The year is 1941: World War II is raging in Europe, and the first Wonder Woman comic is released from DC Comics. Seeing their ideal selves in the crime fighting heroine, Americans fall in love. The rest is history, and every year since, you manage to see at least one little kid sporting a Halloween costume featuring the classic Wonder Woman headband with the red star.
Sixty-seven years after the first comic was released, the first Iron Man movie was introduced, and the superhero obsession became mainstream yet again. Families began flooding to theaters to see the revamped comic book characters fighting villains on the big screen, and in 3D too! Little girls were generally less enthused by these comic books, though, and instead found their inspiration in princesses.
Recently, that has all changed. The TV series, “Supergirl,” premiered Oct. 26 on CBS and was ranked the second highest fall TV show. It also attracted almost 13 million viewers. In movie theaters, Wonder Woman is making several appearances in the new Batman vs. Superman movie from DC Comics, who have also announced the production of a solo Wonder Woman movie, scheduled to come out in 2017.
The movie is highly anticipated by both men and women alike. Bringing up the rear, Marvel has declared that there will be a Captain Marvel movie, expected to be released in 2019. While it is still in the early period of production, the female-based story is already being promoted by the comic book community and is rumored to be directed by Angelina Jolie. Once again, little girls will have female superheroes to look up to.
Mt. Hebron students are among those very excited to hear about these new female releases.
“So far, all the superheroes you see are all men, like Captain America and Iron Man, and all the ones that you love. I think these will definitely change the game for women in that industry,” said sophomore Rachel Elkis.
Other students think it will be interesting to see how the studios portray the women, as well as how these new characters will affect women’s stance in this particular field.
A member of the Feminist Club, sophomore Ava Dennis is pleased to see women moving up the ranks in these movies. “In the past, the women who have been in the superhero movies have been kind of the background characters or part of a group of all men,” stated Dennis. “It’s good that they’re being portrayed as the same thing [as men are].”
There have been fictional role models that inspire women and girls over recent years, like Katniss Everdeen and Hermione Granger. But when one solely considers the superhero genre, this generation has been deprived of a female heroine. The idea of women being seen as the ‘damsel in distress’ has instead pervaded the film industry.
“Before, if men were the the superheroes, the women, ‘his girl,’ were used against him by the villain, so women were always known as the weaker link. But now, in this new Wonder Woman movie, she’s going to be the hero, and she’s going to be strong,” sophomore Cooper Watts said.
Other male students are excited to see women take the lead in the films. But some brought up the fact that these superheroes already existed; they were just shown to the public through paper instead of film.
CinemaBlend’s Nick Romano wrote in the article “Why Superhero Movies Are Popular Right Now, According To Superhero Screenwriters,” that “the advancements in technology behind movie-making have made Superman-worthy leaps and bounds in the past few decades.” This creates a more realistic look at superheroes, bringing the comic book lovers out of their paper collections and into the 21st Century.
Superhero movie plots also seem to appeal to teenagers. “It’s cool because at points there are times where a hero has a down moment or a struggle and they’re able to overcome that and help everyone else,” said sophomore Rachel Dolce.
It is apparent that the Mt. Hebron community is excited to see how big of a splash these movies will make when they premiere. And who knows? Maybe we will see a few more girls running around in superhero costumes next Halloween.