It’s mind blowing to think that when it comes to major comic book movies taking a risk, DC and Warner Brothers is actually about to edge out Marvel. This is a bona fide fact. Marvel Studios is the industry pioneer and founder when it comes to superhero movies and cinematic world building. They took the first step introducing successful hits like Iron Man and The Avengers. The world saw great stories and flocked to the MCU. DC is late to the party but trying to catch up.
So Marvel is the pioneer and leader, we established that. But DC beating Marvel? How?
Two Words: Wonder Woman.
A Solo Female Superhero Movie will soon be upon us and I cannot wait. For too long it has been a sausage fest and people are damn near sick of it. A super powered woman of high caliber is going to add great value to any cinematic universe. And no, this isn’t me saying we need eye candy. New plots and dynamics will be opened up. A better balanced cast will grace the screen. We genuinely need to diversify our superhero characters. 50% of the population is girl, so why can’t 50% of the screen be the same way.
For whatever reason Marvel (and Disney) has been reluctant to invest in a key solo film for one of their female characters. Black Widow is a beloved favorite by fans everywhere but she hasn’t gotten a solo film and she had to be slowly introduced into the MCU, all the way back to Iron Man 2. The Wasp had her name tagged on to the Ant-Man sequel, a tactic by Marvel hoping more will be drawn to the sequel. But no solo film, not till Captain Marvel premieres in freaking 2019. Holy Odin that is a long ways away.
It doesn’t make sense why Marvel is moving so slow. The comics industry is rapidly growing because girls are a market now being utilized. Doubling the population of people to sell to will do that. There was a social media outrage when Black Widow merchandise wasn’t being sold during the release of Avengers: Age of Ultron. A survey by Fandango and USA Today found that a massive 48% of people want to see Natasha Romanoff in her own solo film. People want to see a female superhero.
If Marvel is afraid to green light a female hero because of past failures then let’s review those failures.
- Any pre-2000 doesn’t count for reasons you can probably guess. CGI wasn’t a major thing yet and Marvel dwelled in obscurity.
- Agent Peggy Carter – This show drove me up the wall. It was so boring and irrelevant to the MCU I stopped watching after two episodes. She had no powers and isn’t a major player in the Marvel Universe. Of course it failed. If the same show came out and it was about a guy who founded SHIELD, is still would’ve bombed.
- Invisible Woman (1st and 2nd Gen)- The Fantastic Four movies failed overall due to poor plot lines and bad directing. Not because the Invisible Woman graced the screen.
- Jessica Jones- This is a bit tricky. No, I don’t think Jessica Jones was a failure, I thought Netflix did a great job. The issue is that Season One was all about JJ finding strength to overcome sexual assault trauma and Purple Man. It was a very non-traditional story that you definitely should not market to kids. Jessica Jones is not a good test to see how the public would respond to a female hero on the big screen.
- Quake – Daisy Johnson is still kicking as my favorite on-screen female superhero, however she alone can’t carry the show. Plus she wasn’t allowed to be Quake (the superhero) until two to three seasons in. Agents of SHIELD isn’t a good measure of a solo female superhero’s success in a film.
- Elektra- Almost forgot about this one. This was pre-Marvel Studios, coming out in 2005. Mishandled by the hit-or-miss 20th Century Fox (See Fantastic Four).
So there you have it. There is absolutely no reason, historical context or evidence to suggest that a female superhero, handled by Marvel Studios, would bomb on the big screen. The characters in the past were either ruined by a know-nothing non-comics studio, were boring choices, or are not catered to mass cinematic audiences.
Maybe Marvel is actually feeling ill equipped to deliver that solo female hero. Off the top of my head the big names that jump out at me are Captain Marvel and Spider-Woman. If you google a list of female heroes, not to many big names jump out at you. All of the X-Women are locked away at 20th Century Fox. The Wasp is getting there, Scarlet Witch has a little screen time and She-Hulk is bit of a stretch. This challenge of finding the right, well established, female hero stems from neglect of female heroes in the last century.
This is where DC comes in. They almost have it easy having the most successful female superhero of all time: Wonder Woman. Men and women alike love this character in both the comics and the movies. Gal Gadot was hands down the best thing about Batman vs Superman. So despite DC being late to the party, they’re bringing the most popular and sought-after guest: a great female superhero.
I cannot wait for Wonder Woman to come out and I know it will be a great success. Marvel Comics and Marvel Studios have some work to do if they are to match the powerful punch that is Wonder Woman.