Wonder Woman and the Alamo
It’s the final run-up to the premiere of Wonder Woman and the hype has reached palpable levels. Cruising around LA a couple of weeks ago, nearly every street corner had either a billboard erected or a wall was plastered with posters offering up the release date of the newest entry to the DC lexicon. Now, that nasty ‘day before embargo’ still has me of the mind that it’s not going to be much of an improvement over the other DC films thus far but I digress. I mean, it can’t possibly be the worst, but an embargo like that only exists when no one has any faith in the movie. However, that can’t derail the hype train so, of course, the opening of the movie must instead become mired in controversy. The controversies should be addressed but I feel there’s certainly more good to take away from this than not.
It’s About Time!
Praise the gods, Princess Diana is FINALLY getting her big screen debut! Regardless of how long it took, we’re about to dive into Themyscira and two hours of Wonder Woman. In a genre that’s so heavily dominated by male characters, it seems strange that it’s taken this much time for a female superhero to get her own film since the viewership for most comic book films is almost 50/50 between men and women. This is a milestone in blockbuster cinema and it is something that deserves celebrating. Not just that Wonder Woman is finally getting her well-earned screen time but female characters are carving out their chunk of the superhero film world. WB/DC are really counting on Diana to rake in some major dough since they haven’t exactly been knocking their past couple of films out of the park, box office wise. Unfortunately, this brings me to my next point.
Women HAVE to Turn Up
The main reason that it took so long for Wonder Woman to snag her solo film and why it’s still not until next year (at least) that Miss Marvel gets her solo shot, is that studios still think in the antiquated notion of ‘winning the female viewer’. Ryan Reynolds (god bless him) talks about when making Deadpool, he argued with executives about whether or not there was enough of a love story to ‘pull the women in’. Like Reynolds goes on to say, they seem to not understand, regardless of demographics, that women are turning out anyway. It’s with this depressing realization that the female audience is now forced to turn out en masse to ensure the box office numbers are through the roof. Let’s just be frank for a minute. There’s going to be a large chunk of men who won’t want to go see a female superhero for whatever asinine reason they want to offer. As I’ve already stated above, I think this movie is going to be a wreck like the rest of the DC outings, but that’s not going to stop this nerd from showing up to either be smug or eat my words. It actually makes me kind of depressed that audiences will have to come and support this movie, regardless of quality, just to ensure that female superhero films can get made. Which brings me to my next point…
Alamo Drafthouse and Women Only
Let’s talk about the elephant in the room here. American theater chain Alamo Drafthouse (the irony of the theater being the Alamo should not be lost on anyone) announced some opening weekend ‘women only’ shows and the response was, well, expected. ‘Where are your men only showings’, came loud and clear, blistering across Twitter, Facebook, and whatever other social media you can imagine. This should come as no surprise to anyone since as long as there’s something to complain about, someone will. Especially a guy who feels overlooked. So now the premiere of this very important and should-not-be-controversial blockbuster film is now the point of a much larger discussion which I’m not even going to attempt to touch here. Instead, I’m just going to point to both sides and say shame on you.
First, to the guys complaining, shut up. Sorry, most things are easy for you so feeling excluded is new. Seriously though, shut up and grow up. No one cares.
Second, to whoever put these shows together, that was some smart marketing. It’s categorically wrong that these scorned crybabies are making a fuss but you damn well knew this would happen and now I have to listen to these same people demand a ‘men only’ Batman show? Won’t anybody please think of the children?! More to the point though, I said above, this movie deserves to be celebrated and it should be. It just seems kind of like a hollow victory to have an exclusionary celebration on such a momentous occasion.
We were contacted by Alamo as well as they wanted to clarify their side of the issue saying, “Obviously, Alamo Drafthouse recognizes ‘Wonder Woman’ is a film for all audiences, but our special women-only screenings may have created confusion – we want everybody to see this film.” – Alamo Drafthouse Cinema
Let me leave this hotly contested debate with an anecdote. I have the illustrious honor of reviewing Wonder Woman upon its impending release. As I said above, I’m excited for this one because I either get to be smug if it’s a disaster or I get to be pleasantly surprised, at which point I will gladly eat crow. I have made this point very, very clear to anyone and everyone who will listen. During these discussions, more than one person has asked me that even if Wonder Woman turns out messy if I can be lenient with it because of how important it is. Of course, that’s not going to happen as I take too much satisfaction in ripping trash films to shreds and there’s obviously an element of objectivity required in reviewing. Initially, I was shocked anyone would even think to ask me that and there’s a part of me that wants to be upset by it. I think the more pertinent point to take from this story, though, is that even in the summer blockbuster season, female-driven content is so anemic, that people aren’t even asking for a pass for it. They just want people to ‘take it easy’ on the film IF its quality falters. If you still feel like there’s any reason for controversy around this film than you deserve a ‘Cersei walk of atonement’ level of shaming.
Wonder Woman comes out this Friday. Check back Friday morning for our review.