Wonder Woman, 2017 film stillWarner Bros

Wonder Woman is a feminist, and society isn't ready for her

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BBC Three Team
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Superheroes come in all shapes and sizes - from the half-inch Ant Man to the seven foot (plus) Incredible Hulk. Yet when it comes to female world-savers on the big screen, we've had very few options.

Wonder Woman, out on 2 June, should be a game changer.

Missed the hype? Here's the latest trailer.

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Exciting, right?

All the key components are there:

  • Explosions
  • One-liners
  • Slow-mo-crashing-through-window scenes
  • A despicable baddie
  • A romance (because even heroes need love)

Unusually, though, this superhero is the brain child of a 1940s psychologist.

William Moulton Marston, a Harvard graduate, created the Wonder Woman comic book. He was inspired by a member of his family, Margaret Sanger, who co-founded the first birth control unit in America According to the 1942 press release that accompanied its launch, the comic was intended to "set a standard among children and young people of strong, free, courageous womanhood; to combat the idea that women are inferior to men, and to inspire girls to self-confidence and achievement in athletics, occupations and professions monopolized by men".

So this should be a big Hollywood blockbuster with equality at its heart. Champagne corks should be popping right now at the fact this character (played by Gal Gadot) is finally getting her modern silver-screen moment.

Yet, not everyone is celebrating.

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And the flurry of comments like this have left others exasperated.

Ever since DC Extended Universe and Warner Bros announced the film was going into production, it's attracted controversy, with some thinking it's too feminist and others thinking it's not feminist enough.

Between the two camps, there are high hopes that, like Frozen and Brave, the film will at least offer some rare inspiring female characters - though initial reactions to the film have left some unconvinced.

With some recent TV shows embracing females with super-human powers - think Supergirl, Jessica Jones and Agent Carter - maybe this marks the start of Hollywood finally catching up?

There's no shortage of excited blogs and comments at the prospect.

But there has been plenty of rumbling about Wonder Woman not getting as much advertising as the other superhero movies, with one commenter saying, "We totally don't blame you for having no idea it was releasing so soon."

When a few Wonder Woman marketing campaigns were revealed, some people questioned whether the film should be associated with certain products.

"This was one bad idea," said one writer. "What kind of message do girls receive when they’re told that Wonder Woman, their superhero icon, wants them to buy products that literally tell them to 'think thin'?"

Others felt they'd identified a subtle agenda at work in the use of female superheroes on product packaging.

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Gal Gadot has had to defend her character's wardrobe, as well as her lack of body hair.

Judging from the trailers, it does look like Diana Prince (aka Wonder Woman) spends a fair chunk of the film in what is essentially a metallic swimming costume. Yes, Superman and Batman's outfits are figure-hugging, but they don't cut off at the chest and thighs.

As for her armpits? Some have asked, "Why would an Amazon woman who's never come across humans before know - and follow - the trend for shaving?"

But others have less patience for the question.

There have also been complaints that the media have been focusing too much on the love interest (Chris Pine) rather than the lead character.

But Gal Gadot has recently given birth, which may explain that particular issue.

They say no publicity is bad publicity, and people are definitely talking about the film now. But all this furore over a female superhero just goes to show how much society still needs Wonder Woman.

On 2 June, we'll see whether Wonder Woman fulfils Marston's vision. He had high hopes for the character. “Frankly," he wrote, "Wonder Woman is the new type of woman who should, I believe, rule the world.”