Was "Wonder Woman" Only Critically "Good" Because It Had a Female Lead?
Before you think I'm about to say something mean, know that I appreciated Wonder Woman and would have were it a male lead. Gal Gadot is awesome. I raved about her in the Fast and Furious days to a bunch of people frightened all their movie stars had to be American or they weren't "good."
Which brings me to this question posed in the title. How many moviegoers, or home renters, home streamers, whatever you call them, appreciated Wonder Woman only because it had a female lead character? People who weren't into comic book movies nor action movies? What made Diana, this take on Wonder Woman, so special? What makes Diana's stylishly directed walk across the trenches any more remarkable than The Matrix action sequences in 1999? Right, right... men did the cool stuff in the action sequences.
I'm convinced, and saying this as someone who has a copy of this movie for safekeeping, people supported it because of her gender and would not have gotten into the movie were it about like, a white guy living the same story. Wonder Woman isn't really much different than any fairly entertaining comic book film like 2002's Spider-Man. Patty Jenkins, according to the media, is the first female director of any comic book studio movie ever. And that statement leads me to questioning people again, did you only support this movie because a female director made it–and if so, how does that really help female directors if their work can't stand on its own gender-free?
On with the mini review for those who have yet to see it. Diana, played by Gal Gadot, lives on an island only inhabited by know-it-all, very athletic women speaking every human language. You wish we saw more of these women later in the film; we dump them behind around half an hour into the "motion pic-jah" once Diana leaves with her boy toy spy seeking out to slay the god of war. He thinks she's a little off her rocker. She's convinced the god of war is causing World War I.
I might get excited reversing this. Alexander Skarsgard leaving the island of men with his new spy babe onto WWI! Cool action stuff! Explosions! Arson! The god of war plotline! Love! Adventure! Cool comic book stories aren't male or female. They are. They exist.
We shouldn't require a female lead to make women around the world appreciate action movies. Good directing is good directing. According to Ms. Gadot...
Only a female director can tell a woman's story.
Again, this has to be for the sake of marketing. Handfuls of famous works move me written by men and women in equal numbers. As a Pedro Almodóvar fan, don't say that man is inadequate telling women's stories. Ms. Jenkins directed Charlize Theron to an Oscar with Monster. Clearly, being female isn't a requirement to make a solid action movie post-#metoo, or everyone with an F on their state ID/license could do it. We should acknowledge Ms. Jenkins is amazing as she is because she is good at her job.
All of which leads me here to the end. Why must a good movie be marketed like this to get everyone excited? The marketing says to me, "Women are not the same. Women directors can't make 'normal' movies. Women leads can't act like your favorite action heroes." None of that is true. Here's hoping Wonder Woman 2 gets marketed as what it probably will be: a great film!
And yes, my guys and dolls, when you view this as the movie itself, you'll love it.