If you were to make a list of the most iconic superheroes of all time, there’s zero doubt that Wonder Woman would at least be in the Top 5. Interestingly enough, though, Steel, Howard the Duck, and other obscure comic book characters all got live-action theatrical movies before Diana Prince. Sure, Lynda Carter brought Wonder Woman to life on the small screen and that character has been featured in various animated projects. Wonder Woman wouldn’t make the leap to the big screen until 2016’s Batman v Superman, though, and even then she was only a supporting player.
After years of being absent from the silver screen, Wonder Woman has dominated 2017, playing a major role in not one, not two, but three movies. Of course there was her solo film from director Patty Jenkins, which received overwhelming praise from fans and critics alike. The character’s origins were also explored in the biopic Professor Marston and the Wonder Women. Come November, she’ll be appearing alongside Batman, The Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg in Justice League. This begs the question, “why is 2017 the year of Wonder Woman?”
Perhaps it’s because Wonder Woman represents everything we had hoped 2017 would bring for womankind and humanity on the whole. Women have made incredible strides over the past few years. Sure, things are still far for perfect and many issues remain persistent, i.e. equal pay, sexual discrimination, etc. While we have a long way to go, it’s important to look at how far we’ve come as well.
Some of the biggest movies of recent years have centered on strong female characters, such as The Hunger Games, Frozen, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Some of the most popular modern TV shows revolve around female ensembles, including The Handmaid’s Tale, Orange is the New Black, and Broad City. Outside of the fictional realm, there are numerous women that have broken new grounds. Kathryn Bigelow became the first female to win a Best Director Oscar for The Hurt Locker. Gabby Douglass became the first American gymnast to win solo and team all-around gold medals at the same Olympics. Just last year, Hillary Clinton almost became the first female President of the United States… almost.
In many respects, it felt like our society was building towards putting a woman in the White House and 2017 would mark the beginning of a new era. Alas, that wasn’t the case. I’ll be the first to admit that Hillary Clinton probably wouldn’t have been a perfect leader and if you don’t agree with her politics, fair enough. One thing is for certain, though. If Hillary had been elected, the image of a glass ceiling breaking would’ve stuck with the world forever. Sadly, we’ll have to wait a while longer to see that glass ceiling shatter. Since we were deprived of this image, people have needed another beacon of inspiration. This is where Wonder Woman comes it.
Folks like James Cameron can criticize Wonder Woman all they want, claiming that she’s sexualized and not a feminist icon. The fact of the matter is, though, that Wonder Woman has inspired more people than most real life individuals. She’s not just a feminist icon, but a role model for both sexes. She’s not a hero that’s motivated by guilt, emotional turmoil, or personal gain. She’s a person that’s simply motivated to do what’s right. Patty Jenkins and actress Gal Gadot couldn’t have done a better job at getting this across in their movie. In many respects, Wonder Woman has become everything Superman used to be before he got all gloomy. Even if you took Diana’s powers and outfit out of the equation, she would still be a symbol for hope, courage, selflessness, empowerment, and love. After the disappointment that was 2016, Wonder Woman is the hero that 2017 needs.