Article by Naoki Nomura
Last summer we witnessed 2 extraordinary superhero movies, Wonder Woman and Spiderman Homecoming. From the sets of Hollywood to the screens around the world, these 2 movies dominated the entertainment industry last summer. Which movie was better? Comparing the two films in three categories–box office revenue, ratings, and creativity–will unveil who won this ultimate showdown between DC and Marvel.
First up is the the most straightforward category of the three: how much each grossed in regards to its international box office. Starting it off is Wonder Woman which stormed into the theaters in early July, amassing a whopping 816 million dollars in its international box office revenue. Despite the lack of A-list actors, Wonder Woman became the third largest DC movie ever, only beaten by the Batman Dark Knight franchise (Box Office Mojo). A couple weeks after the arrival of Wonder Woman came Spiderman Homecoming, the latest installment in the Marvel Avengers franchise. Previous Marvel blockbuster movies such as The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Iron Man 3, and Captain America the Winter Soldier have seen great successes, earning Marvel a reputable name in the film industry. Furthermore, contrary to Wonder Woman, Spiderman Homecoming was full of Hollywood A-list actors and actresses, which lead to a successful 879 million dollars in box office revenue (Box Office Mojo). With a slight 53 million dollar win over Wonder Woman, Spiderman Homecoming wins the revenue category.
The next category of comparison is how well each rated among movie critics. Wonder Woman received mixed reactions from IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes, with ratings of 7.6/10 and 92% respectively, despite all the box office success. On the other hand, Spiderman Homecoming, a movie that was labeled “clever, funny, and true” received ratings of 7.7/10 and a 92% from IMDB and Rotten Tomato respectively, nearly identical to that of Wonder Woman’s (Mendelson). Claiming this category the 0.1 bump from IMDB pushed, Spiderman Homecoming to another win ahead of Wonder Woman.
Now to the nitty-gritty aspect of the movies, their content. Both DC and Marvel story writers, producers, and directors constantly strive for originality, attempting to create unique characters and leave their marks on the ever growing superhero universe; accordingly, due to its significance in any movie, the next category, creativity, is going to be more heavily weighted.
Here are some facts to consider about Wonder Woman. 1. It was the first DC movie that starred a female superhero in the leading role. 2. Although the superhero Wonder Woman existed in the DC universe for over half a century, this is the first major movie produced for it. 3. The United Nations named Wonder Woman Honorary Ambassador for the Empowerment of Women and Girls. These attributes helped DC Comics expand their audience and sparked the so called “Wonder Woman Effect” (Abrams). In the past there has been the “Spiderman Effect” following the release of the 2002 original Spiderman, and most recently the “Captain America Effect”. These so called “effects” refer to the sudden leap in superhero merchandise sales following the release of a movie. With the sales of Wonder Woman costumes skyrocketing, it will not be a surprise to see one such costumed kid knocking on your door this Halloween. Considering these major gender breakthroughs, it is fair to say that the Wonder Woman definitely paved the road for future female superhero movies; furthermore, its plotline and character dynamics fared just as well. As Joe Morgenstern for Wall Street Journal stated, “ ‘Wonder Woman’ is wonderful, and the Woman herself, as played by Gal Gadot, is the dazzling embodiment of female empowerment. She is also learned, charmingly funny and, for a goddess, touchingly human” (Morgenstern). The never-done-before portrayal of Wonder Woman and defeat of arch nemesis Aries, was met with positive reactions by many moviegoers, proving to us that DC Comics still has that creative touch.
Now to Spiderman Homecoming, the 4th remake of the successful 2002 Spiderman. For the first time in Spiderman franchise, this newest edition gave fans the first look into Spiderman possibly rejoining the Avengers in the future. The merging of two of the biggest franchises in Marvel history gave the character of Spiderman, a new and improved look. Firstly with the introduction of Tony Stark (aka Iron Man), a more modern and technologically advanced Spiderman suit was born. This upgraded suit added features to the Spiderman suit, such as voice activation, retina scans, and many other technological upgrades. Secondly, having the role played by actor Tom Holland gave Spiderman a younger look. All these new aspects of Spiderman were aimed at attracting a new generation of Spiderman fans and possibly mark the beginning of a new franchise. Although the storyline was for the most part similar to previous Spiderman remakes, the creative and innovative changes in the main character earned Spiderman Homecoming praises from many critics.
With regard to the box office revenue, ratings, and creativity of the two films the final verdict for 2017 best summer superhero movie goes to Wonder Woman. Although it lost to Spiderman Homecoming in box office revenue and ratings, the sheer magnitude of the impact it has for the future of superhero movies cannot go unrecognized. Not only did it attract a whole new group of fans to the DC universe, it was flat out a cinematic spectacle. From the battlefield scene to the final fight with Aries, the graphics and special effects for the movie were great. Although Spiderman Homecoming came just short of winning, both movies have great potential for growing into extraordinary franchises. It will be interesting to see how both DC and Marvel are going to play out their sequels.
Abrams, Melanie. “The Wonder Woman Effect.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 1 Aug. 2017.
Mendelson, Scott. “Box Office: ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ Passes ‘Batman V Superman’.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 24 Sept. 2017.
Morgenstern, Joe. “’Wonder Woman’ Review: The DC Spectacular We’ve Been Waiting For.”The Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones & Company, 1 June 2017.
“Spiderman Homecoming (2017)”. Box Office Mojo.
“Wonder Woman (2017)”. Box Office Mojo.