Saturday, February 20, 2016

All The World Is Waiting For You

It's a-comin'....

So here we are, one month away—as of this writing—from Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Not only that, but we've also gotten info on Wonder Woman's own individual movie, which has already begun filming.
So with the home stretch upon us, I thought I'd offer some thoughts on recent information regarding our Amazon heroine and her upcoming film debut.

Let's get rambling....

The "Main" Event
My general opinion of Batman/Superman has changed very little since the last time I addressed this topic, so I'm going to motor through this part. My biggest takeaway from the trailers is Superman and Batman are going to fight each other because they're.....dumb. Dumb, childish, and this fight is basically going to be a glorified dick-measuring contest.
Whatever—this has only increased my hope Wonder Woman turns out to be the voice of reason who gets Supes & Bats to stop fighting.

Doomsday is indeed going to rear his ugly mug. I'm not surprised by his presence, but as I've said elsewhere, I think Doomsday is a garbage character in general, so screw him. Better to get him out of the way as quickly as possible, in my opinion.
What I will say is, based on the trailer, my fear his role in the film would involve beating the piss out of Wonder Woman until Supes & Bats stop throwing handbags appears to be unfounded. So, if nothing else, we will be spared shit like this.

So there's that.

At this point, Wonder Woman really is the only thing about this movie I have any interest in. Everything else—Superman, Batman, Doomsday, Affleck, Lex Luthor—is incidental as far as I'm concerned.

Diana's big reveal at the end of the recent trailer was certainly impressive, but—as I'm sure people who follow this blog will already have guessed—I take umbrage with the presence of a shield.
I'm not going to get into it again. I've already addressed the issue here, here, here, and touched on it again here. I'm sorry, but this will never not bother me.

What I will say is I think the scene would've been much more bad-ass if she had deflected Doomsday's heat vision with her bracelets instead. Maybe it's because I grew up with Street Fighter and watching stuff like this, but I have no trouble accepting a character defending himself/herself from massive death beams just by crossing their arms. Is it realistic..? Hell no—but that's why her bracelets are magic.

But fine...make her use a shield instead. Blurgle-blurgle.

Going Solo
Now onto more important matters: the Wonder Woman movie is finally underway, and they've begun filming.

According to rumors, the villains will be Circe and Ares and the plot will involve their machinations. As such, there's rumored to be an emphasis on fantasy elements, involving Wonder Woman at some point fighting an army of monsters led by Ares while Circe controls the minds of world leaders. 

Now, assuming these rumors turn out to be accurate, it would seem the film—despite following the Nu52 origin and the DC movies' devotion to "gritty realism"—is taking a lot of its cues from George Pérez's Wonder Woman run and embracing a more fantasy-esque tone.
And that, I think, can only be a good thing.

What we know for certain is Wonder Woman is set at least partially during World War I. There have been rumors some of it will take place in the present. According to Zack Snyder, Diana herself is going to be about 5,000 years old—which is striking considering in the comics the Amazons themselves are only 3,000 years old—and, by the time of Batman v. Superman, retired from being a superhero and, presumably, it will be the events of that movie which force her back into action.

And this, honestly, is where some alarm bells start ringing for me.

I mentioned in a previous post how I'm not a fan of setting Wonder Woman's origin in the past, during the World Wars. I didn't really get into it, partially because I thought the subject warranted its own post, but mostly because I wasn't yet sure how to articulate just why exactly I'm not a fan of the idea.

I think one of the things that bothers me about it is the assumption that World War II and Nazis just ARE an integral part of Wonder Woman's origin.
It's sort of like how people still think Diana needs the Invisible Jet and are surprised she can fly on her own—even though she's been flying for decades now. The World Wars and Nazis are no more integral to Wonder Woman than they are to Superman or Batman (who also fought Nazis because that's what superheroes did during WWII).

It's not akin to Captain America, and it just irks me that people think Diana's story is anchored in the past and can't be adapted to the present. It's a misconception I'd rather see done away with rather than embraced.

Also, although Diana is immortal, I find it counterproductive to make her hundreds (or in this case, thousands) of years old for her first adventures when a recurring complaint about Wonder Woman is that she is difficult to relate to or somehow separate from humanity. Just seems to me having her already be centuries old before she even leaves Themyscira only adds to that problem rather than resolving it.

Both of these are admittedly minor issues, but the latter ties into the greater reason I don't like the idea of Diana's first adventures being in the past.

A big part of Wonder Woman's character is her idealism. In fact, if I had to single out the most important attribute of Wonder Woman—aside from compassion—it would be idealism.
Diana is an idealistic person, sometimes to a fault, and her drive in being Wonder Woman is said idealism—her belief people, women AND men, are fundamentally good & decent and can be better. Her mission is an idealistic one. She sees the best in people and strives to make the world a better place because of it.
Idealism is why she is Wonder Woman and why she continues to be Wonder Woman.

As such, I think Diana's youth is relevant to that. Her desire to leave Themyscira, see the world, and use her abilities to improve seem better suited to a young character—not one who's been sitting on Themyscira for a couple hundred (or thousand) years before Steve Trevor even showed up. Her being the youngest Amazon—the first and only child of Themyscira—also plays into that and distinguishes her from the rest of her sisters.
(yet another reason I thoroughly despise the revelation Amazons have been raping men and having children throughout the centuries)

I'm not saying only very young characters can be idealistic, but it is an attribute commonly associated to the young. And, you know what, maybe something could be said about Wonder Woman retaining her idealistic outlook even after hundreds or thousands of years.

But this brings me back to what Zack Snyder said about Diana's being retired by the time of Batman v. Superman and the alarm bells that give me pause.

Gal Gadot followed up Snyder's thoughts with this quote:

“Because [Wonder Woman]’s seen it all, she has seen what humans can do, so it was very hard for her to come back and fight.”

What this suggests is we're going to get an embittered, cynical Diana who becomes Wonder Woman (again) grudgingly. Further, this also implies that her own movie will end with her, having seen the horrors of World War I, shutting down and giving up on humanity.

And that is quite troubling. And such a chipper ending, too.

Now, in fairness, a Diana who's already "seen it all" and fought through wars and had her idealism tested (maybe even broken) could make for an interesting interpretation of the character and could make for a compelling story. Because just how long does Diana plan to be Wonder Woman? She is immortal and her mission is an impossible one—is she planning on doing it forever? What are the limits of her idealism? What would make her give on humanity and/or just go back home?
Very interesting questions that, if properly explored, would really define Wonder Woman as a character.

Thus far, it's worth noting, whenever DC has some kind of "hypothetical future" story, when it comes to Wonder Woman, she almost always either:
A) died horribly at some point
B) just went home to Themyscira without a word
C) somehow gave up her immortality and lives/lived a normal life
D) married Superman, had his babies, and died

And, honestly, those are pretty weak answers to the questions I brought up. Diana choosing to give up being Wonder Woman and either return to Themyscira or wander off to walk the Earth like the Highlander should be a big deal. For something to make her give up on her mission—something she believes to be her destiny, remember—should be something major.
The only story I can think of to even come close to addressing this sort of thing was Kingdom Come (and I have thoughts on that, which I'll get to some other time).

My point is, a Diana who's already seen it all, retired, and finds herself forced back into being Wonder Woman...that should be heavy shit. And what concerns me is: do the filmmakers realize and appreciate that?
And although it could make for an interesting story, it's one I'd rather see in some self-contained Elseworlds tale and treated with the gravity it deserves.

Not the "main" Wonder Woman in her first film appearances. Not as an "oh by the way" explanation for why she's only popping up now to help Superman & Batman.

Maybe (hopefully) Wonder Woman's director, Patty Jenkins, will properly address the question of just how long does Diana plan to be Wonder Woman and test the limits of her idealism in a satisfactory way that will be true to the character and segue into Batman v. Superman without merely being: "She just gave up and went home."

I don't trust Zack Snyder to do that. Snyder, in general, seems to approach everything like a 12-year-old who's just discovered what "deconstruction" is. A cynical Wonder Woman who's given up on humanity actually is in keeping with his approach to the DC Universe as a whole.
Seriously, I've read his interviews on Superman and Batman, and I wonder maybe someone should remind him he already made Watchmen.

I suppose if there is a perk to Diana being thousands of years old, it's that she (hopefully) won't be portrayed as naive. Because as much as I emphasize Diana's youth and idealism, she should never be naive. She was blessed with the Wisdom of Athena, after all.
Furthermore, we might be spared scenes of her getting baffled by ice cream—so there is that much, at least.

I do want to point out that what I'm saying here is by no means definitive judgment on the movies. Obviously, I haven't see Batman v. Superman and they've only started making Wonder Woman (as of this writing).
These are only reservations. Cautionary thoughts.

Simple fact: NO ONE is going to get their "perfect" Wonder Woman movie.
Her costume, her powers, her love interest(s), her age, secret identity or no secret identity, hell, even her motivation in simply being a superhero...let's face it, Wonder Woman has, unfortunately, been notoriously inconsistent throughout the years—to the point where even her longtime fans can debate what aspects of her character must be present and represented.
Even under the best of circumstances, it's going to be give & take for everyone.

Speaking for myself....
I'm disappointed Wonder Woman is apparently not going to fly. Her costume is acceptable. I'm not happy her origin is set during World War I or that they're, for the most part, going to follow the Nu52 story. If she really does turn out to be the voice of reason who gets Superman & Batman to stop fighting, I'll be thrilled. And I'm honestly getting fucking sick of seeing that goddamn sword and shield.

Give and take.

But, through it all, perhaps what's most important is the core essence of her character is true. That she is Wonder Woman because she sees the best in people and strives to use her powers to improve the world. That she always prefers the peaceful resolution and only fights as a last resort. Maybe I will forgive details like her non-flying and the World War I setting as long as her idealism and compassion remain intact.
Thus far, we've gotten some fine lip-service regarding Wonder Woman's coming portrayal. They talked up how Diana is going to be smart, compassionate, and idealistic. But all we've seen thus far is the dreary, sword-wielding WARRIOR Wonder Woman.

They say the right things, but if you're a Wonder Woman fan for any length of time, sooner or later you learn to live by the motto: I'll believe it when I see it.


  1. So... What do I know so far?
    - She appear to be a mix of the worst version of WW (Azzarello, new52) with some of her most obsolete elements in the mix (lack of flight, world war setting).
    - The "actress" doesn't look like WW at all. Maybe she will deliver a decent WW, I don't know, but...
    - Her equipment is wrong or downplayed (emphasis on sword/shield, not on the lasso. Are the bracelets even there to do something?). It's still possible that the bracelets and the lasso will be around a lot, but...
    - The costume is ok.

    Remain to be seen what kind of characterization will this "WW" get, but I'm not optimistic at this point...

    I partially disagree with you about one thing: the lore is as much important as the core essence. WW revealed to be the daughter of Zeus is not WW. Just like Superman revealed to be a robot from mars is not Superman and Batman revealed to be an immortal alien is not Batman.

    Waiting for your next article about WW!

    1. It's funny you mention the importance of lore, because I'd been hearing good things about the "Legend of Wonder Woman" series that's being made right now. I heard it follows the clay origin and has been depicting Diana well, so I was tempted to buy it...but I've just learned in this series pretty much all of Wonder Woman's powers come from her costume.
      She doesn't fly...she has magic boots. She doesn't have super-strength...she wears a magic girdle. She doesn't have super-human reflexes...her tiara magically gives her super-reflexes. Etc.

      So now I'm pretty much soured on the whole thing. I'm beginning to wonder if it's possible for DC to come out with a version of Wonder Woman that doesn't make me want to rip my hair out of my scalp for one reason or another.

      Mileage definitely varies when it comes to how much change one is willing to accept for an adaptation. This will probably apply to Wonder Woman more than any other comic book character.
      I thought the animated "Wonder Woman" movie was decent enough, but it did bug me she didn't fly in it. Her portrayal in "Justice League Unlimited" was okay, but there were definitely things that bug me about that show.

      As for the upcoming movies...well, like I said, they say the right things--but what we've actually seen, which admittedly isn't much, hasn't been encouraging.

    2. TLOWW isn't for sure "my WW", but I think it's a good WW book. In this version the various pieces of the costume are divine artifacts that amplify into superpowers her pre-existing qualities. The tiara gives super-reflexes when placed on her head, but would be only a shining object on the head of a less wondrous person...
      (I'm paraphrasing the author)

      Not my favorite thing in the world, but it's not offensive at all. I mean... It's not like the only special thing she have is a mother that opened the legs to the only man she could not kill and/or rape...

      I'm willing to accept "lots" of changes, as long as the idea behind the core elements isn't corrupted.
      There must be some kind of clay origin, some kind of positive all-female isolated society, some decent degree of use for both the bracelets and the lasso of truth, the unique intellectual aspects of the character, a somewhat appropriate level of power...

      My personal singularity of bitterness is stuck in the zeus origin. I find it unacceptable and unforgivable. I hate it. HATE with burning passion!
      A definitive spoiler about this particular thing is the only thing I want to know from Snyder & Co...