With the staggering financial and critical success of 2017’s new Wonder Woman film, DC has much to be proud of. Wonder Woman, Diana Prince has always been an icon of female empowerment, but the success of this film brings significant hope to the female characters of comic book franchises. There are plenty of empowering, powerful female characters in the universes of both DC and Marvel comics, but they have been woefully under-represented amongst the ranks of solo-superheroes and villains. Agent Peggy Carter had a short-lived tenure as the solo lead of the television series, Agent Carter, but until Wonder Woman, there was a significant lack of female-driven superhero movies on the silver screen. The history of Hollywood is dominated by the assumption that a female lead cannot carry a movie to success at the box office. Thanks to Wonder Woman, that glass ceiling is ready to be shattered by super-women.
Marvel fans have been clamoring for a solo Black Widow movie since the character was introduced to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Throughout the course of several Marvel films, fans have been teased with hints at Black Widow’s intricate and compelling backstory. For a character who has not received the characterization-heavy, origin films like her male counterparts, much of her role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is closely connected to her personal history. Scarlet Johansson’s portrayal of Black Widow has been well-received, and with Johansson’s A-list star power, a Black Widow solo movie seems like a logical conclusion. The lack of a Black Widow movie has often been connected to Hollywood’s lack of faith in a female-driven action movie. However, Wonder Woman’s success has disproved that stereotypical myth. Hopefully, Marvel will follow DC’s lead, so that a Black Widow movie will be close on the horizon.
Another popular female comic book character is DC’s Harley Quinn. The character appeased in the 2016 film adaptation, Suicide Squad, but the film was met with only moderate box office success, and much negative criticism. A lot of the criticism aimed at the film was based around outrage at the treatment of fan-favorite character, Harley Quinn. Margot Robbie’s performance as Harley Quinn was energetic and compelling, but the screen writing often fell prey to antiquated, misogynistic themes and visual representations. Since the release of Suicide Squad, fans have been clamoring for a solo Harley Quinn solo. Perhaps an even better alternative is in the works, however. Gotham City Sirens, a film following three of the DC universe’s most notorious female villains, is currently in the works at DC. And after the huge success of Wonder Woman, fans can hold out hope for the financing and effort DC will now be able to place in Gotham City Sirens. While group films like Gotham City Sirens is certainly a step in the right direction, fans continue to hold out hope that DC will eventually produce a solo Harley Quinn film.
Wonder Woman’s success aside, it should not have taken Hollywood producers this long to realize that a female-driven action film could be marketable. Even more than that, Wonder Woman was directed by the incredible, Patty Jenkins, demonstrating the value and need for more female representation in Hollywood. When women get to tell women’s stories, the result is more honest and relatable artistry. That is a factor that comes across clearly in Wonder Woman, and it is clearly well-received by the public.