I think Michael Keaton is the worst Batman ever.
He’s a fine actor, but he never captured the requisite regality that billionaire Bruce Wayne needs. He’s not a physical presence, like Christian Bale or Val Kilmer, who could defeat terrorists or super villains.
I’ve never seen a movie starring Gal Gadot. I’ve yet to watch “Wonder Woman.” I’ve got plans to see it soon but I just don’t trust the moviemakers behind DC Comics films. My heart was broken with “Man of Steel.” No character development. No joy. No wonder. That bitter taste kept me out of the theater for “Suicide Squad” and “Batman v. Superman.”
As a child, if you told me a studio was going to make a movie starring Batman AND Superman, I would have done almost anything to see it. Now as a cynical 30-something adult, I have no problem with saving my time for better tasks. Like sleep or Facebook.
It’s been a week since “Wonder Woman” debuted, and there’s a buzz. The box office sales are outpacing projections. Women seem to really dig the movie. There’s hope that the movie’s success will encourage studios to make more movies with women superheroes. I hope that includes women of color. But I digress.
My cynicism is a special thing. I still have my doubts about “Wonder Woman.” I woke up early Saturday morning and started texting with my sister. She had seen the movie. This text sessions would allow me to be real, something I can’t always do with folks watching on social media. The exchange was a fun one, and both of us shared our expectations and if the movie met them.
See, I have no interest in spoiling the fun of women who desperately need Wonder Woman. This is a bit of a moment for movies. Women need to feel good about themselves in a way white men feel about themselves when they see any of the Superman or Batman movies. Men take this feeling of freedom for granted.
And for this, I’m more reserved about Diana Prince. I have opinions about the movie—good and bad—but they don’t matter as much, and I’m OK with it. Does Gadot look like Wonder Woman? That’s not for me to judge. Men speculated on her workout routine and commented on her body soon after Gadot was cast. Wonder Woman embodies hope; there’s no way she would put up with that objectification. Sure, actors have to look the part, but let’s not pretend we share the same equity. Men can’t use the same language and mindset with Gadot as I did when I was 11, when I was judging Keaton’s Batman. It’s apples and oranges. Male directors film with their male gaze. Fashion magazines body shame women. Internet comments are stuffed with sexist comments from males of all ages. And we are all worse because of it.
This isn’t about being a killjoy. It’s about understanding the system of inequality that’s led us up to this point. I hope “Wonder Woman” delivers. And if it doesn’t, that’s OK. I’m grateful that the next movie will. Ask Wonder Woman herself. She knows that victories come in different ways, not just by bludgeoning the opponent.
Photo credit: IMDb