By Chanel Tasker and Miriam Scott
Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman hit the theaters early this summer, crashing into the world of superhero films with an opening weekend that grossed $103,251,471. Despite the lack of advertising and hype for the film, it’s proven to be an incredibly successful movie. In fact, it is now one of the top ten highest grossing superhero movies!
As of August 1, Wonder Woman‘s worldwide gross was $789,074,792 (via Box Office Mojo). This makes Patty Jenkins the first woman to ever direct a hit that made over $700 million in global box offices, beating out Phyllida Lloyd’s Mamma Mia! ($609 million), Jennifer Yuh Nelson’s Kung Fu Panda 2 ($665 million), and Sam Taylor-Johnson’s Fifty Shades of Grey ($571 million).
Currently, it’s ranked second highest grossing superhero origin film, and eighth in every superhero movie ever. It has a 92% Fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes, and 76% on Metacritic. With overwhelmingly positive reviews and an incredible theatrical run, Wonder Woman has shattered the glass ceiling for female-led and female-directed films alike, hopefully bringing us into a new age of superhero movies.
Just what is it that makes this film so good?
It’s a Breath of Fresh Air
We’re now about a decade into the age of superhero movies (which is awesome), but they have all been dominated by men as the lead. Male directors, male leads; and what women are involved are usually eye candy. This movie finally has a female lead, and she is not there to look pretty and bat her eyes at the camera. It is so refreshing to see a dominant lead character as a woman and others like the general, Antiope, have so much power. People can now see that women heroes kick butt and are capable of saving the world. In fact, Steve Trevor is basically the damsel in distress that Diana saves which is a fantastic change in the usual Hollywood boy saves girl scenario.
The Movie is Stunning
The progression of this movie put aside for a moment, the cinematography is beautifully executed. The detail of both Themyscira and WWI London was so well done; and when you are transported from one world to the other there is a complete paradigm shift. The action scenes were also wonderful (pun intended), making your heart pump and it keeping you on the edge of your seat. One of the reasons the action scenes felt so real was because in the down times in the movie there was real, heartfelt emotion. You could feel the joy, the hurt, the love, and the brutality of war through the actors, and it made the evils of the world tangible and believable. That combined with the amazing direction of scenes – like walking through No Man’s Land and the battle immediately after, with the choreography, different angles, and Diana being awesome – made a spectacular feature.
Wonder Woman Defies the “World of Men”
One of the greatest things about this movie is that it subtly challenges the societal “norm”. (In a previous article we talked about how women have had to fight to get their voice heard and how it is still a struggle through today, and this movie is a huge victory for that) Jenkins had such an ingenious way of dealing with both sexism and racism that we have not seen with blockbuster movies in a long time. When Diana has to deal with situations where the sexist customs are right in her face she reacts with confusion, rather than outrage, and then continues to confidently do what she knows, believing all are equal and all have a say. She blames Ares for the evil and you can see her heart break when she listens to what has happened to this world. She believes that everyone is innately good, and she has compassion for those who have had to deal with the suffocation of who they are as human beings. On top of that, all of the allies she has that are men are never threatened by her. They respect Diana and the fact that she is more powerful and they’re willing to be the sidekick.
With the success of this movie and the raving reviews; there needs to be more portrayals like Wonder Woman. There is a public outcry for more representation, but for once, this movie nailed it. Of course there are critics out there who disagree with the progression, but we think this is a step in the right direction.