It’s sad isn’t it? It’s really quite depressing that in the year 2015, Wonder Woman’s only major theatrical appearance to date is in…The LEGO Movie. The quintessential female superhero for over 70 years, has basically been book-shelved until just recently, when it was announced that she would be appearing in the upcoming Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, followed by Justice League and her own stand alone movies. If you take a look down Marvel’s upcoming film slate, they’re working on Captain Marvel, their first stand-alone female superhero film. But all of this begs the huge, blaring question: why is it that production companies have been so afraid of female-centric superhero films until just recently?
Perhaps we shouldn’t be too harsh…hmmmm…nope, we think it’s still pretty messed up. Yeah, you can point fingers to flops like 2004’s Catwoman, or 2005’s Elektra for ruining the chances of other female-focused films, or by claiming that audiences simply aren’t interested in superhero movies starring women…but those movies are just plain terrible. Seriously, Marvel and DC? You decided to finally tackle the female superhero genre head-on, and the first attempts are Catwoman and Elektra? Two characters who, while both pretty badass and able to carry a story on the pages of the comics, have no meaningful super powers and are nowhere near the top-tier status of someone like Wonder Woman or Captain Marvel? Where is the rationality there?
Maybe we shouldn’t be too harsh either. It’s not like we can claim that Warner Brothers and Marvel haven’t at least TRIED to bring these characters to the big screen before. Several writers and directors have been attached to the Wonder Woman concept before, including Joss Whedon, but for whatever reason those pitches have all fallen through. And that’s ok…it happens in Hollywood all the time. But why has it been so difficult to get these movies fueled and produced? There really shouldn’t be any excuse for not bringing these super women to mainstream theaters sooner. If one pitch didn’t work out, they should have had 4-5 other pitches waiting in the pipeline. Quite honestly, it’s sad that our female heroes haven’t been given the due respect that our male heroes have received over the years. In many ways, it’s reminiscent of the gender equality movement in the workplace. Why are women not receiving the same amount of devotion and attention when it comes to these films? Are they not equally important and worth watching?
But the biggest question that begs to be asked is: is it OUR fault? Think about it. If production companies and comic book publishers thought that their female characters were as desired and promising as their male counterparts, wouldn’t they have worked harder to bring them to us? Do they resonate as well as the male heroes? They should. Quite honestly, maybe we haven’t been pushing hard enough for our girls.
With Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel films both confirmed for the near future, and talks of a Black Widow stand-alone film often thrown around, are we in a new era of female superheroes? That still remains to be seen, but it certainly seems like we’re at least heading in that direction. However, there’s much more work to do. Hopefully these films will see the success that they deserve, and we’ll have a whole new slate of upcoming female hero films on the horizon! Because right now, the lack of attention that these awesome female characters have received has been a metaphorical slap in the face for strong women everywhere.