DC nails Wonder Woman but fails women with Justice League

Superhero movies and television shows are more popular than ever.

The most recent Marvel movie Thor: Ragnarok made 121 million dollars in its opening weekend domestically. People of all genders are embracing the world of heroes and villains. So why is the superhero industry so focused on male heroes? And how are women treated in the Marvel and D.C. universes?

The first Iron Man movie came out in 2008. Since then, Marvel has made no movies with a female lead.

Even though most of the fan base has lobbied for a Black Widow film since the first Avengers movie came out in 2011, D.C., only recently produced their first female main character: Wonder Woman.

Wonder Woman did better in the box office than Batman v. Superman, Man of Steel, and Justice League, earning 346.1 million dollars in the first 31 days. In comparison, Batman v. Superman made 321 million dollars in the first five weeks. So, if a female starring movie did better financially than a male-centered movie, what excuse does the superhero industry have?

Most male and female audiences would like more female-driven superhero films.

“I think a big thing is writing a good character,” said ARHS junior Spencer Cliche. “Male or female, there needs to be good writing all around. There have mostly been male writers who write about men. There aren’t enough women in the industry to portray women. There should be more.”

There are so many different kinds of male characters in superhero films, that usually men can find a superhero that they can relate to.

On the other hand, the kind of female character in superhero movies is usually sexy or  mysterious, either a sidekick or a romantic interest for the male main character.

“I want a really tough woman who doesn’t have that aspect of romance,” said junior Sophie Schweik. “For me, the idea of being romantic doesn’t make someone weak. But it is less powerful I think.”

Wonder Woman offered up less of that trope in the first film. She did have a romantic interest, but her love life was deemphasized and her fighting skills were front and center.

Sadly, D.C. did not keep that up in Justice League.

“There was one woman [in Justice League] and every shot of her was either her boobs or her butt,” said ARHS senior Eliza Carson. “They showed Batman walking out of a plane but they did a close up of Wonder Woman’s butt and Batman in the back round.”

In Justice League almost every male character also made a sexual comment toward Wonder Woman.

D.C. also plays up similar roles in the show The Flash.

“The show isn’t written very well.  They like to couple off women. It’s like you need a boyfriend or we can’t handle you,” said Carson.

“That show is done in such a weird, comic book way. It’s hard to latch on to the female characters. The women, or maybe every character always needs to be in a relationship. It’s usually older men and young attractive women.”

Interestingly, Wonder Woman had a female director and costume designer, while Justice League had a male director and costume designer.

Those I spoke with agreed that having a well-written female character speaks to audiences.

“As a girl, I [notice that there are] too many male characters and bad treatment of female characters, so I don’t want to pay for it,” said Carson. “Wonder Woman was [the opposite.] It was so good. I was thrilled to watch it. It was innovative and finally let a woman’s story be told.”