Wonder Woman Lassos No. 1

Wonder Woman lassos enemy

In comic books and cartoons, Wonder Woman sometimes gets around via an invisible plane. But it turns out, she doesn’t need it to fly to some pretty lofty cinematic heights.

Wonder Woman soared to the top of the box office this weekend, using those nifty bracelets of hers to deflect anyone who’d try to take her down. Her namesake movie surpassed expectations earned 103.1 million in North America. She proved that her appeal goes beyond the ol’ red, white and blue, too, chalking up another $122.5 million overseas. All told, superherodom’s grand dame earned a grand total of $225.6 million.

The film proved that female superheroes are not box office poison (even when one of them has a nemesis called “Dr. Poison”). Wonder Woman banked the highest opening of any female-fronted superhero movie in history, though admittedly the competition wasn’t exactly robust. (According to Box Office Mojo, the nearest comic book competitor would be Ghost in the Shell, which collected a modest $18.7 million in its debut earlier this year.) It also gave Patty Jenkins the distinction of being the first female director to helm a movie that made in excess of $100 million in its debut.

Another movie taking its theatrical bow, the toilet-humor obsessed Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie, earned a flush $23.5 million—a bit under what most prognosticators were betting. At this rate, a Second Epic Movie may be down the drain already.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales dug up another estimated $21.6 million worth of booty to take third place and to crest the $100 million mark. Johnny Depp’s fifth turn as Capt. Jack Sparrow has now hooked $114.6 million in North America. On the downside for the franchise, it lost nearly two-thirds of its audience in its second week out, which means the one-time sturdy craft is taking on water. But shed no tears for Jack and Co., because Dead Men has raked in $386.6 million, ahem, overseas, pushing its international cume past the half-billion mark already. (I don’t think anyone would be surprised if Capt. Jack returns to helm his beloved Black Pearl for a sixth high-seas adventure somewhere in the future, even though the latest sequel ended with a happily ever after finale of sorts to supposedly close out the franchise.)

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 slid into the box office’s fourth slot with $9.7 million, or thereabouts. The sturdy superhero vehicle has lingered in the Top Five for five straight weeks.

Closing out the Top Five is Baywatch, which squeezed another soggy $8.5 million from the box office’s choppy waters.

Will Wonder Woman be able to win for a second week? Perhaps. But another powerful woman—this one in the shape of The Mummy‘s nasty villainess (who fights the equally well-preserved Tom Cruise)—may have something to say about that.

Who wrote this?

Paul Asay has been writing for Plugged In since 2007 and loves superheroes and finding God in unexpected places. In addition, Paul has also written several books, with his newest—Burning Bush 2.0—recently published by Abingdon Press. When Paul’s not reviewing movies, he hikes with his wife, Wendy, runs marathons with his grown kids, Colin and Emily, and beats back unruly houseplants. Follow him on Twitter @AsayPaul.

Have something to say? Leave a comment.

seraph_unsung More than 1 year ago
In some ways I feel like it's not completely fair to compare Wonder Woman's plot to other heroes' and to dismiss the movie on that alone.  Yes, under normal circumstances I think stories should be compared meritocratically, but there are other factors to discuss here.

Yes, the plot is very, very basic.  I'd even say it doesn't make the most of what little plot it has, particularly with the story going back and forth about its treatment of the "keystone-army" trope.  But other than the odd, pacing-halting innuendo in the early parts of the movie, there's little that would stop me from easily recommending a watch.

However, I'm impressed enough that this movie even exists, let alone that it's enjoyable to watch.  Without looking any up, how many female-led superhero movies can you think of?  I can think of Catwoman and Elektra, neither of which were well received, and I doubt there was that little demand for female-led genre films.  Furthermore, even those entries weren't directed by a woman, which adds its own obstacles (if this film had bombed, it could have been wrongly interpreted as a 'woman problem' despite male-directed genre films sometimes having issues of their own -- http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/patty-jenkins-thor-2-exit-a-project-could-be-a-disservice-women-1008776 ).  Some people might think this is a ridiculous concern, but some people still do have arbitrary hang-ups over whether having a woman in high places will sabotage a production or its marketing. https://www.polygon.com/2013/3/18/4120694/remember-me-publishers-balked-at-female-lead-character

Regarding why Wonder Woman was such a simplistic (yet widely well received) film, avoiding nearly all examination of modern feminist controversy -- http://www.newyorker.com/culture/cultural-comment/wonder-womans-unwinnable-war -- my theory is that Wonder Woman was trying to swerve FAR out of the way of Ghostbusters 2016's feminist controversies and subsequent mediocre box-office performance.  Similarly, this is also my theory for why Mel Gibson chose to make an easy-to-market, morally simple crowd-pleaser (if an extremely gory one) after sabotaging his own career and personal life--I doubt he had many options for who would take a chance on financing or being a part of his work because of external factors not directly related to the movie itself, so I'm guessing he had to make something with, relatively speaking, as broad of an appeal as possible.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

So I saw Wonder Woman this past weekend and boy was it great! It is easily one of DC's best movies, and the best DC origin story since Batman Begins.

There isn't a whole lot of action (which make the trailers a bit deceiving), but the action that is in the film is, hands down, AWESOME!

I remember Paul wrote a blog a couple weeks ago when he talked about Hollywood giving us our uncomplicated heroes. Well Paul, now we have Wonder Woman, and boy am I glad we do!
Inkfeather1 . More than 1 year ago
It's good to see a DC movie that's good again! I love Marvel, but if DC can bring something new to the superhero movies I'm looking forward to it :)
bobed More than 1 year ago
From what I've seen in reviews and the like, Wonder Woman is just your average, generic hero film, albeit with a woman star. However, for this simple reason feminists have latched onto it and made it more than it is. Ladies, I'm sorry to tell you, but Wonder Woman is not more special, not is her story, because she's female. It's just another run-of-the-mill hero film. Period. Feminists seem desperate to make everything more than it is.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

Obviously you haven't seen the movie yet.

You describe the movie as generic. Well, Wonder Woman is a period piece. And correct me if I'm wrong, but the only period piece superhero film out there is the first Captain America.

In addition, the movie mixes in Greek mythology, something superhero movies haven't done yet. The way they had Ares (the god of war) orchestrating World War I was in my opinion a very neat idea.

Finally (mild spoilers ahead), there aren't many superhero films these days where one of the main characters lays down his own life to save others.

You can't call Wonder Woman a generic film, because it isn't.
bobed More than 1 year ago
I'm sorry but you're not going to tell me the movie stands above the rest because it takes place in the past, someone dies (whose actor, by the way, signed for a multi-film deal, so... Shrug?), and because the mythology is different. Captain America takes place in the past, Thor already mixed in pagan myths, and Thor again had a character die in sacrifice (his mother). 

Sorry, but this movie is a stale retread like the rest of them, and I don't need to watch it to know that. I can read the plot on Wikipedia and spend 100% less money doing it. 

Superhero movies are the same, one after the other. One of the only hero movies I've seen that was "different" is Unbreakable, and that came out 15 years ago. Today's DC/Marvel pack are one cookie cutter after another.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

It's fine if you aren't interested in seeing the movie; you'll be saving $12 by doing so.

However, you'll be missing out on a fun, optimistic film that features a hopeful, optimistic protagonist. 

In the blog that Paul wrote about Hollywood giving us our uncomplicated heroes, you said you wanted Christopher Reeve's Superman, John Walton and Andy Griffith. Well, Wonder Woman is the Reeve's Superman you asked for. We should be supporting these movies that have clear good guys and obvious bad guys. We don't need another straight faced Superman from Man of Steel or another Deadpool, who makes foul language and crass jokes sound cool. 

Wonder Woman is the hero that movies need, and it's great to know how well it's doing.

Also, (spoiler warning) the person who dies seriously dies. There's no way this person is coming back from the dead like a lot of superhero films do.
bobed More than 1 year ago
With all due respect, I think we both know that slightly shaken-up and rehashed plot points are not why feminists are slobbering over this movie. Not by a long shot.

As for the character who "seriously dies," I'm glad you're so sure of that, because even the director herself isn't! 

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

First off, no one's *slobbering*. There's nothing wrong with being excited about a movie that you enjoy.

Anyway, no, Wonder Woman isn't the absolute best superhero movie of all time, and I don't know of anyone arguing that. What I do know is that this is the first truly successful, well-made superhero movie where the lead character is a woman at least in my lifetime. And while that apparently doesn't mean anything to you, it means a great deal to those of us women and girls who are finally seeing a hero like us on the screen.

In the last ten years, DC and Marvel combined have released 20 superhero films. Of those, Wonder Woman is the first to feature a female lead character. All of the other 19 have starred a male character or a male-majority team. At best, the ensemble movies like Guardians of the Galaxy or Avengers had 1 or 2 out of 5 - 7 team members. Yet we make up 1/2 of the population!

So, yes, it is excited to see a strong, capable, heroic female character at the front of a good, successful, decently-made superhero movie. It doesn't have to be the best superhero movie ever made to be exciting and empowering to *finally* have a little bit of representation in the superhero genre.

You don't have to see the movie if you don't want to - obviously! But it is certainly a good movie. There are some better movies out there, sure, but there are definitely a lot more that are worse. And for girls and women who have gone their whole lives without seeing a superhero movie about someone like them, while practically drowning in both good and bad ones about men, it is definitely something that we find to be worth celebrating and enjoying.

Everyone can enjoy seeing their own traits shared by their heroes, whether it's the color of their hair or that they enjoy the same favorite sport or because they both have a hearing aid or anything else. And for the first time, women and girls are seeing a blockbuster superhero movie about someone who shares one of our most defining characteristics. Wonder Woman may not be more special to you because she is female, but it does make her more special to us.

bobed More than 1 year ago
For some reason I'm not allowed to reply to your post, so I'll do it here. Yes, a great many people ARE slobbering. If you've been listening to the talk radio (which unfortunately I have to do all day, every day due to work), you'll hear numerous feminists invited to talk about Wonder Woman and share "feminist theory." Apparently Wonder Woman is a big deal in the "feminist theory" world. They are projecting all sorts of theories and analysis to everything about the movie from her fighting style to her romance to her supposed gay tendencies to her wardrobe to everything else under the sun. That's what I call slobbering.

As for having a hero like yourself, I understand that, but frankly its female heroine is the only thing, to me, that sets this movie apart at all. The rest is just a boring rehash. Even my wife and daughters are uninterested, and as you may have guessed, they're women. Superhero fatigue has hit hard in my household. I can't muster up any excitement for just another hero movie no matter who its heroine is. Sorry.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Out of curiosity, have you seen The Dark Knight, Logan, the Winter Soldier, and Guardians of the Galaxy? All of those are unique movies with unique stories and characters. My personal favorite is Winter Soldier, but that could simply be bias as a Captain America Fan. I agree with you that Wonder Woman has been overhyped by the feminist community, but after reading the reviews I think that this might actually be worth the hype. I probably won't see it simply because of preference for Marvel and the general confusion that DC is in at the moment, but I don't think it is the stale 'been there done that' that you have said it is. Also, if you don't like the movies, why are you commenting about them? Just leave well enough alone lol
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
And how could I forget the Incredibles, one of the most underrated Pixar films! That is a great original superhero movie about family and working together. I've never seen a super hero movie with the kind of twists and spins as the Incredibles. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

I wouldn't call The Incredibles one of the most underrated Pixar films, personally. It gets plenty of credit, but for good reason. It's the great Fantastic Four movie that we never got!
bobed More than 1 year ago
A little too violent to be a "family" movie, but otherwise a clean and content-free film that provides a lot of food for thought. Especially to an adult audience that can understand its nuances. I enjoyed it, but I don't think I'd show it to kids under 10.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

Even though I'm more of a DC fanatic, I also really like Marvel, and Captain America is my favorite Marvel superhero too! Cheers!
bobed More than 1 year ago
The Dark Knight and Logan are the two of those movies I'd say were unique. TDK was interesting, but I found Logan to be unnecessarily profane and sickeningly violent, especially where a very young girl is involved - so inappropriate. I didn't even finish it. However, I will concede that it stands apart from the crowd.

In my view, The Winter Soldier is your average superhero movie with a bit of boring spy drama mixed in, with a nice heaping helping of ridiculous implausiblies that insult the audience's intelligence. As for GOTG, color me unimpressed. Sure, it was bright and colorful, but I wasn't too delighted to see "the Avengers in space." A quippy group of heroes with one token woman, and whose leader is a careless playboy? Check. What's so different about that? Sure, it's a little more childish, but the end result is the same. 

I realize I sound like a crusty old coot, but in these days where every movie is either profane or cookie cutter or both, it takes a lot to impress this old coot.
bobed More than 1 year ago
If I don't like it, why do I bother talking about it? That's a question I've been asked a hundred times about a hundred different subjects. If people only commented on things we liked, we'd be silent 50% of the time, there would be no meaningful discussion anywhere, and no evening news. (Although that last one may not be a bad thing.)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Considering that NPR aired a segment this week that makes the claim that "Wonder Woman is Margaret Sanger (the founder of Planned Parenthood)", those feminists may have a point...
bobed More than 1 year ago
The feminists have a big point, considering that Wonder Woman was apparently invented by a sadomasochistic deviant who lived with two women in a "circular" bisexual relationship and had children with both, and who invented Wonder Woman as a bondage fantasy because he believed women were superior to men. And no, I didn't make that up to be especially moonbatty and ridiculous. That's the truth. Makes me even less eager to see the movie, thank you very much.
seraph_unsung More than 1 year ago
I want to say that "apparently" and "that's the truth" are a questionable and dangerous combination, especially with no citations to back either statement up.  My point isn't that you're wrong, about any of this, because I was able to find at least a secondhand albeit sourced mention of most of this elsewhere -- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Moulton_Marston#Wonder_Woman -- but rather that without reliable sources, one runs the risk of treating gossip as gospel.

All that being stated, you might like this article: https://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/24/books/the-secret-history-of-wonder-woman-by-jill-lepore.html?_r=0