Amazingly, there had never been a female-fronted superhero movie until this summer’s Wonder Woman. Thankfully though, its massive success has proved to the studios that audiences DO want action movies with strong women at their centre and indeed behind the camera (it was directed by Patty Jenkins).
However, the movie’s feminist credentials have been challenged by filmmaker James Cameron (The Terminator, Titanic, The Abyss), who told The Guardian, "[Wonder Woman's] an objectified icon, and it’s just male Hollywood doing the same old thing."
"I’m not saying I didn’t like the movie but, to me, it’s a step backwards,” the director continued. “Sarah Connor [from Cameron’s Terminator movies] was not a beauty icon. She was strong, she was troubled, she was a terrible mother, and she earned the respect of the audience through pure grit."
Now, Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins has hit back, saying, "There is no right and wrong kind of powerful woman."
"James Cameron's inability to understand what Wonder Woman is, or stands for, to women all over the world is unsurprising as, though he is a great filmmaker, he is not a woman," Jenkins wrote on Twitter. "Strong women are great. His praise for my film Monster, and our portrayal of a strong yet damaged woman was so appreciated.”
Jenkins also noted that women don't need to be one thing to be a hero.
"But if women have to always be hard, tough and troubled to be strong, and we aren't free to be multidimensional or celebrate an icon of women everywhere because she is attractive and loving, then we haven't come very far have we," she wrote. "I believe women can and should be EVERYTHING just like male lead characters should be.”
The success of Wonder Woman had led to reports that Warner Brothers are pumping up the character’s role in the forthcoming Justice League movie, while Marvel are currently prepping their own female-centred superhero flick with 2019’s Captain Marvel, starring Brie Larson.
Justice League arrives at Cineworld on 17 November.