ComiConverse Expert Contributor.
Wonder Woman has been a female icon in popular culture for generations. But can she help the DCEU expand its audience successfully? Our Joseph Gioeli is here to look at Wonder Woman’s effect on the DCEU.
Wonder Woman: The DCEU’s Secret Weapon
Since the dawn of comic books, it has been primarily a “boy’s club”, which no one seemed to mind; until recently.
Over the past few decades, more and more women have developed an evident fondness for comic books and the heroes in them. Some say that over 45% of the people buying comic books and attending conventions are women.
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While we don’t have any market research, the eyes don’t lie. If you go to conventions and comic book stores, more and more female readers are emerging. They are starved for content and looking for content they can relate to.
-Axel Alonso, Marvel’s editor-in-chief
This is where the much newer DCEU can gain the advantage on the MCU.
As a disclaimer, I am going “by the book” and considering the first film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to be Iron Man in 2008 and the first film the DC Extended Universe to be Man of Steel in 2013. Therefore, Marvel’s attempt at a female-led film in Elektra will not be counted (probably how most Marvel fans would want it anyways).
That being said, there has never been a film focused solely on a female lead inside the MCU. Many times, this is simply overlooked because of the strong female roles within the films such as Pepper Potts in the Iron Man movies, and Natasha Romanoff in roughly 25% of the MCU films.
Being one of Marvel’s most popular female character, Black Widow standalone projects have been rumored, but nothing has come to fruition yet.
The DCEU’s fourth live-action film will be Wonder Woman which is set to release on June 2, 2017. The Amazonian Princess has already had a prominent role in the DCEU in Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), and will continue to be a featured character in the upcoming Justice League movies.
The DCEU film to precede Wonder Woman also had a strong focus on a female character, but closer to how the MCU was presenting female stars. Suicide Squad (2016) used Margot Robbie portraying Harley Quinn as one of their most prominent advertising points, next to Will Smith as Deadshot, and clearly it worked seeing as how Suicide Squad held a top five spot in the domestic box office for six weeks and held the number one spot for three consecutive weeks, bringing in well over $720 million worldwide since it premiered.
The DCEU has seen mainly less-than-stellar reviews on their three live-action films thus far. Many say the plot is too dark and serious (Batman vs Superman) or that the storyline is weak (Suicide Squad), but introducing Wonder Woman in Batman vs Superman seemed to intrigue quite a few fans and get them excited for her upcoming solo movie, especially female fans.
This film could be what differentiates the DCEU from the MCU and set a new comic book movie standard while also putting the DCEU into better graces with fans and critics.
They also need to do so without copying the Marvel’s approach verbatim. If they lighten up the tone and make it more “PG”, fans will continue to lose interest in the cinematic adaptations of their favorite heroes.
Introducing a movie dedicated solely to a female lead, with a male supporting role, is something that is not done very often, especially in comic book movies, simply because many see those as the “less popular” comics. I would be willing to bet that the roughly 45% of female comic book fans would beg to differ.
This venture is how the DCEU can solidify their identity without having to take plays right out of the MCU playbook.
Joseph Gioeli is a Contributor to ComiConverse. Follow him on Twitter: @joegioeli