Wonder Woman hit our screens just last week and the response has been overwhelmingly positive from fans and critics alike. Reports indicate that the weekend’s box office takings sit at $100.5 million, and it has broken the box office record for the opening weekend of a film directed by a woman. I thoroughly enjoyed it, wept copiously, laughed at all the appropriate moments and definitely wanted to cheer as Wonder Woman made her way through No Man’s Land. I was most certainly a fan.
I’d be the first to admit that the film has its flaws, the final third felt a little loose, the dialogue between the German antagonists verged on hammy and I really wish they had chosen not to call Eugene Brave Rock’s character Chief. I would also like to see comics and comic book movies move beyond the idea that a physical disfigurement or disability can and should be a visual shorthand for someone being evil.
However, there was a lot to celebrate about the film, not only in comparison to other big superhero franchise movies but also in terms of how well Patty Jenkins managed to realize these characters, locations and stories. I left the cinema wanting more. In particular I would love to have spent more time Themyscira, meeting other Amazons and exploring the relationship between Diana and her mother and aunt. I would have liked to have seen the non-white Amazons given bigger speaking roles and for the film to have explored the dynamics of society on the island in more detail.
Which is why I am delighted to read that Jenkins and Gadot are under contract for a second Wonder Woman movie. Jenkins has previously said that a sequel would see Wonder Woman in America and whilst this doesn’t necessarily mean my wish for more time in Themyscira will be granted I might get a flashback or two.
I am particularly excited by the prospect of a second Wonder Woman film because of the overwhelming significance that was placed on the success of the first. Because of the lack of woman-led superhero films, because of the enduring problematic representation of women in comics and the cinematic adaptations, and because of the fact that some comic book fans would rather women were excluded from their fandom, our expectations for this first film were immense. There is a pressure for perfection that just isn’t there for superhero films featuring men. Spiderman doesn’t have to be the PERFECT version of the character or even of a superhero film, because there will be another one next year (or even in six months time). Whereas with Marvel pushing back the release of Captain Marvel multiple times, and very few other female-led superhero films it was no wonder that Gadot and Jenkins’ first outing took on such significance to fans and critics alike. For those of us who want to see more women in our comic book films we needed it to be a good film so as to silence the haters, for those who would rather women were not in comics then even the slightest flaw would be ripe for criticism.
Personally, I’m looking forward to Wonder Woman 2 and I even hope that there is scope for a third one. Perhaps by the time that comes out we won’t see as much surprise that a film about a powerful woman, directed by a woman, was quite such a roaring success.