When asked to list some of the most popular superheroes of all time, the same few names typically come to mind: Superman, Batman, Spiderman, Ironman, and so on…
These titles all have one common theme: the suffix “man.”
However, some of the most accomplished heros and villains are in fact women, not men.
Wonder Woman first debuted in October of 1941 for DC Comics. She became a fast role model for women nationally, especially in a time when women were considered “lesser than men.”
The Guardian states that Wonder Woman represents “women safeguarding the world from male violence not with nurture but with better violence, [which] is a feminist act.”
Wonder Woman continues to represent feminism, as a hero who changes the world by being a leader and fighting her own battles rather than standing aside and allowing men to do it for her.
According to Business Insider, the 2017 Wonder Woman film starring Gal Gadot was the “highest-grossing superhero origin movie of all time.”
Despite its immense success, Wonder Woman’s budget was lower than Spider-Man: Homecoming’s, which was also released in 2017.
The Spider–Man: Homecoming film, with Tom Holland and Robert Downey Jr., had $175 million to make, while Wonder Woman only had $149 million.
Whether this was because Wonder Woman is female or not, the movie certainly made up for any hesitation that it would sell out, with the box office counting $821.8 million total. A new film is set to be released in June of this year.
Also, Marvel Studios announced last year that the new face of their production company would be a woman: Captain Marvel, whose own movie was released in March of 2019.
The movie was incredibly successful, making $153 million in its opening weekend.
Marvel Studio’s president Kevin Feige stated, according to comicbook.com, that “[Captain Marvel is] one of the most powerful — and one of the most popular — characters in [their] comics, and will be the most powerful character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.”
In addition to woman superheroes, female supervillains have also aided in representing the feminist movement.
Harley Quinn of DC Comics has not only gained her own movie, Birds of Prey, which was released in Eeb. 2020, but has also risen to extreme popularity with all audiences.
According to Cinema Blend, Harley Quinn was the number one choice of Halloween costume in 2016, following the release of the first Suicide Squad movie in August, with the joker following in second.
Maleficent is another classic villain who has represented female empowerment since she first appeared in the 1959 cartoon. In the movie, Maleficent is a villain who remains feared and incredibly powerful throughout the kingdom.
Angelina Jolie furthered Maleficent’s popularity in the 2014 release of the live–action version of this classic fairytale. In all, the film made $758.5 million during its time in theaters.
These iconic female heroes and villains have helped shape the cinematic universe and serve as representatives for the impact that female role models can have on worldwide audiences.