AccessReel Reviews – Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines

AccessReel Reviews – Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines

WONDER WOMEN! THE UNTOLD STORY OF AMERICAN SUPERHEROINES traces the fascinating evolution and legacy of Wonder Woman. 

There’s a piece of Hollywood “wisdom” that says no superhero movie with a female lead can do good business at the Box Office.  Evidence given for this includes films like ELEKTRA (2005) and CATWOMAN (2004), the general suckiness of these pictures is a big part of their problem, but someone is always going to blame gender.  The documentary WONDER WOMEN! will make you ponder the received wisdom and much more besides. 

The DC comic character Wonder Woman is the iconic matriarch of the film. Her invention in 1941 is put into context. Women in comics were expected to be rescued by the caped heroes, not be the rescuers. In fact, as the documentary underlines, Wonder Woman’s arrival coincided with women moving from the domestic sphere and more into public life as part of the war effort – Wonder Woman of Paradise Island was the fantasy counterpart of Rosie the Riveter.  

The film follows the surprising and disturbing path of Wonder Woman’s later development as well as looking at other heroines like The Bionic Woman, Sarah Connor, Xena and Buffy the Vampire Slayer et al.  The movie makes the argument that girls need female superheroes as much as boys need male ones. If you’ve ever thought the Disney Princesses needed some competition for the adoration and role modelling of young girls, then this is the movie for you.

Director Kristy Guevara-Flanagan and producer Kelcey Edwards have made a feminist documentary that is entertaining, informative and at times moving. WONDER WOMEN! THE UNTOLD STORY OF AMERICAN SUPERHEROINES is part of the Revelation Perth International Film Festival.  Check their website for details. 

The film runs for 79 minutes. I rated it a 3.5/5

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