I am not a DC comics person.
For those of you taking notes in order to gain geek cred: on the one side you’ve got DC fans and on the other Marvel fans, and rarely do the twain meet. I heard a funny joke recently that said, “When I was young I was a DC fan and when I grew up I put away childish things and became a Marvel fan.”
Ok, only funny to a very limited audience.
I do have a point here, now that I’ve set some context, because I want to talk about Wonder Woman. The amazon princess is part of DC comics’ holy triumvirate of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, three of the oldest, most iconic, and most enduring of all superheroes. Perhaps you’ve noticed that Superman and Batman, in addition to the tsunami of merchandise that accompanies their many comic book titles, have had a few movies and the occasional television show made about them. Surely Wonder Woman, as part of that exclusive club, has her own campy and/or unnecessarily dark film franchise – but no. While the cinematic fortunes of DC’s other marquee heroes wax and wane Wonder Woman is left only with her one brief shining moment on 70s television. There might be a cartoon out there worth mentioning but I’m focusing on the general public awareness.
So why hasn’t Wonder Woman earned her shot at the big screen? The head of DC Entertainment, Diane Nelson, has stated pretty much explicitly that it’s simply because they don’t know what to do with her. Personally, I’m not buying it.
Every summer Marvel methodically takes over movie theaters with a series of interconnected films that appear to be earning all the money. They’ve moved into TV with Agents of Shield and they recently cut a monster deal with Netflix.
Monster as in big, not creatures from the underworld or anything like that. In comics you have to make these distinctions.
Anyway, DC has been reasonably successful with Christopher Nolan directing the Batman Dark Knight trilogy and producing the new Superman movie but, while I’ve liked Nolan’s movies in the past, his superhero movies are no fun with a capital No Fun. I’m not saying superhero movies can’t be dark, they just can’t be all dark. We’re talking about superheroes, grown men who run around in colorful tights punching each other really hard.
And now DC is working on Superman vs. Batman because: money. But they have also recently announced the casting of Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman!
I know. I have no idea who she is either!
The important thing is, however, that Superman vs. Batman is not going to be just Superman and Batman, it’s going to be the whole triumvirate together on film at last. The question now becomes, will they finally figure out what to do with Wonder Woman? Will she have overtones of her original incarnation, the feminist bondage submissive pacifist lesbian created by William Marston? Or will she be the more liberated feminist pacifist lesbian of today?
Either way, the big question still remains; can a Hollywood that is ridiculously gender biased against women make a movie with a female character – easily one of the most iconic female characters – who can actually measure up to a real woman?