The new Wonder Woman film, starring Gal Gadot as a superhuman warrior who sets out to bring an end to World War I, generated huge amounts of buzz even before its official UK release date. In part, this is down to the film’s dazzling critical reception (it currently has a stellar 97% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes), but it’s also thanks to Wonder Woman’s status as the first female superhero to have her own dedicated comic book movie in over a decade.
Gadot is the first actress to lead a superhero film since 2005, when Elektra, a 12-rated flick starring Jennifer Garner, flopped at the box office. As a result, it’s likely that the vast majority of girls – particularly those who weren’t born, or who were under the age of 12, in 2005 – will never have seen a woman kick ass on screen, superhero-style.
And representation matters. The characters we see in the films, books and TV shows we consume have a huge influence on how we understand the world and our place in it, particularly when we’re young and (more) impressionable. To quote the great Geena Davis, who has dedicated her post-Thelma and Louise Hollywood career to increasing gender representation in film, “If she can be it, she can see it.”
Want proof? Look no further than the endless stream of photos cropping up on social media of little girls striking their fiercest (and cutest) superhero poses in Wonder Woman costumes.
These girls have been waiting for this film. We all have.