In the last 30 years there have been over 100 superhero movies, the genre is thriving. Of those hundred, less than half a dozen have been based on female superheroes. So, where is Wonder Woman?
In that same 30 years, two different actors have played Spiderman, three different actors have played Superman and the Hulk, four different actors have played Batman and Hollywood can't come up with one decent Wonder Woman? Excuses range from it's unfilmable to the right script has not come in - really?
Ask any little boy who his favorite Superhero is and you hear Superman, Batman, Spiderman, Hulk, or maybe even the Green Lantern. Ask a little girl the same questions and most will give the name of a Disney Princess. Yes, boys and girls are diffrent, but imagine all the encouragement spawned by the simple childhood dream that they can save the day, the boy and the world.
Leslie and I have this debate on and off and I fully realize one reason why there is going to be an ANTMAN movie before there is a Wonder Woman movie: no man can write it nor should try. I don't have a solid answer, I'm just a guy, but I do have some suggestions.
Enter Supergirl, Tank Girl, Catwoman and Electra. If Oscar winner Halle Berry and Jennifer Garner, at the pinnacle of Alias popularity, could not make a female superhero movie a winner, why would Hollywood take the gamble? It’s a lose\lose; the studio feels it's wasting it's money and the starlet gets a huge black mark on her carrier. Forget all of the failures and full steam ahead because what the genre needs is good writers.
Enter Jane Espenson, Diablo Cody, JK Rolling, Tina Fey, Sofia Coppola, Amy Sherman-Palladino and Kathryn Bigelow. That’s a good list, right? The unfortunate truth is that most of those names don’t carry enough weight for a big budget blockbuster, but a Wonder Woman movie doesn’t need to have a big budget.
The heart of any good comic book is its story. That’s where a female superhero movie could wipe the floor with Iron-Man, Batman and the Hulk combined. The magic movie formula doesn’t need special effects, skin tight leather or stiletto heels (seriously, how the hell do you run in those?). It needs a strong character from a good writer who knows what the hell she is doing. This formula may take more than one good hit to open the flood gates on a slew of female centric films.
Enter Black Window, Zatanna, Lady Mechanica and Miss Martian. I’m glad the Wonder Woman TV show flopped. Wonder Woman is the Holy Grail of female comic books; it needs to be a movie. Superhero movies are the gold standard. Superhero movies live on well past their release date, spur debate when rebooted and spawn spinoffs that should lead to more female superhero movies.
Scarlett Johansson has done an excellent job as Black Widow. A prequelish or side adventure could be a great starting point for a female centric superhero movie. Imagine a gritty Black Widow spy movie directed by Katherine Bigelow. Imagine Zatanna, sans the top hat, as a sort of Hermione with a Buffy the Vampire attitude written by Jane Esperson and, poof, you have Zatanna. Lady Mechanica - by now we’ve earned some cred and maybe some funds for a bit of special effects in a female centric superhero movie; so, Diablo Cody can write the witty dialog and Sophia can have a period piece ala Indania Jones. Miss Martian seems like a good fit for Tina Fey or Amy Sherman-Palladino. All these heroines are ones that if you ask a little girl who they are, with the exception of Black Widow, will get you a funny look. Little girls need a well written Wonder Woman.
Enter Wonder Woman. Hollywood should not be timid of a strong woman superhero character who can save the day, save the guy and save the world. The potential for a long living tent pole blockbuster is there, it just needs to be written by the right woman. It's a time when every little girl, big sister or mom should be asking Hollywood: Where is Wonder Woman? #WhereisWonderWoman