Patty Jenkins deserves all the praise for ‘Wonder Woman’s success! And we really can’t thank her enough!
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As the Wonder Woman hype dies down…Who are we kidding? That’s never going to happen! In any case, as we transition from one month to the next – and with that from one superhero franchise dominating the box office to another – it feels important to acknowledge the milestones Wonder Woman accomplished so far.
Specifically, the indelible mark Patty Jenkins has only just begun to make. I have threatened to write an entire piece dedicated to thanking her on multiple occasions. It’s definitely a sentiment that can’t be said enough. I’ve wrestled with the idea back and forth for the better part of the month. And it would seem that my need to truly express how much I appreciate what she did finally won out.HOLLYWOOD, CA – MAY 25: Director Patty Jenkins and actress Gal Gadot arrive at the Premiere Of Warner Bros. Pictures’ ‘Wonder Woman’ at the Pantages Theatre on May 25, 2017 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
When Gal Gadot was cast for the role I remember expressing genuine excitement to a group of friends that it felt like there was potential for a solo film. I made the “mistake” of making a broad “I love Wonder Woman” statement, which was followed-up with a male friend interrogating me on exactly what kind of fan I was, drawing some imaginary bar that I wasn’t supposed to reach if I only liked her because of the casting news or if I actually knew anything about the character. As if proving how much of a fan I was or wasn’t earned some kind of ability to truly like the thing at all. Short of getting a “well, actually…” out of the whole experience I realized that my love of superheroes was – and forever would be it seemed – invalidated by the fact that I am a woman. So it’s really no surprise that movie studios felt the same way.
My friend couldn’t understand why casting Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman was important to me and he was equally oblivious as to why a solo Wonder Woman film was significant. I didn’t have a good enough explanation for why I needed to see Diana Prince in her own movie. I was just tired of everything else. Tired of being asked why I was seeing that type of movie. Frustrated with the people who wished the male antagonist in Marvel’s Jessica Jones was more prevalent as if the show was somehow about him at all. I was exhausted from the way Marvel chose to handle Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) in Avengers: Age of Ultron. And I was bored by the idea of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice but the inclusion of Wonder Woman revitalized that for me. There was hope. And here’s the thing, dreams really do come true!
This type of story isn’t new. There are millions like it from all kinds of people and the more I’ve experienced it, the easier it’s become to turn the conversation back around. So what if I were to only like the movies or the TV shows of a comic book adaptations? They’re valid versions of the source material! Does enjoying the comics somehow earn me some kind of fandom points? I like the thing. You like the thing. Why can’t we just enjoy it together? Mostly I learned that I had nothing to prove.
My experience exists on microcosmic level compared the same kind of rhetoric that was relentlessly lobbed at Patty Jenkins when she signed on to direct Wonder Woman. And she met that criticism – literally deflecting some of it within the film’s own narrative (they say you shouldn’t meet your heroes but I have the mightiest need to talk about the use of the rule of thirds in the dancing scene with her!). Which is why this is so much more than a thank you, it’s a celebration because, Patty, you should be very proud.
Of all the records the movie broke (and there are many just check: here, here and here) the most extraordinary is that Wonder Woman earned Patty the title of highest grossing live-action film directed by a female. An unprecedented achievement that’s long overdue and I honestly can’t think anyone more worthy.
But by far Patty’s biggest accomplishment – to me – is that my mom went to see Wonder Woman. My mom doesn’t share my enthusiasm for the superhero genre and she rarely sees movies in the theater let alone opening weekend. But after I couldn’t stop talking about it she agreed to go with me for my second viewing. And we both cried (she told me if I put this in here to clarify that I cried way more, which I totally own). Better still she’s talking about seeing the movie again and trying to convince my sisters to come with us. This accomplishment doesn’t have a big dollar sign in front of it or a ton of zeros attached. It’s just a wonderful memory that Patty Jenkins helped create. And maybe it’s cheesy to think she would care but if her feelings on sincerity are anything to go on, I think it’s safe to assume she’d at least want to know.
So, on the off chance Patty sees this, I’d like to tell her that it’s not Wonder Woman who truly made me feel empowered, it’s her!
Wonder Woman is currently in theaters.