When I go to the movies, I usually don’t give half a wet fart about what critics says. I don’t give much weight to a movie’s score on Rotten Tomatoes or its buzz, or lack thereof, on social media. If we all went to movies on that basis, then Hollywood would be bankrupt within a year.
I’ve seen plenty of movies that were critically panned, if not outright despised. I loved movies like “Dude Where’s My Car?” and “Terminator Genysis.” I know they’re not exactly Oscar-winning dramas that make grown men burst into tears. They’re just fun. If that’s not enough for some people, then they’re just being difficult.
That said, I know critical reception these days can really derail a promising movie. It used to be that people didn’t have sites like Rotten Tomatoes or Metacritic to get a feel for how a movie was received. We either just read reviews in the paper or, shockingly enough, talked to others who had seen it.
Add never-ending shit storm that is social media to the mix and movies these days have a bigger challenge than ever. If there is even a little negative buzz, then that could seriously cut into the profits of a movie that probably would’ve succeeded ten years ago. I believe that without the social media backlash, “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” would’ve made a billion dollars.
Conversely, sometimes social media can make a movie that would’ve failed in past years really succeed. Once again, I’m going to mention “Deadpool.” I know. I can’t seem to shut up about him, but his rise was just that astonishing.
Since it was so different from any other superhero movie, it couldn’t market itself as such. It had to get creative. As such, Ryan Reynolds and an under-paid marketing staff put together a unique, over-the-top style effort that took full advantage of social media and critical acclaim. Given the movie’s record-breaking revenue, it clearly worked.
That brings me to Wonder Woman, the ultimate female icon and secret BDSM advocate. In case I haven’t belabored it enough, I’ll say it again. Wonder Woman has a movie coming out on June 2nd, 2017. It’s a movie that many superhero fans have been waiting decades to see. “Catwoman” might have been a setback for female heroes, but who better to overcome that fever dream of a movie than Wonder Woman?
I’ve said this before to my fellow comic fans. I’ll say it here too. “Wonder Woman” is the most important superhero movie of the past 25 years. It’s one thing for a movie like “Catwoman” to fail. Female superheroes would be set back a century if Wonder Woman, the most iconic female hero of the modern era, failed too.
That’s why I breathed a major sigh of relief when early reviews started coming in last week. By all accounts, they’re overwhelmingly positive. Some are putting it on the same level as “The Dark Knight.” For a movie that doesn’t promise homicidal clowns, that’s saying a lot.
Even so, good reviews may not be enough. “Wonder Woman” is doing more than just building upon DC’s expanding movie universe, or the DCEU as it’s called. This movie is adding a new, but overdue dynamic to superhero movies.
Going all the way back to the Christopher Reeves “Superman” era, superhero movies have relied heavily on male leads and male heroes. That’s all well and good, given how many iconic heroes are male, but in an era with a glut of so many superhero movies, that narrative needs something different.
Female heroes might be behind the curve in movies, but they’ve always been a huge part of superhero stories in the comics. It’s not just Wonder Woman either. Female heroes like Storm of the X-men, Ms. Marvel, Batgirl, and even the apologetically sex-positive Starfire have had a major presence in the overarching mythos of superhero comics.
“Wonder Woman” does more than just open the door for other female heroes in movies. It brings an important female perspective to the movies, one that the comics have enjoyed for decades. It’s overdue, but like a cold beer after a long day of work, it’s worth waiting for.
Winning over critics who refuse to forget about “Catwoman” is just one step, though. The movie still has to make money. No matter how much critics or fans love a movie, Hollywood won’t give two licks of a horses asshole if it doesn’t turn a profit. Why else would failures like “Fantastic Four” utterly disappear from the conversation?
Turning a profit is key because others are already keeping an eye on the success of “Wonder Woman” and what it means for female heroes. Marvel already has Brie Larson lined up to play “Captain Marvel,” who is the closest character the Avengers have to Wonder Woman, in 2019.
In addition to that, the success of “Logan” earlier this year, due in no small part to the work of Dafne Keen as X-23, has prompted director, James Mangold, to tease the possibility of an X-23 solo movie. I’ve already sung the praises of the “Logan” movie before and a character like X-23 brings a unique perspective that no male hero can match.
There’s so much riding on the “Wonder Woman” movie right now. Its influence goes beyond movies, comics, and female superheros. It’s impossible to understate the impact that this movie’s success will have on superhero movies and female characters in general. It’s been a long time coming, but the wait is almost over. For female heroes and women in general, it looks like it’ll be so worth it.