Okay, I shouldn’t be writing right now. I should be going to bed. Tomorrow night’s Baccalaureate and Thursday night’s graduation. And my homeroom kids are graduating!! Aaaahhh!! I’ve had these kids for four years and I’m an emotional and nostalgic mess. I should be in bed. BUT I just read that Wonder Woman is currently sitting at a superhero-movie-record-setting 97% on Rotten Tomatoes!!! To give context, the best the Marvel Cinematic Universe has done on Rotten Tomatoes is Iron Man at 94%, The Avengers at 92%, Guardians Of The Galaxy at 91%, and Captain America: Civil War at 90%. (And nothing the DCEU’s offered has rated “Fresh” so far.) Now, I make no attempt to hide that I’m a Marvel guy through and through. I also can’t say I’ve been a huge fan of what the DCEU’s offered so far. But I want Wonder Woman to hold this place and take this title. DC deserves this.
Why am I pulling for Marvel’s would-be competitors here? It’s not because the DCEU is the underdog in this situation. To my mind they deserve to be behind. Marvel invented the shared universe game with Iron Man in 2008 and then built slowly towards The Avengers in 2012. They created characters we loved who felt like their comic counterparts and placed them in a rich world with ever-increasingly connected stories. Warner Bros. and DC have been jealous of the box office success of Marvel and have rushed to play catch-up. As a result, to me anyway, the DCEU’s felt rushed/cluttered/sloppy (Batman v. Superman: Dawn Of Justice) or it has failed to capture the tone and spirit of the character (Man Of Steel (although I did think Suicide Squad was a lot better than it gets credit for)). I know they’re trying to be DIFFERENT than Marvel, and that’s fine. But it’s not really my taste. Anyway, they want to jump right into the team-up game as fast as possible without giving us any sense of real universe building. I mean c’mon…we had Suicide Squad, a film comprised entirely of BATMAN VILLAINS before we even had a DCEU Batman MOVIE. But I’m digressing. With Wonder Woman the DCEU is giving us something we should’ve had a loooooooong time ago – a female-led superhero movie. For that, I hope they’ve done the story of Wonder Woman justice and created a legitimate hit around a female character. And Marvel can suck it.
DC deserves this win. There is NO REASON Marvel shouldn’t have beaten DC to the punch here years ago, outside of blatant sexism. I say this with much love in my heart for the MCU but it’s total bullshit. Next year, when Avengers: Infinity War comes out, it will mark TEN YEARS of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and there’s no reason they shouldn’t have had several female-led superhero movies in that time. Scarlett Johansson has been saying for years that she’d be up for a Black Widow solo movie. Marvel’s also introduced the Scarlet Witch into the MCU. Plus, they have a huge roster of incredible female characters they should give the big screen treatment to. What about Captain Marvel?!? Yes, yes, I know we’re getting a Captain Marvel movie in 2019 with Brie Larson. But 2019?!? Captain Marvel is one of Marvel’s most exciting characters! What world are we living in where anyone really thought we needed an Ant Man movie before Captain Marvel? They even opened up the cosmic end of the MCU in 2014 with Guardians Of The Galaxy! Bringing Captain Marvel in shortly after would allow the Guardians corner of the MCU to grow and keep it all from being so Avengers-centric.
AND we can’t overlook that Marvel’s only getting to the FIRST Captain Marvel movie after they will have made THREE films apiece for the Cap, Iron Man, Thor, and Avengers series and TWO films apiece for Guardians and Ant Man. They are also kicking off the Dr. Strange and Black Panther franchises before they let Carol Danvers have her moment in the sun. They will have made TWENTY SUPERHERO MOVIES before they had ONE starring a female superhero. Take a second to let that sink in.
But it’s not just Captain Marvel they’ve overlooked. What about Ms. Marvel or Squirrel Girl or Mockingbird or Patsy Walker, A.K.A. Hellcat or Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur or She-Hulk or how about spinning Rescue out of the Iron Man films or Crystal and Medusa highlighting the Inhumans already or even someone newer like Singularity or America Chavez?? Why have none of these movies come out yet?? It’s not like Marvel can say these characters are too little known either because they’re already building franchises out of Dr. Strange and Ant Man. Hell, the strength of the MCU is what they were able to build since Fox had the rights to the X-Men and the Fantastic Four while Sony had Spider-Man. As far as I’m concerned the best movie they’ve made, hands down, has been Guardians Of The Galaxy – a team I literally didn’t know existed before I started seeing the trailers with characters I’d never heard of (save Gamora). So, Marvel Studios works wonders with their lesser known characters. They’ve spun them into box office gold and followed the movies’ success with new exciting comic series featuring the same characters. They can easily do the same with any of the women I mentioned above.
All Kevin Feige and the people over at Marvel Studios will say is it’s all about “timing” and they really want to make sure they “get it right” because the character “deserves” that. Well, you know what? Fuck that. They’re lying. It has everything to do with putting female characters on the back burner and offering bullshit excuses as they do it. For all the missteps the DCEU has made in its rush to catch-up to Marvel, they are at least aware of Wonder Woman’s importance in the DC Trinity and are treating her as the central character she is by putting her in the spotlight. And for that, yeah, I absolutely hope they do kick Marvel’s ass. Because Marvel deserves to have their asses handed to them here. Wonder Woman is important. She deservedly stands alongside Superman and Batman in cultural clout and comic narrative importance. And both DC and Warner Bros. are giving her the attention she deserves. In fact, we are getting the Wonder Woman movie BEFORE the Justice League movie and before A SOLO DCEU BATMAN MOVIE. Let that sink in too. For decades DC and Warner Bros. have only banked on the Bat, with Supes showing up from time to time. But they are moving Wonder Woman into the spotlight where she belongs. They believe in a strong, fascinating, important female character, something Marvel apparently a) doesn’t know how to do, b) doesn’t believe in themselves, or c) isn’t brave enough to do.
Okay, yes, Warner Bros. hasn’t been marketing Wonder Woman the way they should have. They’ve dumped more into advertising for November’s Justice League than they have Wonder Woman which comes out FRIDAY. And yes, in Batman v. Superman: Dawn Of Justice Wonder Woman was allllll over the advertisements and played a comparatively small role in the movie. But at least they are giving her a solo movie. And if the early critical acclaim proves true, Patty Jenkins, Gal Gadot, and company have knocked this one out of that park! This is as much about giving comic fans what we all deserve to see (a classic character brought to the big screen) as it is about social justice (fighting for and believing in equality between women and men). The idea that female superheroes aren’t as exciting or don’t market as well or whatever is all just bullshit. It’s a blatant sign of sexism that undercuts and undervalues incredible characters as well as women in general. Wonder Woman may very well be the one to deliver us from this evil. As the tagline for the film promises, justice begins with her.
So, yes, I’ll say it publicly and I’ll say it proudly. Marvel Studios, you’ve dropped the ball. You’ve done it for far too long. I’m not being hyperbolic when I say it embarrasses me as a fan and as human being. You can sell whatever P.R. line you want but we all know that’s all it is – a line. DC and Warner Bros. have bested you here. And you deserve to lose. I hope Wonder Woman‘s every bit as incredible as the advance reviewers have said. I hope fans flock to it and I hope it crushes the box office too. Wonder Woman, as a character, deserves it. We, as comic fans, deserve it too. And Marvel, maybe you need to be knocked from your pedestal for a moment or two. Maybe you need to rethink your approach. It would be the most wonderfully poetic turn of events if it was the once awkward DCEU and a female superhero who were the ones to knock you down too. Maybe then, wrapped in a lasso of truth forged of box office returns and critic and fan praise alike, you’ll finally have to acknowledge what you’ve been wrong about all along and you’ll actually start to see just how powerful female superheroes can be.