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At 'Wonder Woman' premiere, forget girl power. It's about gender equality

'Wonder Woman' premiere attracts female power plays

A makeshift bleacher brimming with fans fringed the blue carpet at Thursday night's world premiere of "Wonder Woman," a few brave women withstanding the cold to don the superhero's signature shoulder-baring costume.

The premiere, which was held in advance of the film's cinematic release on June 2, kicked off outside of Hollywood's Pantages Theatre with appearances by stars Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright, director Patty Jenkins and even a brief appearance by Lynda Carter, who starred as Wonder Woman in the '70s TV series.

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Among the diverse crowd were a handful of men and women dressed in black T-shirts emblazoned with the unmistakable double W logo across the chest. A lone Batman cosplayer sat among their ranks.

"I think the world needs all types of superheroes," said Jenkins, when asked why we need Wonder Woman. "What a beautiful message right now because we're in a dark place, and that's the only way we're going to get to the other side, if everyone becomes a hero." (Warner Bros. canceled the film's London premiere after Monday's attack in Manchester.)

Despite the obvious girl power on display, many of the film's stars and creators shied away from identifying it as a feminist film, hoping not to isolate the male fans in attendance.

"I think that the film just takes a great character and tells a great story about how that character came to be," Charles Roven, the film's producer, told the Los Angeles Times.

"Obviously the character wouldn't be who she is if she wasn't a woman, but she's a very specific woman," Roven added. "There's no other superhero character in the DC Universe who embraced their legacy and knew what they wanted to be and became [it]. And that's completely inspirational to everyone, not just women."

"I come from a different industry where in fitness, I'm very connected with men and women and we're very equal," said CrossFit athlete Brooke Ence, who plays the Amazonian Penthesilea in the film. "And what I've heard from the boys is they are just as excited for this as everyone else is."

Jenkins echoed that inclusive sentiment.

"I hope that it really makes a little kid step into the shoes of someone who wants to be a superhero," she said. "That's how superheroes stories work, that's what we made this movie about. It can speak to everybody as a result."

Lynda Carter, who played Wonder Woman in the 1970s television series, left, and her daughter Jessica Altman attend the "Wonder Woman" premiere on May 25.
Lynda Carter, who played Wonder Woman in the 1970s television series, left, and her daughter Jessica Altman attend the "Wonder Woman" premiere on May 25. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

The sole person who took a different take on the feminist designation was Canadian martial artist and stuntwoman Samantha Jo, who plays Euboea in the film.

"I know feminism is about the equality of men and women, and this film is just a woman fighting alongside men, and there have been similar films of men fighting alongside women," said Jo. "It can be misconstrued, I guess, and I don't think people really understand what it entails, but really, it's equality."

Wonder Woman's influence could be felt throughout the premiere, from Gadot's red sequin gown to the chunky gold bangles decorating many wrists.

"I'm really rooting for this movie to do well," said Candice Patton, who plays Iris on "The Flash." "There aren't a lot of female superheroes in film or TV right now, so it's really important that DC have one. I think this is one of their first in a very long time, so I'm really hoping that it knocks the box office numbers out of the park and holds up with the boys, the Batmans and Supermans."

Besides sharing their thoughts on feminism, the film's stars also had fun imagining possible catchphrases for the heroine.

"Look out baby, I'm coming," suggested Ence.

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"I am woman, hear me roar," offered Patton.

"I heard Gal say something in an interview that I love and that's, 'Be your own hero,'" said stuntwoman Jessie Graff, who herself has been referred to as Wonder Woman during her stint on "American Ninja Warrior." "So I vote for that."

Valerie Urso, left, Maria Crawford and Samantha Fekete get into the spirit at the premiere of "Wonder Woman" at the Pantages Theatre on May 25.
Valerie Urso, left, Maria Crawford and Samantha Fekete get into the spirit at the premiere of "Wonder Woman" at the Pantages Theatre on May 25. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

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