Wonder Woman - Thoughts on how she makes the DCU and Superman Better

Last week Wonder Woman effectively put the DCU on a much better footing as it over-performed at the box office and thrilled fans and critics alike. I was one of those fans and I instantly got excited for the new path forward for this universe and how Patty Jenkins and Gal Gadot have put their unique stamp within the DCU. They have also smartly built a blueprint for a successful comic book dynasty, that if followed, could indeed rival the Mouse House and Marvel. If you saw the movie you are probably giving me a bit of a blank stare and saying did we watch the same movie--other than the beginning and end there was literally no real connection to the DC Universe. And you would be correct. What it did do is create a well rounded protagonist that can and will set the tone for future installments that will hopefully tie into the rest of the Justice League going forward. Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman brought her earnest sense of right and wrong without appearing hokey and a righteousness and a naivete that was understandable and relatable. In fact she is by far the closest representation of what Superman should have been since Christopher Reeve last donned the tights.  

 The first real superhero movie that encapsulated everything that makes a comic book special: an incredible origin story, an iconic costume, an iconic soundtrack and a smart but dastardly villain who you can’t help but love. The hope and optimism of an entire generation is poured into every frame. It’s what started all of this - Superman: The Motion Picture.   The film is a bit dated at times, it was after all made in 1978, but the themes and characters still remain relevant today. In fact it holds up so well that Wonder Woman cleverly made noticeable nods to Richard Donner’s original. The prime example was the fantastic alley way scene that mirrored the stick up scene from Superman in many respects. It was a great call back. Director Patty Jenkins went even further, with her love of Superman, in her pitch to Warner Brothers for the film as she aspired to make a film full of love, humor and emotion just like Donner’s. After seeing the movie I can happily say this was a masterful success.

 Despite the bleak look through most of the film, the themes Jenkins expressed in her pitch were present throughout and allowed Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman to actually grow and become the Wonder Woman that we saw in Batman v. Superman. Her chemistry with Chris Pine was probably one of the best pairings since Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone in the last Spider-Man movies. It all seems so simple - write good characters, let them grow. This is unfortunately what was missing from Batman v Superman and Man of Steel. It’s not that Man of Steel was bad,  Henry Cavill is a great Superman, it’s just the massive misunderstanding of the character of Superman. For me it started with the Kent family. For both of those films Superman’s foster parents Martha and Jonathan, at every turn, would tell Clark to be fearful don’t use your powers or you might be discovered. Jonathan tells a young Clark that maybe he should have let a bus full of kids die to protect his secret. In one of the worst parts for me in that movie where Jonathan waves off Clark from saving his own life during a Tornado - and he lets him die. I guess that’s honoring your Father’s wishes but it’s pretty fucked up. In Batman v Superman Martha tells Clark that he can save people or not he doesn’t owe anybody anything. That’s kind of terrible, frankly and the fact that both of them espouse this thinking it’s no wonder he went nuclear on Metropolis at the end of Man of Steel. I understood in the beginning of Man of Steel why Clark felt the need to use his powers as little as possible for fear of doing more damage. But again by the end of the film he’s going full throttle against Zod cratering Metropolis. I know it became a plot point later in the sequel Batman v Superman. But to me it felt like the spectacle over the story by Snyder and it sacrifices the character of Superman as a result, to be honest.  Snyder was just looking for eye popping action scenes of destruction but not really thinking about character motivations. Which brings us to Wonder Woman in Themyscira where her mother, Hippolyta, embodies a bit of both Ma and Pa Kent but through a much better script and with stronger character development is shown why Diana must take the risk and use her powers to save others. This is championed by the wonderful Robin Wright who plays Diana’s bad ass warrior aunt. It worked so seamlessly and to watch Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman discover man’s world with its sexism, cruelty, deception and lies. To see her struggle through this but retain the inherent goodness she represents and embody the strength of love and empathy that encapsulates Wonder Woman makes my thoughts on this matter clear. Also she kicked ass with the lasso and the bulletproof bracelets. In conclusion not only should Patty Jenkins make the sequel to Wonder Woman but she needs to be given the reigns to Superman as well STAT.

Wonder Woman - Making HERstory

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I, like many others (many millions of others!) went to see Wonder Woman on opening weekend.  I could not wait.  I remember seeing re-runs of the tv show with Lynda Carter way back in the day when I was a kid and thinking...wow, a girl who is taking charge, running around and jumping in front of cars and kicking ass and saving the day!  Wonder Woman is such a positive role model for young girls, and girls of all ages actually. After seeing Batman v Superman in the theatre and then the introduction of Wonder Woman, I was spellbound by her.  A fierce, independent, confident, go-getter, no holds barred, feminine yet strong character?  SIGN ME UP.  There are not that many, if at all, female superheroes to really look up to, and this one takes the cake on all levels.  Gal Gadot gave, in my opinion, a perfectly honest and real portrayal.  So wonderfully cast.  She was so badass and it was amazing.

A few months ago I ran my 2nd ever 5k, and the theme was...dress as your favorite female movie character, and I chose her.  I actually felt fearless running that race, and that I could accomplish anything I put my mind to!  And that was to run the entire way and finish with a strong pace.  That I did :).

As I was watching the movie I couldn't help but feel so giddy and proud at seeing this type of character on the big screen.  You usually see the men fighting and saving the day and the females as the damsel in distress needing to be saved.  She didn't need to be saved.  She was doing the saving.  Throughout the entire film she was fighting for what she believed was right, and even when faced with a firm no, she did not waiver in her beliefs.  How refreshing.  When she was running thru that battlefield to save the town and the people under fire who were defending it....that was almost otherworldly!  I think my jaw was agape throughout that entire scene. The men were the ones waiting in the wings not wanting to initially push forward.  She led, they followed. Even when she was told by her American Pilot (soon to be love) Steve Trevor, "we can't save everyone," she believed she could, and she tried her damndest to make that happen.  And for little girls who are seeing this character on any type of screen for the first time...what an amazing role model to make them feel brave, confident, and fearless and believe anything is possible. So, as you can see, I loved it!  I mean, that came across, right? :).  As a whole I really loved the film.  Great acting, story, effects, character development, and Gal Gadot and Chris Pine had tremendous chemistry. Not to mention I loved the humor element throughout.  It was such a fun ride!

It truly was so exciting and inspiring watching this character take charge and do so without regret.  My fists were pumping and I was cheering her on the entire way....albeit quietly because I was in a movie theatre filled with people.  Ok, so I did make some audible gasps and oohhs and aahhs.  And yet, she still had that soft side to her that is also so relatable...as in the end she states..."It's about what you believe. And I believe in love."  - J. Solo

Are Super Hero Movies/TV DOA?

This is a question that has come up frequently over the last few years as the Super Hero genre has grown considerably from one or two a year, if you were lucky, to an amazing six this year. Complaints about the strength and fortitude of this genre has been scrutinized as a passing fad like the Western or too dumb and silly for the norms because they wear costumes and do magic. From big time respected Hollywood directors like Steven Spielberg to the show runner of Gotham, Bruno Heller on Fox. This criticism has not abated. My question is why all the hate? Like most things I think that the peak of Super Hero movies might have met it's zenith this year but it doesn't mean that studios are going to slow down or stop altogether any time soon. Why should they even at their worst the mainstream blockbusters have always found a way to make comfortably over 100 million dollars at the least and at most over a billion dollars or more world wide. Would you stop making these types of movies with that kind of money? 

I get it, there are some people who love superheroes and others who do not but what I want to focus on, the question people keep asking, are Comic Book movies ruining the industry? The answer to this question is simple, no. In fact it has streamlined the movie industry in a way that it will never be the same again whether you love these movies or not. Studios from Sony, Warner Brothers, Paramount, Disney, Universal and even some of the mid-majors like Lionsgate are all interested in franchises with their own universe so they can create more movies, video games, tv shows and the list goes on and on. They started this process with mostly just comic book properties, Marvel/Disney doing it the best and now every studio is trying to do this at some level or another and now it's not just comic book characters it's with everything. So in a sense the comic book industry has left a permanent mark on film whether you love them or not. You are always going to have bad movies whether it be an unnecessary sequel, a shitty remake, a terrible book/comic/game adaptation. Personally I would love it if all the studios got back to the art of making movies for profit rather than only looking at profit for movies. There is a distinction. 

Also just a note in closing to Bruno Heller, it's your right to call Super Heroes silly and stupid but you look like a horses ass when you say these things while working on a Super Hero show. Gotham, the show you created, is dumb and silly and doesn't feel remotely realistic and I stopped watching it mostly because you are teasing Batman on a Batman show without actually showing Batman and that just doesn't work for me. No matter how many of his villains origins you want to show. The reason comic book movies and TV work is they are faithful in spirit to their original design. It doesn't have to be paint by numbers but it has to make sense. It's that simple.