DC Strikes the Magic Formula with 'Wonder Woman'

Jun 19, 2017

Since its release on June 2nd, the new Wonder Woman film has broken records and grossed more than half a billion dollars at the box office worldwide. It is seen as a turning point for DC Comic movies, who audiences have often seen as falling short of their Marvel Universe competition.

Outside of the success for DC films, Wonder Woman is a massive success for women – both behind, in front of, and watching the screen. Director Patty Jenkins now holds the record for the biggest opening weekend ever for a female-helmed film. In fact, it’s the best-reviewed live-action superhero film of all time, according to Rotten Tomatoes, where the film has rated over ninety percent.

"Almost everywhere you go, everyone loves this. This is as universally loved as a film as you can get," says nationally syndicated radio host and resident film reviewer on Channel 4’s The Morning Blend, Ryan Jay.

With superhero movies becoming bigger and better than ever before, a film has to please a lot of different types of people in order to stand out in this genre, according to Jay. He notes that past DC films have not done as well because of the often darker tones they take.

"DC has not been very popular and I think it's because of tone and because of humor and they've just not had the same kind of balance, color, and brightness that Marvel has," he explains. "Wonder Woman has come out the gate and has found the most amazing balance in terms of tone, attitude, action, legend, a bit of romance...It's so perfectly balanced as a film and that it happens to be under the DC banner I think makes it this spectacular stand-out superhero film."

What of course makes Wonder Woman shine is the actress who plays her - Gal Gadot - who Jay says really encompassed so many of the strong characteristics in that character. "And not just that she was a God, but she felt and she knew how to work with people and communicate, and that's so key," he says.

Outside of show stopping stunts and battle scenes, Wonder Woman also positively displays some of the inherent differences between men and women, according to Jay.

"If we look at certain undeniable differences between men and women, women probably have some qualities that could potentially make them stronger in many ways...Even though Wonder Woman is based on a comic book and she's a fictitious character, there's still a lot of truth to who this person is as a woman, as a leader, as a role model," he says.

This film shows that the ability to be strong, stand up for justice and find your voice while also being empathetic and compassionate and loving, is not a weakness. As Wonder Woman continues to hold its own in the box office, Jay says that the success of the film and for its director, Patty Jenkins, can open the doors for more women in Hollywood.

However, Jay notes, " it's just ridiculous that this is what it took...It shouldn't take this for all the men who are running Hollywood to wake up and say, 'Wow, women can be strong directors and open a big movie.'"

However, the fact that it took almost 70 years since her comic book introduction to bring Wonder Woman to the big screen by a female director reflects the Hollywood reality. "It shouldn't matter, but we live in a world where Hollywood exists and is a political business that has historically been run by men," says Jay.

A female-lead movie has not gone by without some protests from audiences, whether it is about a women-only screening in Austin, Texas, or being banned in Lebanon because of Gadot's Israeli heritage.

"I don't understand that because it's good storytelling, it's a movie, and it's a character that we've waited our entire lifetime to see come to the big screen and to see done this well," says Jay. But as the records show, the message and composition of Wonder Woman speaks for itself.

"If DC continues to use this formula now in their films I think they struck it," says Jay.