU’s ‘Wonder Woman’.  I’m a big, ol’ comic book movie fan, so of course I was excited to see this. As a big, ol’ feminist comic book movie fan, the excitement was doubled and met with trepidation. After watching it,  I can safely say I was right to be excited regarding this movie. It was fast-paced and meaningful and dramatic and everything you would want a good comic book movie to be.  Nevertheless, I left the cinema feeling more than entertained. I left the cinema saying ‘gosh darn, I needed that movie.’ It’s true, I did need that movie. But I also felt it wasn’t just me who needed that movie. It was the film industry and the comic book industry and the world that we live in that I felt and still feel that need this movie.

Let me tell you why I think we need DC’s ‘Wonder Woman’.

            Firstly, ‘Wonder Woman’ made it happened. The big thing. The long, overdue haul. The thing the majority of us have been waiting for. We now have a solo female superhero. Oh, do you know how good that makes me feel to write that? In the early to mid noughties, Marvel and DC started their cinematic universes and it’s taken over ten years to give us, their audience, a solo female superhero (even though 46% of comic fans identify as female[1]). Alright, I know what some of you are thinking; ‘what about DC’s ‘Catwoman’ in 2004?’ There are thirteen years in-between ‘Catwoman’ and ‘Wonder Woman’; a whole different generation has sprouted since then, the world has changed drastically. That’s two solo female superheroes across thirteen years, as opposed to about one hundred male based solo superhero movies we’ve been given. I am also very aware that there are female superheroes in the movies, such as Marvel’s Scarlet Witch and Black Widow, but they are not the stars of their own movies. They are supporting characters at most. ‘Wonder Woman’ gives the female audience what they so desperately need; a female counterpart, an equal counterpart that’s not just the romantic lead. This is the first female solo feature length superhero movie in all of the Marvel Cinematic Universe so far and in the last decade of DC’s movies. That’s why ‘Wonder Woman’ and Diana Prince are so important, so needed. Wonder Woman certainly doesn’t solve that gender gap in comic book movies, not by a long stretch. It’s as Michelle Wolf from ‘The Daily Show[2]’ says; ‘You know when we’ll feel like women are equal at the box office? When we get to make a bad superhero movie an then immediately make another one. Men get chance after chance to make superhero movies.’ ‘Wonder Woman’ doesn’t instantly fix that inequality issue, nor will it make the box office equal in any way, shape, or form. However, ‘Wonder Woman’ is a well needed step in the right direction, into having not just male superheroes. That’s why it’s important.

            Another reason why ‘Wonder Woman’ is so needed? The sexualisation of women is almost non-existent. That’s a damn breath of fresh air, I tell you. For a start, Diana’s armour, is actually armour. When playing video games or watching movies, I spend a large amount of time saying things such as ‘that’s not armour, that’s lingerie’, ‘her boobs would definitely pop out of that chest guard’, and ‘bless her, that just looks uncomfortable’. During the film, I found my inner grandmother coming out, thinking ‘she must be cold in that outfit’, but I never once did think ‘gosh, her midriff is out, that’s not suitable for battle’. Diana’s Wonder Woman outfit, you know the famous one, is short but is moveable and protective and badass. Gal Gadot certainly rocked the metal breastplate and leather skirt, but it was amazing to see a costume designer actually think of the practicalities of a fighting outfit, not just ‘does this cover the naughty bits but accentuate the rounder bits’. Not only that, the romance in the movie isn’t sexualised. Can you believe that? I couldn’t, at first. Still no spoilers, no worries. I thought there must be a useless sex scene amongst the flirting and nuances, but no. Both characters involved with the romance were treated with the same, utmost respect. I’m still a little bit frazzled by that. A man and a woman, in a superhero movie, not participating in sex in which there is a gender bias? Unfeasible (Yes, that was sarcasm, thank you very much). During the movie, I didn’t once feel uncomfortable regarding over-sexualisation; this rarely happens to me in box office action movies. I am sure I’m not the only person who finds over sexualisation reductive and outdated. ‘Wonder Woman’ shows that you can have a wildly successful superhero movie without the sexualisation of women; that’s why ‘Wonder Woman’ is so needed.

            Another reason why ‘Wonder Woman’ is a needed, boss-ass movie? Representation my dear friends. A strong female lead who is intelligent, strong, and powerful? Check. A large number of women in the cast with speaking roles? Check. A little Rosie fact – when I saw all of the women in Themyscira, Diana’s homeland, I started to cry. I had genuinely, never seen that amount of women treated neutrally or positively on screen before. I think I may have wept every time I saw Diana too, but let’s not tell anyone about that. A racially diverse cast? Check. Well, it may not be as diverse as it should be, but it certainly is a step in the right direction. I was prepared for a completely white-washed main cast, but when I saw a large amount of women of colour in Themyscira, I punched my partner’s arm in happiness. Two of the main male characters are Moroccan and Native American respectively. Again, I wasn’t expecting this at all. The box office is no way near as racially diverse as it should be, but ‘Wonder Woman’s small step in the right direction shows how important a diverse and fair film industry is. A female director? Check. A lead actor who is a good role model for younger audiences? Check. Not only that, Gal Gadot is Israeli, smashing that white-washing, and she also doesn’t fall into the Hollywood trope of slight, breakable women; have you seen the muscles on that woman? She’s strong and fit, and is not afraid to show that. ‘Wonder Woman’ is needed because it offers what we need; we need that representation.

            I came out of the screen with my ears ringing with the message of the last thirty minutes of the film. The message is simple; hatred and fear is not going to help anything, love and hope are what we need to believe in. This message is seriously needed right now. Trump is pushing hatred, Trident is dealing in fear, terrorists are trying to break us. It’s so simple, but that message in ‘Wonder Woman’ grounded me, it reminded me that love and hope are good, and we shouldn’t buy into the fear and hatred that is pushed upon us. I didn’t expect to be so deeply affect by a superhero movie about a magical rope.

‘Wonder Woman’ is certainly not a perfect movie. It’s a good movie, a fair movie, but it has its flaws. However, it is a damn good push in the right direction. That’s why we need ‘Wonder Woman’.

*

If you’ve seen ‘Wonder Woman’, let me know what you think of the movie and if you agree with what I’ve got to say. I love I good conversation. Thanks for reading!

[1] https://graphicpolicy.com/2014/02/01/facebook-fandom-spotlight-who-are-the-us-comic-fans-5/

[2] http://www.cc.com/video-clips/pikmtf/the-daily-show-with-trevor-noah–wonder-woman–breaks-the-invisible-ceiling

 

(Originally posted on June 3rd 2017 @ https://rosiealewis.wixsite.com/home/single-post/2017/06/03/Why-We-Need-DCEUs-Wonder-Woman)

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