With the release of Wonder Woman in cinemas has surely come a renaissance for female leads in superhero films. Thirteen years ago, Catwoman performed disastrously at the box office, and ended up with a loss of $18m. Subsequently, female superheroes were consigned to a side role in the interim, as the Batman franchise that was rebooted a year later majestically swept aside all comers.
In the entire history of cinema, femininity has always been associated with vulnerability. Although director Patty Jenkins has clearly made certain to give the eponymous Wonder Woman (formerly an Amazonian warrior by the name of Diana) the same sense of vulnerability. Yet, her method of character development finely balances this with battle-readiness and ferocity, ensuring a blanket appeal to audiences of all ages, tastes and genders.
Diana’s empathy for humans is also an excellent foil to her aggression. She is an uncomplicated protector, with no ambiguity in her character, and the audience has no cause to question her true motives. Ultimately, her character represents a back-to-basics approach that cannot fail to convert cynical cinemagoers into believers in a franchise that has remained criminally overlooked for years. The film’s World War I setting, and the ideal of love conquering a war-torn world, is also represented well through the onscreen chemistry enjoyed between Diana (Gal Gadot) and Steve Trevor (Chris Pine).
Tellingly, Wonder Woman has already exceeded half a billion dollars gross worldwide, and even features on a casino game site (as Wonder Woman Gold). Such is its popularity as a merchandising tool – along with several other films and TV shows – that some sites have even seen fit to offer five no-deposit spins for a range of themed games. Where the fans of the franchise are concerned, they are already wondering exactly how the inevitable sequel can emulate the quality of its predecessor.
A multitude of reports state that Jenkins is already in negotiations with Warner Bros to direct a sequel. There are also further claims that she and Geoff Johns (of DC Films) are currently writing a treatment for it, and this has only served to heighten speculation about how exactly the sequel could follow on from the original.
Though no sequel has been given a green light yet, Patty Jenkins has even gone as far as naming the United States as a setting for the second film. Though nothing specific has been stated, it is anticipated that the next film will be set in the immediate aftermath of World War I. In time, Jenkins may become a victim of her own success, but regardless, she has reinvented and rejuvenated the female superhero for a future generation. Though simplistic, Gadot’s representation of Diana is now the proverbial bar.
I am the Founder and Editor-in-chief of New Rising Media. You can follow me on Twitter @MrJasonEngland.