Destroy All Monsters: All The World Is Waiting For You, Wonder Woman

Matt Brown, Columnist

What a difference a year makes. At last year's Comic Con, Wonder Woman was "tricky." At the 2014 event, she was the belle of the ball.

Admittedly, it was a slow news year. Zack Snyder's reveal of Gal Gadot's costume for 2016's still horrendously titled Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice was the loudest sizzle at an event that keeps itself carefully devoid of steak. Aside from a roaring Mad Max trailer and the announcement of a sequel to Guardians of the Galaxy, what did Wonder Woman have to compete with, news-wise? A King Kong prequel?

Let's take a moment to doff our caps to Henry Cavill, who's having the sort of career ignominy we've come to expect of our Superman actors: he's now arguably playing third banana, in terms of audience interest, in the sequel to his own movie. I hope Brandon Routh buys him a beer sometime.

That horrendous title, Batman v. Superman, gets it half-right: this event movie is, certainly, half about Batman. The other half though, beyond question, is about Wonder Woman.

This does not mean that Wonder Woman will necessarily occupy more than a fraction of the movie's screentime. (We have no idea.) She might be a major supporting character, or she may show up for three minutes at the climax of whatever super-fight levels Gotham City and kills ten million offscreen civilians at the climax of Dawn of Justice, and urge the boys to stop fighting. We'll find out in a couple of years.

But Dawn of Justice has become, to a real and frustrating degree, Wonder Woman's movie. Rebooting Batman will always come with its level of fan fascination, but it has, at this point, been done four times. Wonder Woman has never been done at the movies, the largest untapped reservoir in the pantheon of major comic book characters, and so all eyes are on her.

And her status in her first movie, as has been stated elsewhere but deserves repeating, matters. It matters that on a weekend where a female-lead action movie handily demolished the Rock's latest action movie at the box office, the internet stopped dead for a couple of hours on Saturday afternoon to debate the merits of the first big screen iteration of the famous Wonder Woman costume.

It matters that she's not in the title. It matters that she (and Batman) are gatecrashing someone else's franchise. It matters that Saturday's costume reveal is how she has been presented, as DC desperately scrambles to conjure up a mega-franchise out of whole cloth, having failed to do the prework for Superhero Franchising 101 like their distinguished competition.

Male comic book heroes, too, have long been presented to us from the outside in, as though an art director's ability to adapt the frankly insane aesthetics of traditional superhero costumes into functional, "real"-world clothing is itself a bellwether of the project's overall commitment to not sucking. In this category, the new costume passes muster: a little 300: Rise of an Amazon for my taste, but definitely not an "America: Fuck Yeah!" bathing suit.

Agreed, then, that the "costume first look" has become a traditional part of the rollup to a franchise's marketing, for men as well as women. Turnabout, though, is not always fair play.

A culture disposed to evaluating its women looks-first has once again been given the opportunity to do so, with no thought whatsoever to the character as a character, with context within a story in which she will be employed. Batman and Superman had their costume reveals this summer, too, but within a contextual frame (albeit rudimentary) of their respective purpose in Snyder's story.

Not Wonder Woman. She's clothes.

And again, the reluctance on the part of both Marvel and DC to pony up the stones to present one of their female superheroes as primary, rather than supporting, is angering in the extreme, if only because in this frame, it might actually be possible. Women who kick ass on screen seems to be one of the few quadrant-proof basic concepts; men and women are both in the crowd, if the product seems promising, as Lucy ably demonstrated this week. A movie starring his very own Black Widow opened on the same weekend of Comic Con and made its budget back in less than 3 days, but did Kevin Feige jump up and announce a Black Widow movie, a Captain Marvel movie, a Gamora movie, or a team-up flick where Pepper Potts and Jane Foster get together and solve crimes? No. Of course he didn't.

This, in the movie universe anyway, is what women are: they are supporting. Normalcy is white, male, straight, and American (even the hero of the far-flung Guardians of the Galaxy falls into all four of these categories). Everything else - from an African-American Johnny Storm in the Fantastic Four reboot to completing the "Trinity" in a movie called Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice - is a Glenn Gould variation upon the superhero movie's sole, thin theme.

Oddly, the only superhero space that seems to now be in a position to take the kind of liberal risks that the movie franchises resist are the comic books themselves, likely because the sales numbers are so generally low - meaning that DC and Marvel form such a tiny line item on the overall balance sheets of their parent conglomerates - that they can pretty much do whatever they want.

Turning Thor into a woman is an amusing exercise, but far more impressive has been Marvel's (and, on a much slower rate of approach, DC's) awakening to the fact that a huge portion of their readership (reportedly 47%) is female, and interested in female-lead stories. Recent relaunches of Captain Marvel and Ms. Marvel, and the forthcoming Thor and Batgirl reboots, suggest at least a willingness to experiment in the representational space, if only on the short term.

If those titles don't succeed, the companies will certainly fold up their tents and return to Boy Thor and his brethren, but for now, the latitude in the mainstream comic books is surprising and impressive. (Translation: buy these comics, everyone. Vote with your dollars.)

Another thing worth noting: as of this writing, 2014 is the first summer box office season since 2001 without a $300M-grossing hit, and it may remain so. The last films to cross that earning boundary in the United States were Frozen and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, and the record may very easily hold until The Hunger Games: Mockingjay is released in four months. There is no question, at least right now, about who is ruling the franchise box office.

Now, this may be wishful fancy on my part, but: imagine the kind of money Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice might make, if it were just called Wonder Woman.


Destroy All Monsters is a weekly column on Hollywood and pop culture. Matt Brown is in Toronto and on twitter.

Around the Internet:
  • Johnny

    Sure Lucy has some action but just a fraction of it by Lucy herself. It's no Black Widow. Overall Lucy sucked.

  • Musikonica

    Kevin Feige has expressed interest in making a Black Widow movie, and also Marvel has said they will not cave to pressure.

    Officially, I now hope no female characters become the leads in any of these movies, or in comics, or on tv any longer. So fed up of every whiny fucking blogger in the last two weeks pushing the same feminist agenda at the same time. Calm yourselves and watch the movies that the writers and artists choose to give you, and shut the fuck up.

  • Johnny

    Didja ever notice it's the media types? General audiences don't give a shit as long as the movie is good. We aren't wringing our hands going "oh oh oh we need a female superhero, oh oh oh the lack of PC is killing me, OH WHOA IS US"

  • Yojimbo

    Please take your own advice, and take a chill pill.
    So fed up whiny fucks thinking that people asking for equal representation is part of a feminist agenda don't know if you have noticed women equal roughly half of the worlds population.
    Not to mention unfortunately that the writers and artists have very little choice or control of what movies get made if they did I doubt we would be posting on this subject.

  • Gary

    Women being half of the world's population has absolutely nothing to do with who the comic characters are and who bought them throughout the 20th century and beyond.

    Empire magazine ranked Wonder Woman as the 20th greatest comic book character. Guess what the gender was for 1-19? There just aren't any female characters that are interesting enough to carry a solo movie. Wonder Woman, with her lasso of truth and invisible jet, is a stupid character. And Black Widow? It would only be an action film in the same vein as Salt.

    Marvel and DC need to keep making movies that are based off of material that can translate to big screen. Leave Howard the Duck in the comics where he belongs. Leave the Fantastic Four in the comics where they belong. Everyone wants to see a live action JLA, but unfortunately this means figuring out how to make Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and maybe Hawkman look good on screen. These are just bad cartoon characters.

  • Yojimbo

    Comics are much more than just superheroes there are plenty of female characters who could make it to the silver screen Halo Jones, Durham Red, Judge Anderson, Martha Washington, Death, the cast of the Hernandez brothers Love and Rockets, Jenny Sparks leader of the Authority as to Wonder Woman she long progressed from the lasso of truth and her invisible plane and Marvel are prepping a Jessica Jones tv series.

  • Gary

    I read select comic books throughout the 1980s and into the mid 1990s. I have never heard of any of these characters. This is my point. Female characters are simply not written well. Having only a passing familiarity with the Wonder Woman character, I would not be interested in a movie about her. I suspect I am in the majority and DC knows it. If the goal is to make Marvel cinematic money, Wonder Woman is not the path.

  • Yojimbo

    Well that's highly ironic as two of them Halo Jones and Death are listed in the top twenty of your quoted Empire greatest comic book list.
    Please accept my apologies Gary I did not know that you are the arbiter of all that is worth reading, could you please furnish us with a list or an address to a site which would inform us of what we should be reading.It would save myself and others in wasting our time in reading the wrong things.

    As to female characters not being written well, your most probably right as the two characters I have mentioned in this post are written by two little known, no mark writers Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman respectively.
    I doubt they would make your list.

  • Gary

    "Please accept my apologies Gary I did not know that you are the arbiter of all that is worth reading..."

    No apologies necessary. I don't advertise my position so you wouldn't have known unless you encountered me before.

    The proof is in the pudding. Comic book title sales are what they are and the reader population is what it is. Most of the audience for these movies aren't even comic book readers. You are welcome to explain why female characters are not represented on screen other than the common sense I have presented.

  • Yojimbo

    "Comic book title sales are what they are" Which is what exactly?
    "and the reader population is what it is." according to the article that would be 47% women and who are interested in female lead stories, sounds like a good demographic to me.
    "Most of the audience for these movies aren't even comic book readers" Well if that's the case surely all you need to do is get some good writers to take advantage of that which would also answer your "Female characters are simply not written well. "

    "You are welcome to explain why female characters are not represented on screen other than the common sense I have presented." You know what they say about common sense don't you? is that its not very common.

    As to answering your last invited question, I think I'll pass due to the three letters missing from the front of the word "sense" which would create a new word that aptly sums up all your posts on this subject so far.

  • Gary

    You may read all about this in a Marvel editors interview right here...
    http://comicsalliance.com/marv...

    This article we are currently on submits a "reportedly 47%" female comic book readership. Yet female solo comics normally tank. Why? Is it the writing? It it that even the female readership prefer the male characters? Why do you think they put a female under Thor's hammer? Is this "47%" exaggerated?

    "Reportedly 47%." Yet...no female lead superhero movies. Why? It's because it is a fact that most of the movie audience have not read these comics in years to decades as they outgrew them. I would gamble that the current comic book crowd make up an extreme minority. What this means is that Marvel and DC are making these movies based on long understood movie ticket sales. Movies that have heroines such as Salt, Tomb Raider, Resident Evil, etc. are not common. This brings us to that common sense. Acknowledge that heroines do not produce the ticket revenue that studios look for because not many female actresses can pull off action.

    So we can throw out percentages and select tidbit facts found in this article all day, but in the end even the studios consider it a gamble. Marvel is certainly aware of this, hence no...women. I would assume that Warner Brothers is also skeptical of a solo Wonder Woman. Hell, DC declined to comment on the issue of female book titles in the article I submitted to you through link.

    So again...please enlighten me as to why YOU think Marvel has steered clear of female lead characters with none on the horizon. This time don't dodge it. If 47% of comic readers are female....where are the females titles and where are the female solo movies? And again...contradict the common sense.

    If you like your female heroines and feel cheated then take it out on reality, not me. Nonsense is using an article like this to have an opinion even as it contradicts the studios themselves.

  • Musikonica

    "I would assume that Warner Brothers is also skeptical of a solo Wonder Woman"

    In fact, just last year they came out and said that Wonder Woman would be too difficult for them to pull off. They probably had flashbacks to the recent Wonder Woman tv series that never got past its' pilot episode.

  • Musikonica

    They're "asking" all at once. Every blogger seems to suddenly be nearly demanding (if not actually demanding) having female leads. I'm not against female leads, I'm against seeing a group trying to force it down our throats.
    We will get more female leads, just give it some time.
    This article is also the second article on this topic that seems to think that since Kevin Feige hasn't officially announced Black Widow's movie, that he's not going to. They don't even seem to give the Marvel President any credit about how he wants to make it happen.

    "A movie starring his very own Black Widow opened on the same weekend of Comic Con and made its budget back in less than 3 days, but did Kevin Feige jump up and announce a Black Widow movie, a Captain Marvel movie, a Gamora movie, or a team-up flick where Pepper Potts and Jane Foster get together and solve crimes? No. Of course he didn't."

    Yea. Of course he didn't. Why would Feige want to announce a Black Widow movie after saying he's looking forward to doing it eventually? I don't mind equal representation. But it feels more like pushing an agenda when they leave out parts that would be inconvenient to what they're trying to say.

  • David Young

    In addition to ScarJo's Black Widow, Marvel has what appears to be another very popular character in Jaimie Alexander's Lady Sif, and yet they just don't seem very anxious to take advantage of either of these popular and well-established characters and give (at least one of them) their own movies. They would appear to have ample opportunities at hand to get a female superhero led movie into theaters well before DC is, and steal their thunder. Hell, if they're that gunshy, do a Black Widow/Sif team-up movie. I can't imagine that not being a buzz-monster.

  • Gary

    They need to translate to the screen. Given that actresses generally do not pull off action very well, moviegoers generally do not purchase tickets to these type of movies. This is why you can probably rattle off a few movie titles with female leads and that's it. They are few and far between. What may somewhat work as a comic title does not mean huge ticket sales at the box office.

  • David Young

    Well, the ones that have worked have generally had good actresses working in movies with good production values and good scripts. I think that has a lot more to do with it than that "actresses geneally do not pull off action very well." Most male "action" actors wouldn't last 30 seconds in a real fight. It's the direction and fight choreography that make them look like bad-asses. I think the same applies to females just as much.

  • Gary

    This isn't about real fights. It's about the ability to look the part.

    Females do not have a natural swing, which is why so many look awkward when throwing a football or a punch. Sure actresses can taught. Look at Scarlett Johansson and Mila Jovovich, for example. They are awesome. But they are awesome exceptions.

    If it was as simple as a choreographer then where are the female lead action heros? Females in these roles aren't easily produced. Aside from needing base talent for the job, studios have to contend with what the audience is willing to accept.

  • shaunn

    I'm a big WW fan, so I'm really concerned with how she will be presented in this movie. And don't forget that Aquaman is in this too, so it's entirely possible that WW will be no more than a glorified cameo. This being said, I'm not a big fan of Gal Gadot. I don't think she has the physical presence to be WW. Then, this past week, she posted a facebook picture of herself and her daughter extolling the virtues of the Israel Defence Force as it devastates Gaza and kills hundreds of civilians. I did not need to know that about Gadot's character. That doesn't make her a bad WW, necessarily, but it certainly makes stomaching her in the role that much harder.

  • Johnny

    So, was she lying when she called Hamas cowards for using human shields?

  • Gary

    Hamas, like so many others throughout the region, conduct their business inside busy areas for a reason. They tend to live with their families as well. But that's avoiding the point...

    If America can commence two wars in two separate countries without slaughtering out cities and without filling body bags with children as it pursues terrorists and local fighters....perhaps demanding a little more professionalism from the IDF is not so out of order? Perhaps demanding that they stop biting the hand that feeds them as they paint America into a corner is also appropriate.

    Besides, Wonder Woman doesn't translate well to screen so it really doesn't matter who plays the character.

  • Johnny

    No they use human shields so they can gin up sympathy from useful idiots. When Americans go to war, they don't take their families with them. How professional is it to take foreign aid and use them to build tunnels instead of infrastructure. She is Israeli, should she root against her own soldiers?

  • Gary

    Your argument's not with me. I said nothing about Gal Gadot's support for her country's troops.

    But notice what you did. Instead of addressing the unprofessionalism of the IDF, you instead decide to point out the unprofessionalism of using foreign aid to build tunnels. It's a denial tactic that allows one his black/white allegiance to an ideology.

    Americans don't take their families with them because they deploy. Israelis don't take their families with them because they advance. Muslims generally live where the battle zone is.

    Americans do not fill body bags with children through malicious attacks. When mistakes are made, America accepts its responsibility to the dead. One must address the issue. Either the IDF is incapable of targeting their militant enemies as a professional "western" military should or they are unprofessional enough to slaughter mass amounts of children with as little care as they are demonstrating. Unlike the past, this time Israel is not producing any evidence that these targets are military in nature. Even if they are, a single enemy or two does not equal hundreds of civilians. Target the individual, not the acreage.

    I'm all about supporting Israel as the only true democratic and free nation in the region. Israel is the only place where you will find street signs written in Arabic. Israel is the only nation where the shared official language is Hebrew and Arabic. Israel is the only nation where you will find the other religion represented in government. BUT...I am also capable of seeing things for what they are.

  • Johnny

    I originally responded to another post, THEN you put your two-cents-worth in. I didn't mention the IDFs unprofessionalism because I don't believe they are being unprofessional. What're they supposed to do, keep letting Hamas shoot rockets from hospitals and trying to kill Israelis? The only reason the Muslims live in battle zones is because they insist on making them battle zones. The Israelis have bent over backwards and they still get crapped on by useful idiots.

  • Gary

    If you don't think the IDF is being unprofessional, then you don't know professionalism. After 20 years in the Marine Corps, I am telling you that the IDF is being unprofessional.

    Of course, I am betting that the IDF could probably skin people alive on public television and you would support blindly. Either you hate Palestinians or Muslims that much or you are simply stuck in a blind supportive rut.

  • Johnny

    I served 20 years in the Air Force and I know unprofessionalism too! I'm telling you the IDF are bending over backwards to avoid civilian casualties but during a war that isn't always 100% possible. They can't just stand by while Hamas keeps rocketing their country. Once you plant weapons in a school or a hospital all bets are off. I don't think you'd mourn too loudly if it were Jewish children being killed.

  • Gary

    First of all, good on you Air Force, but you are flip flopping in fine Fox news style. I shall explain...

    Second of all, what started this latest bout was the kidnapping of 3 Israeli teenagers by an offshoot radical element (not Hamas) followed up a day later by the kidnapping of a Palestinian teenager by a criminal Israeli element (not Israeli government). This all occurred in the West Bank.

    YET...the offensive for weeks was in Gaza?

    This was because rockets came from Gaza in retaliation to Israel's arresting of Hamas officials over the kidnappings. This isn't about a military strike. Israel may preach about tunnels and rocket targeting, but the civilian death toll tells the story. This is about punishment. They knew where these tunnels are and they knew where the rockets are. Yet they are using artillery shells and wanton destruction to meet their ends? Israel has few friends left. They are doing this to themselves. There is not a single military in the entire West that can get away with a rampage. Why does Israel think it can do this with international support?

    If Hamas is the target, then stop slaughtering the population. Al-Qaeda hides within the civilian population, but Americans manage to minimize the death. Americans launch drones to target specifically militant targets without wrecking out the neighborhood. Americans launch clandestine missions to minimize civilian casualties and to ensure target destruction. The Taliban does the same, yet Americans do not fill body bags with children despite losing 3,000 Americans on a single day on 9/11. How many had Israel lost before launching a major military offensive into populations where the targets are clear and precise? Even that idiot Rumsfeld knew to keep the U.S. military away from cities on its way to Baghdad in 2003.

    For some comparison...

    Syria has been criticized for its reckless destruction and blood shed. The number of dead children have been criticized throughout the West, to include America. But now that Israel is on the side of the trigger, support, support, support? Not only is the IDF unprofessional, but critics who flip flop when a "friend" is filling the body bags with children is unprofessional.

  • Johnny

    Hamas isn't the only target, the weapons and (illegally built) tunnels are.If Hamas doesn't want civilian casualties, then don't put rocket launchers and ammo in civilian facilities. Those civilians had plenty of time to clear out, they chose to stay. Those weapons had to be destroyed. The Jordanian exiles voted Hamas Into office, and now they reap what they've sown.

  • Gary

    Much like American civilians deserved the dead on 9/11 since Americans vote? These arguments and justifications are only valid if they are universally applied. We dismiss Osama Bin Laden's justifications, but support the same justifications when used by Israel? Civilians vote so civilians reap the blood?

    You are still avoiding the point. An American UAV will wipe out its intended target along with the minimal collateral civilian damage possible. A military assault through Fallujah will target accurately the enemy with minimal civilian collateral damage.

    If the IDF was as professional as the American military, then they would do the same. They do not. Instead, they take the easy way out by wiping out entire complexes. They have allowed a bunch of rag tag Islamic militants to dictate the collateral damage that Israel inflicts. The only weapon worth anything that these Islamic militants throughout the region have against the West (and Israel) is the media camera. Clearly, Hamas is in charge of the situation. This is not the behavior of a professional military.

    Besides all of this, are you Palestinian or Israeli? Why do you care so much that you are willing to allow Israel to do what we deny our own military? You sound like a commentator on Fox news. American support for Israel should be out of obligation, not religion. This is just one of the many things that sets us apart from everybody on earth. Whether we are dealing with a Cold War dictator or a democracy, we honor our obligations. But this does not mean that we turn a blind eye whenever our allies put us on the spot. If we are to do our part for our allies, then our allies have to do their part and behave accordingly. This is the entire reason the U.S. took charge of the world after World War II. They proved incapable of doing their part after World War I.

    In regards to the IDF and the Israeli government, they have an obligation to be professional. The problem is that they are not a volunteer force. How much professionalism can there be in a conscript military full of personnel that would rather not wear a uniform? Think U.S. military during Vietnam. When Israel acts up and goes to far, Americans are hated even more and it is our civilians that wind up targeted. When does Israel think of that when they are giving the region more and more reasons to hate us? This relationship appears extremely one sided anymore.

  • Johnny

    The exiled Jordanians KNEW they were voting for terrorists when they voted them in the office.
    Apparently you care just as much about the Israeli/exiled Jordanian conflict or you wouldn't keep responding.
    No matter how precise the strikes, if you have civilians RIGHT THERE, you're going to have civilian casualties. Even when America strikes civilians often die.
    Oh and Hamas had ROCKETS AND TUNNELS! Israel didn't just start strikes for no reason.

  • shaunn

    The IDF goes in knowing that it will kill hundreds of civilians. I fully admit that the IDF could kill tens of thousands of Palestinians in an instant if it wanted to, but its restraint is hardly praiseworthy. If you want to talk about cowardice, consider how cowardly it is for one of the most powerful militaries in the world to slaughter people who have no capacity to fight back. The disparity in power between Israel and the Palestinians is almost unimaginable. If anything, this war has proved that Hamas poses virtually no threat to Israel. As for the issue of Israel responding to Hamas' rockets, there is "proportional response". Killing 2000 people in response to rockets that barely hit anything is not proportional. Beyond that, there is the larger issue of what is causing the rocket fire? Gaza has been illegally blockaded for seven years, its people have been "put on a diet" by Israel and, all the while, Israel has done everything it can to permanently subjugate Palestinians by expanding illegal settlements on Palestinian land. This entire war is occurring within a much larger context in which Israel has placed the Palestinians in unbearable circumstances and apparently plans to keep them there forever. Under these circumstances, the Palestinians certainly have a right to fight back. Ms. Gadot may not know any of this or she may not care. She has a right to support her country. But when her country is demonstrably wrong - as in almost everything Israel does is against international law - she is an unfortunate representative of a thinking human being.

  • Johnny

    That first sentence tells me all I need to know! The rockets prove Hamas has the ability to attack. The idea is to kill more of them than they kill of you. Just because there is a disparity in power doesn't give the lesser power a license to attack the more powerful. The Israelis gave them that land and Hamas still wants more. If the Jordanian exiles in Gaza didn't want to be casualties in a war, then perhaps they shouldn't have voted a bunch of warmongers into office.

  • Gary

    If you are going to use the past, you are not criticizing this fairly...

    1) "...almost everything Israel does is against international law," is a gross exaggeration.

    2) Hamas being bad with military operations is no excuse for Israel to pretend it can't hit targets either.

    Despite being the UN's longest lasting refugee case, Palestinians are not historical victims. They never were. From refusing independence in 1947, listening to Arabs leaders who told them to vacate, and allowing the 5 Arab armies to wage war for them in 1948..to expecting the PLO, Fatah, and Hamas to bring them victory through extremist and terrorist means, Palestinians have consistently made bad decisions and forced Israelis to be on the never-ending defense.

    The tragic joke in this is that, with the exception of Syria, 4 of the original Arab armies who made this an Islamic/Jewish thing instead of the Palestinian/Israeli thing that Palestinians saw it as in the beginning, have since entered into trade agreements with Israel and announced Israel's right to exist after embarrassing defeat after defeat. Palestinians, who have grown to push the religious agenda ahead of the "lost homes" issue that Arabs originally told them to vacate, have become more and more radical. Through decades of defense, Israelis have become just as radical.

    This is why an issue that did not start with Hamas or the Israeli government has escalated into the garbage you see today. Radical Palestinian offshoots kidnapped those Israeli teens, which was followed up with radical Israeli criminals who kidnapped a Palestinian teen in retaliation. Israel's response was to go after Hamas officials. Hamas launched 6 rockets to nowhere. Israel retaliated with airstrikes. What was a social criminal issue, quickly became an excuse to launch rockets back and forth between the governments until escalation is filling body bags with Palestinians once again.

    Everything has a consequence. Palestinians don't get to look towards radical elements to solve their problems and expect the dog they antagonize not to eventually bite.

    And just think how this stupid territory would look today had Palestinians...

    1...Acknowledged that after 1400 years of Arab and Ottoman rule, the UN gave Palestinians their first chance at an independent state...

    2) ...and told Arabs elsewhere to mind their own business in 1948.

  • Andre Betita

    I think you're exaggerating Wonder Woman's importance in Batman v Superman quite a bit. I doubt she'd even be in costume for longer than a total of two minutes in this movie.

    It's very obvious that DC's intention is to eventually make a franchise with Wonder Woman, and I think they're playing it smart by introducing her as a supporting character FIRST, to share the pressure evenly among other, more tried-and-proven characters. You can't blame either DC or Marvel for not jumping the gun and starting a female-led title from out of nowhere. Both companies have tried and failed before, with Catwoman and Elektra. Of course both movie's failings were due to more than just the lead being female, but the damage is done and from on high all the studios saw was that they took a risk and it backfired. It's an unfair assessment, I know, but it's the easiest practical assessment for them to make.

    As for the recent gender-bending of Thor in the comics, I don't believe for one second that the change will be permanent. It's a gimmick. If it is received particularly well, then maybe female Thor will stick around but male Thor will inevitably also come back. And when you have two Thors running around, would you rather read the adventures of the original or the knockoff? Same thing happened when Bruce Wayne "died", Dick Grayson became Batman, then Bruce came back and for a while we had two Batmen at the same time. Now nobody really remembers that it ever happened, as the status quo has reasserted itself.

    It's also not fair to say that DC's approach to female representation in comics is at a "much slower rate". Last time I checked, DC has way more female-led titles than Marvel. Even Harley Quinn has her own title now -- Harley Quinn, the (former) sidekick of a villain -- has her own title. And they also have female characters that lead more than one title: Wonder Woman has her solo and the "Superman/Wonder Woman" title, Harley has her solo and Suicide Squad, and Batgirl has her solo and "Birds of Prey".

  • Dave Baxter

    Uhm...except both Catwoman AND Elektra were both supporting characters introduced in male-driven movies first, and only then spun off into their own features. Whereas LUCY, LA FEMME NIKITA, TOMB RAIDER, etc. were all successful right out the gate. So how is this suddenly a smart maneuver? Talk about "out of nowhere". Nice cogitating there.

    The author also didn't exaggerate Wonder Woman's importance at all, he specifically wrote: "This does not mean that Wonder Woman will necessarily occupy more than a
    fraction of the movie's screentime. (We have no idea.) She might be a
    major supporting character, or she may show up for three minutes at the
    climax of whatever super-fight levels Gotham City and kills ten million
    offscreen civilians at the climax of Dawn of Justice, and urge the boys to stop fighting. We'll find out in a couple of years."

    DC used to lead in comics regarding female characters, but it's fallen off that horse of late, treating these characters as old-school cheescake, pin-ups, motivational devices for the men, and not much else.

  • Andre Betita

    The Halle Berry Catwoman was out-of-nowhere. Sure she invoked the name and likeness of a Batman supporting character but they didn't even pretend that she was in the same universe -- or remotely the same character -- as the previous incarnation. Halle Berry's Catwoman was the start (and end) of an entirely separate franchise.

    Yes, Elektra was first introduced in Daredevil, but Daredevil underperformed both critically and at the box office. She got her own title as a spin-off of a franchise that proved itself not viable -- which qualifies "Elektra" as "out of nowhere" with my intended meaning, which is "not spun-off from an already successful franchise".

    I never said that there were no successful female-led titles; I just said that both Marvel and DC tried their hand at it and failed before.

    And, sure, the writer of the article put up that "we don't know for sure" disclaimer, but immediately asserts unambiguously that Batman v Superman "beyond question, is about Wonder Woman". And I know that he's talking about the cultural significance of Wonder Woman's first appearance on the big screen, more than what role she will play in that movie's plot -- and I still disagree with what he's saying. I don't think a whole lot of people feel as strongly about Wonder Woman appearing in this movie as this article's writer seems to. People in general seem to understand that her appearance in this movie is no more than a glorified lab test for the viability of a Wonder Woman title.

    Which is what I mean when I say that I think DC is making the smart move. If they want to pay Wonder Woman the proper respect, then they'd want to make sure that her first-ever, full-length, live action movie is good, as was Superman's in 1978 and Batman's in 1989. They were fortunate for those movies to be great, but after having several misfires since then, I imagine they have since grown more aware of their fallibility. Having Wonder Woman show up in BvS is a good litmus test for what the audiences would react well to with regard this character; and so they can go into production of a full-on Wonder Woman movie better equipped with this knowledge.

  • Dave Baxter

    Daredevil was critically panned but was financially a success, look it up. The reasons why there was never a sequel were outside the simple fact of "successful" performance at the box office. And even if the movie had been a bomb, trying to define "Elektra" as "out of nowhere" because of this is wholly arbitrary - it was even the same actress for chrissakes!!! It's easy to have a theory that works when you get to make up definitions for things. Thankfully, language being communal, you don't ACTUALLY get to do that. So no, you're flatly using untrue arguments to support an unsupportable opinion.

    Catwoman may have been reimagined for her debut movie, but she was no "out of nowhere" character. The characters that WERE actually "out of nowhere" all were successful, as I listed for you in the previous post. Your stance is that it's smart to establish female characters as supporting cast before giving them a lead. I pointed out how untrue this is in practice. You come back with "it only counts for Marvel and DC"? Uh, no, it doesn't. That's why the counter-argument is Marvel and DC are being silly in sticking to these guns, when all the actual evidence, in actual practice, points to a different reality. Feel free to come back with actual evidence for your opinions, but don't redefine language to try to make it fit your purposes.

    It's fine that you want to believe what you believe (that this is smart on DC's part) but the whole argument and point of the article was how this has never proven the case in practice, and indeed it hasn't. Quite the opposite in fact, as all the actual facts of reality uphold.

  • Andre Betita

    Daredevil made money but it underperformed. You can't deny that it underperformed when it made only $179m while other movies in the same genre at the time were making $300m (X-men), $400m (X2), $820m (Spider-man), and $780m (Spider-man 2). Anyway, I'm not debating the usage of "out of nowhere" anymore. I used it casually as an expression in a specific context and while it may not have been the best possible expression to use, my meaning was clear: both Catwoman and Elektra were movies that didn't have the support of an already-successful franchise like Marvel now has with Black Widow and DC is trying with Wonder Woman.

    Not all female-led action titles that were "out of nowhere" were successful. Supergirl. Aeon Flux. Ultraviolet. Enough. Sucker Punch. Colombiana. And neither does introducing a female character in a supporting role first guarantee failure, either. We are, after all, clamoring for a Black Widow movie now when this noise was nowhere to be found before Iron Man 2. And even this fan support that the theoretical Capt.Marvel/Miss Marvel movie is getting only came about when Marvel is already 8 movies deep into proving their mega-franchise's success.

  • Dave Baxter

    If your meaning was clear we wouldn't be arguing it. You can say it was clear all you want, "out of nowhere" has a pretty specific meaning even in this magical "context" you speak of which apparently doesn't just tweak the meaning of something but outright changes it because...oh, wait, it doesn't. Nice try.

    For every COLOMBIANA there's a SALT. For every ULTRAVIOLET there's an UNDERWORLD. For every SUCKER PUNCH there's a TOMB RAIDER.

    For every IRON MAN there's a GREEN LANTERN, for every BATMAN BEGINS there's a SUPERMAN RETURNS. For every SPIDER-MAN there's a DAREDEVIL. For every HELLBOY there's an RIPD. For every THE ROCKETEER there's a THE PHANTOM.

    What's your point? Whether male or female, "out of nowhere" heroic features both bomb or go big based on criteria that has absolutely nothing to do with being introduced as minor characters within larger "proven" franchises. Either the film makers make a worthwhile film or they don't, and frankly, if you look at the titles I just posted, it's pretty obvious that quality of the final product has much more to do with a film's success on this front.

    So again, I reiterate, the point of the article is how this "strategy" - which you believe is "smart" - has no actual basis in any sort of metric or statistic. It's just blind belief that it has to be this way, and it's a somewhat misogynist belief to hold on to (that female leads require this whereas male leads do not) just for the sake of blindly believing in it.

    EDIT: Also, plenty of films "underperform" but continue on as franchises. Pacific Rim being a recent example. That alone does not necessitate a film's success or failure as a franchise.

  • Andre Betita

    "Whether male or female, "out of nowhere" heroic features both bomb or go big based on criteria that has absolutely nothing to do with being introduced as minor characters within larger "proven" franchises. "

    Jesus, I know that. I acknowledged that in my very first comment when I said that the perceived non-viability of female-led titles right out the gate is an UNFAIR assessment by the studios. I only started pointing out the female-led solo titles that failed because YOU claimed that, and I quote:

    "The characters that WERE actually 'out of nowhere' ALL were successful"

    It's not MY opinion that female-led solo titles are not viable; I'm just saying it's not hard to understand why it's the studios' viewpoint, given that they tried and failed before (just forget this whole "out of nowhere" argument; they tried female-led superhero titles -- whether as a spin-off or not -- and they failed). I'm not saying that their assessment is correct, or even fair; I'm saying it's easy for us to sit here and tell the studios what they should and should not do with their money but at the end of the day they're the ones who stand losing millions of dollars if their project fails, not us. So you can't blame them for taking every precaution they can afford.

    You're right: it doesn't matter whether or not the characters were previously introduced in supporting roles. That's not what makes or breaks a movie. As far as we audiences are concerned, that's a non-factor. I know that. But that's precisely why I don't berate the studios for doing it one way over another: because it's a non-factor for me. And we can argue all we want that it should be a non-factor for the studios, too, but it's their money that they stand to lose or gain so it's really up to them to decide.

    I would LOVE for female superheroes to come out in main starring roles without first being in supporting roles, and be successful. But in a world where that's still not happening, I'll gladly take female superheroes in supporting roles if it increases their chances of leading their own titles in the future.

    (And before you accuse this view of being sexist or misogynist, yes, I take this view with regard to "tricky" characters in general, not just the female ones. I've wanted a Hawkeye movie since forever, but I perfectly understand why Marvel would keep giving him supporting roles for now.)

  • Dave Baxter

    That quote of mine was directly referring to the examples I gave, not to all movies ever made.

    The argument still holds - yes, it is difficult to understand why the studios think this way. They tried female heroic leads and they failed. Guess what - they also tried female heroic leads and they succeeded. Same with male heroic leads. At virtually the same success/failure ratio. So that being the case it is indeed difficult to understand why the studios are sticking to this mindset, or at least to this talking point. Save for the obvious answer of unconscious (or not so unconscious) misogyny. If very probable misogyny is a non-factor for you, then we have nothing more to talk about.

    This isn't about obscure characters like Hawkeye - this is about the literal talking point, that is often repeated and put on record, of studios saying they can't do women or minority leads in big blockbuster films. They made Green Lantern. They made Iron Man and Thor. They made Daredevil. They admittedly made Elektra but only after Daredevil. Then they say they can't do Wonder Woman because she's obscure? Pull the other one.

    Are supporting roles better than no roles at all for women? Yes. Should we accept it and say nothing more because we should be grateful we're getting anything at all? Nope.

  • Jeremy Couturier

    I can certainly understand how the combination of ScarJo and Besson could top the box office. One is an very established star with a high profile role in the Marvel movie universe. The other has deftly handled females in actions roles for over 20 years.

    I just saw Gadot in Fast and Furious as was really underwhelmed by her physicality and presence. Ironic that Gina Carano, who was an absolute blackhole of charisma in that same film, was a popular suggestion to play Wonder Woman. Carano has the physical chops in spades however.

    I'm just not buying this actress in a Zack Synder movie, with his track record, is going to make me give a damn. But then again, I hope I'm wrong.

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