I am frankly baffled why DC/WB can’t seem to make a Wonder Woman movie. I don’t understand the reluctance or the reasons. The current plans for the DC Movie-verse seem to be to make another Superman sequel and a Flash movie and then a Justice League of America movie. Wonder Woman will make her debut in the JLA movie.
*wham* *wham* *wham* *wham*
That was the sound of my forehead hitting my desk in frustration and rage. There is a larger and more problematic dynamic at play with the DC movie-verse that I may get into later, but should touch on here – DC doesn’t care about their comics; therefore, they don’t care about their movies. By that I mean that the higher-ups at DC aren’t listening to the fans on either the direction of the comics or the movies. The higher-ups and WB don’t care as long as the movies make money, and no one in the DC/WB movie making side of the business seems interested in making anything besides Batman movies, even if they feel forced to have those star someone other than Batman. As I’ve said before, DC is not my comic book universe of choice. But even I understand that the core of the JLA (in its modern incarnation) is DC’s trinity – Batman, Superman, and WONDER WOMAN. To introduce one of the iconic trinity of heroes in a team-up movie is to doom it to failure, and if that’s the direction DC/WB goes, then they deserve to have their movie crash and burn. But anyway, my reasons for saying that DC doesn’t care about their comics, and how DC/WB just can’t seem to learn from Marvel/Disney’s success, are rants for another time. This is about Wonder Woman.
Wonder Woman was the first superhero I was ever introduced to. When I was quite small (in a time not to be disclosed), I was given a book with Wonder Woman’s origin story. This was not a tradeback. I remember the book being much like the Dr. Seuss books I owned; a strong hard cover and a short story format, not a comic book format. I think this may have been some child’s book produced by some other company with DC’s permission because I know this book did not have the original art. The story was Diana’s Golden Age origin – an Amazon created from a statue and brought to life by the Greek gods who becomes a warrior and has to return the stranded WWII Captain Steve Trevor to the man’s world. This really resonated with me because I thought it was just so fantastic, especially the part about her coming to life from a statue. Even now I can remember some of the pages as though I was reading the book. That set the stage for me loving superheroes later in my life.
Her origin has been changed a couple of times since that first one, and almost needless to say I do not care for the New 52’s latest origin. It is laaaaaame, but I’ll go into that another time. If it were me making the movie, I would use the original origin (you have to love a medium where that phrase actually has meaning instead of just being a typo) and have Wonder Woman began her superhero career during WWII. That’s the only way to explain her costume and considering how much fan backlash there is when anyone dares try to update her costume, it might be best not to mess around with it. I mean, come on, how can they go wrong with Wonder Woman punching out Nazis? Frankly, it’s hard to go wrong with anyone punching out Nazis. If they don’t want to commit to a sequel, then leave the ending ambiguous as to whether or not she returned to her home and have the potential sequel or JLA movie answer the question.
I mean, I really am beyond confused as to why DC/WB think this would be a difficult movie to make. They’ve already made an animated Wonder Woman movie that was pretty good. Are they afraid it would be campy like the 1970s series? If so, don’t make it campy. That’s not hard; just keep Joel Schumacher away from this thing. In this, DC/WB would have an edge over Marvel. Marvel does not have an iconic female hero comparable to Wonder Woman. I don’t see them making a another superhero movie starring a woman lead because there are so few iconic women characters for them to use in a solo movie (I’m not saying there aren’t iconic female heroes, I’m saying they tend to be part of teams [like the Invisible Woman or Storm or Jean Grey or Black Widow]). The only reason Elektra got a movie is because she had a following after the Daredevil movie and not because she’s been a comic book character for 70 years! My thoughts as to why DC/WB is being stupidly squeamish about this are as follows:
1) A woman lead cannot carry a superhero movie.
This is [expletive] and insulting to just about everyone. The very few superhero movies that have been made featuring a female lead have by and large been awful (Catwoman, Elektra, Supergirl, um, Tank Girl… um, yeah that’s all I got). However, that does not mean they were awful because the lead was a female. Plenty of superhero movies featuring male leads have been pretty awful as well. The movies aren’t awful because the woman is the lead; the movies are awful because of bad writing, bad story, bad acting, basically bad everything else. A movie that is awful will be awful regardless of the gender of the lead hero!!! This is not a difficult concept to understand.
2) Only men/boys like superheroes, and they don’t want to see a woman lead.
This is also [expletive] and insulting to just about everyone. Good characters have a diverse fanbase. And the idea that males only want to see males lead a movie is illogical for this character. Wonder Woman has endured in comics nearly as long as Batman and Superman, so if only males like superheroes, then clearly males like Wonder Woman. Also, “Xena – Warrior Princess.” I have no idea if the crew behind that show was intending to rip off Wonder Woman or made this kind as an homage or their distaff counterpart of Hercules just happened to end up this way. I actually thought after watching this show Lucy Lawless would make a great live action Wonder Woman because it wasn’t really a stretch at that point (“Hey, Xena can’t fly.” “I told you, I’m not Xena. I’m Lucy Lawless.” “Oh.”). Heck, I know she provided voice-over work for some of the animated stuff. Anyway, “Xena” was a popular show that featured a tall, strong, super-powered woman lead kicking the asses of various warlords, monsters, and gods, which is also what Wonder Woman does (among other things like saving the world).
3) Wonder Woman as a product of WWII is too hopelessly outdated to bring into a modern setting. Two words – Captain America.
I simply don’t understand this. Wonder Woman has a history nearly as long as Batman and Superman. She is part of the iconic DC trinity. Yes, much of her early years involved BDSM subtext (and sometimes context) but that doesn’t have to be in the movie any more than Batman’s casual killing of villains in his early comics has ever appeared in his movies. DC/WB’s efforts to bring her to live-action have just been half-hearted at best or horribly misguided at worst (just because the 2011 TV pilot was almost universally loathed doesn’t mean the character can’t sell; it means the TV pilot was @#&%ing awful!). Introducing Wonder Woman in a JLA movie would be like introducing, well, Superman in a JLA movie or Batman in a JLA movie. It’s utterly insulting to the character and to the fans. No fanbase would stand for that and the DC/WB movie studio is being just stupid about this. A good movie will sell and there are a lot of people besides me who want to see a Wonder Woman movie done right (basically, do everything the opposite that was done in that god-awful 2011 TV pilot; also, don’t make her Batman).
DC/WB needs to quit wimping out and making lame excuses no one believes. It turns out fans aren’t stupid, and if the studio really wants butts in the seats, maybe they should listen to the people they expect to shell out their hard-earned cash. Wonder Woman deserves her time on the big screen in her own solo movie and it needs to happen before a JLA movie.