Will Wonder Woman be Wonderful??? DC/WB Are Counting On It…

BoybluesDCU Source

In just over a month DC and Warner Brothers will unleash on the world, in my opinion, it’s most important title to date when Wonder Woman hits theatres on May 2.  Rather than focusing on the mechanics of the movie itself and the rumors and speculation surrounding the characters, lets look at it from a different angle.

The cultural significance of this release cannot be understated as Wonder Women is easily the most heralded female comic book character (although not the first) and one of the most popular comic book characters of all time…period.  Listen, there aren’t too many corners of the planet where by uttering the name Wonder Woman will not elicit some type of response or familiarity.  Quite simply, with the likes of Superman, she is considered a national treasure and her influence can be felt across multiple generations of fans both home and abroad, both men and women.

Google Source

She is a rich and equally complex character who represents the best of  mankind and womanhood…strong, independent, fearless and compassionate.  Since feminists of the day were on his mind when he created her, it’s no surprise that William Moulton Marston’s creation would go on to be a feminist icon in her own right, perhaps THE feminist icon of the 20th century.

She was modeled after the unconventional liberated women of that time, a time when a majority of women were subservient and submissive. For that era, she was a unique feminine archetype for force, strength and power.  “Wonder Woman is psychological propaganda for the new type of woman who should, I believe, rule the world”, Marston wrote.  An odd character is his own right, in this instance, seemed to be ahead of his time.

Historically while not great, Gal Gadot does have a few options (from TV) if she wants to research past Wonder Woman iterations.   Wonder Woman’s most popular version to date has to belong to Lynda Carter, who played the hero on TV from 1975-79 in a hit program, ratings wise.  Prior to that, Wonder Woman was played by Cathy Lee Crosby of That’s Incredible! fame in an ill-fated, live-action 1974 TV film that failed to impress.  More recently, a pilot was shot that never aired for NBC starring Adrianne Palicki of Friday Night Lights fame.

wonder woman - google source

The character has had a lot more success in animated form, especially in recent years. The longest-running of these DC Comics program was the animated Super Friends, which ran from 1973-86 and prominently featured Wonder Woman as a founding member of the group.  She’s appeared in recent  Justice League animated films and had hear own animated film in 2009 starring Keri Russell.

Now, 76 long years later we’re getting a live action feature length Wonder Woman film and things seem to be pointing in the right direction.  With two women at the helm, Director Patty Jenkins (of Monster fame) and Gal Gadot playing Princess Diana of Themyscira, the word from early screenings and released footage have ranged from good to great.   Most giving the slick action sequences, beautiful cinematography and good performances high marks while stating that the plot is simply stated, so much so that it doesn’t befuddle the main goal of it protagonist, something that was detrimental in Batman v Superman.

In fact one of the few positives from Batman v Superman, although under utilized, was our first look at Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman/Diana on screen.

wonder44 Google Source

The bar in the world of comic book movies is set very high these days, so much that Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad were considered disappointments even though they made a combined $1.6 billion at the box office and untold fortunes in merchandising.  DC and WB have been playing catch up to Disney’s Marvel for some time now and this is the year they expect to gain some serious ground not only with Wonder Woman but with the fall release of Justice League as well.  While Wonder Woman isn’t expected to make a billion dollars, anything short of that for Justice League will create some more serious head scratching.

MCU films not only have been big money makers for Disney, but they’ve been embraced by critics as well, typically receiving aggregate scores of 80% or higher.  It’s important for the DCEU, to ensure long term success, that Wonder Woman is a critical success as well as a box office one.

From a character standpoint, whether you’re a DC or Marvel person, its tough to argue against the fact that DC certainly has the edge with women superheroes, since they have THE woman superhero.  Marvel has some wonderful female warriors no doubt but none match the significance of Wonder Woman.  Which is why this film succeeding is so important, even beyond the DC v Marvel war and even beyond box office records.

If this movie performs at or above expectations, then the path is clear for all sorts of female comic book standalones to be green lit.  Already, again a strength for DC, we know Harley Quinn will return in Gotham City Sirens and we’ll see Brie Larson take on the role of Captain Marvel in 2019. But beyond that, a Wonder Woman victory could help usher in lesser known (generally) titles such as She-Hulk, Power Girl, Artemis, Mockingbird or perhaps get that Black Widow film finally made.

All sides should agree that a win for Wonder Woman is a win for everybody.  At Comic Con recently I saw a family of three generations of women all dressed as Wonder Woman, it was great sight and proof that she endures beyond generational gaps and continues to inspire women of all ages.  In that sense, the Wonder Woman that was released in 1941 is not much different than the one we see today.  And in keeping with that, it’s no surprise the film is getting a PG-13 ratting to reach and appeal to wider audience.

Women have had a long tough road in America and Wonder Woman is no exception. She’s experienced many “facelifts” over the decades (remember the jumpsuits and Mod Boutique?) mostly to satisfy someone’s (men) perverse idea of what a woman’s role should be in post-war America.  During the “nuclear family” era where social conservatism reigned supreme, little was expected from women where family was seen as the primary unit of society. These movements directly opposed what Wonder Woman stood for and the stereotypes she fought against.  They forced Wonder Woman (and all comics) into an age (Silver Age) of silliness and strict conformity to gender stereotypes that lasted until the 2nd wave of feminism in the late 1960s.

Yet, through it all, she’s remained steadfast and true to the principles of an Amazonian Princess which at its core is to simply help humankind make the world an inclusive one where pluralism reigns supreme.  And whether this movie succeeds or not will have more to do with us as a  society than the product up on the screen.

“Please take my hand. I give it to you as a gesture of friendship and love, and of faith freely given. I give you my hand and welcome you into my dream.”

-Wonder Woman #167

June 2nd can’t come soon enough.

Till next time…

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Author: gizmorubiks

I don't want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don't want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don't want to do that.

3 thoughts

  1. I think Wonder Woman can succeed. I honestly think DC’s biggest mistake was giving creative control of it’s extended Universe to Zack Snyder. More recently that has been fixed or hopefully it has with his diminished role. Still his legacy endures. The guy really only had one great film in 300 where his weird combination of epic shots and slow motion worked really well. The rest of his films like Watchmen and Sucker Punch were OK but I’d struggle to call them great.

    I suppose they wanted to see if he could appeal to males once more and recapture that 300 magic. It turns out that he can’t. While I liked Man of Steel I didn’t love it. It was always going to be compared to the seriously campy Richard Donner films, but those films did something Snyder could not do. They made you fall in love with Superman. Despite all the camp, the bad acting, the dated special effects, they were stories that made you believe in him. I enjoyed Man of Steel’s fight scenes (which were awesome, people are lying if they say differently) but unfortunately Snyder could not make me feel the same for his Superman. It’s a shame to say it but even though it had it’s issues the CW did better with Smallville. I loved Clark in that one.

    I think Wonder Women will do great but we have to remember it’s an origin story. Much Man of Steel they tend to be just good or OK. Rarely do origin stories of superheroes wow us. Look at Thor his movie was only OK but he is one of the most popular characters in the MCU. All they really have to do is tell us a simple story and get the character of Wonder Woman right. It sounds simple but the screwed up putting together a basic plot before. Look at Suicide Squad and Batman VS Superman they both had overly convoluted plots. It’s a shame they both had the potential to be great. Now I don’t know if it was studio interference or reshoots, or any of the various reported things but someone or some group butchered these films until they became just messy to follow.

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  2. Snyder helped with the story and he and his wife helped produce so his prints are going to be somewhere on this like it or not. Reports are that Jenkins had a lot of room to breath so we’ll see. Current numbers have WW getting somewhere between $550 – $650 million at the box office…not bad for the first one but the critic score will matter more. DC needs a 75% or higher score if they want it have legs…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think the Wonder Woman Sequel will be more to see if they got her right. Origin stories are hard to judge. Captain America did not get good until Winter Soldier. So it can happen. As for it being Snydery, well he is not directing so it can’t be all that bad. So long as they prioritize character over Snyder’s love of hero shots it should be fine. I think it will have legs because it’s Wonder Women. Good movie or bad generations of people will see it. It’s extremely hard to bomb with legacy characters. Though Snyder or the studio or whoever sure as hell tried before.

      Liked by 1 person

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