Last year, the United Nations decided to name Wonder Woman an honorary ambassador ahead of the 75-year-old comic-book character’s first-ever feature film. The title had previously been bestowed on Winnie the Pooh and the red Angry Bird without much commotion. But this time, the U.N. named the bustiere bombshell Honorary Ambassador for the Empowerment of Women and Girls. The U.N.’s press officers set up a ceremony in October at the organization’s New York City headquarters to honor the comic-book character as well as Gal Gadot, the Israeli actor who played her in 2016’s Batman v Superman and will reprise the role this summer.
Things quickly went sideways. . .
As Gadot greeted dozens of cheering elementary-school-age girls, the adults sitting behind them raised their fists and turned their backs. Outside, some 100 U.N. staffers gathered in protest. More than 600 of them had signed a petition objecting to “a large-breasted white woman of impossible proportions” and “the epitome of a ‘pinup’ girl” becoming an official symbol of female power. Two months later, Wonder Woman’s ambassadorial privileges were unceremoniously withdrawn—setting off another round of cheers and jeers.
Yep, it’s a real shame, no doubt and a bit shocking too.
But not a surprise for Wonder Woman. She has seen it all before. Since her inception, the world’s most recognizable female superhero has been a source of controversy, her values and significance changing with the times. She has been a suffragist, a sex symbol, a soldier—and President of the United States. Along the way, Wonder Woman changed costumes dozens of times, her hemline migrating up, down and back up again.
But the woman who now plays her hasn’t gotten used to the vitriol.
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Warner Bros. cast perhaps the only actor in the world who, whether you know this or not, agree or disagree, like Wonder Woman, is both a model and a soldier: Gal Gadot-Varsano —(Hebrew name: גל גדות, ˈɡæl ɡəˈdoʊt)—Born April 30th, 1985 in Rosh HaAyin, Israel. In Hebrew, her first name means “wave” and her surname means “riverbanks.”
Gadot won the title of “Miss Israel” in 2004, is the ‘Face‘ of Gucci’s Bamboo Fragrance, (sole face for 2015/2016 campaigns before Russian model Polina Oganicheva joined in), and served in the Israel Defense Forces as combat trainer. But that doesn’t mean the now 31-year-old hasn’t been baffled by persistent debates about Wonder Woman’s looks—and the sexual and anti-Semitic harassment Gadot has received online over the past two years.
Gadot was even attacked with immense criticisms, especially on Twitter from a number of groups, (you know, those large “idiotic” groups filled with “idiots” and who recruit only “idiots” with fake accounts), in reaction to her military service and for being “Zionist“.
That question is on the minds of studio executives who are hoping that, after a decade of white men dominating the comic-book-movie boom, audiences are ready for something new. Female superheroes don’t have much of a track record at the box office, partly because of movie studios’ reluctance to bring female leads to the screen. Their logic has been that their target demographic—teenage boys—wouldn’t want to see a woman fight. A string of early-2000s bombs like Elektra and Catwoman didn’t help.
The reason for that may not be only due to a crappy plotline or bad acting. It’s much more complex than that.
But before we get into all that, let’s just come out and say it: Wonder Woman is the most famous heroine of all time. No offense to the Lara Crofts, Buffys, or Disney princesses of the world, but none of them have been plastered on as many magazine covers, adorned as many T-shirts, or sold the countless comics, dolls, and action figures that Wonder Woman has. The full package of beauty, brains, and brawn, she’s been a feminist icon since her star-spangled intro in 1941.
“Wonder Woman” is Princess Diana of the immortal Amazons from Greek mythology. When army pilot Steve Trevor crashes on the warriors’ secluded island paradise, Diana wins the right to escort him home and make her people known to the world. Entering our cynical world for the first time, there’s a lot she must wrap her head around, especially our ways of war, hate, and, well… dating. Helping her are her superhuman strength and speed, as well as the trademark bulletproof bracelets, but it’s probably her Golden Lasso of Truth most people really wish they had.
Torn between a mission to promote peace and her own warrior upbringing, Wonder Woman fights evil while hoping to unlock the potential of a humanity she doesn’t always understand.
The famous Israeli Model, blessed with seemingly an average height (5’11”), Gadot entered and almost on a whim—won the “2004 Miss Israel” competition at the age of 18, and next competed in the “2004 Miss Universe” pageant in Ecuador where she came out as runner-up. But following the competition she joined Israeli Defence Forces, as a citizen of Israel, to complete her two years of mandatory military service.
In past years, she has been ranked as one of the highest earning models in Israel, only behind new generation supermodel Bar Refaeli.
In 2013, her annual modelling salary was estimated at NIS 2.4 million, which was ahead of a number of other famous Israeli models such as Esti Ginzburg and Shlomit Malka, although significantly behind Refaeli.
In 2007, a 21-year-old Gadot took a part in the Maxim photo shoot “Women of the Israeli Army”, and as a result she was featured on the cover of the New York Post. Her acting career took a while but she did manage to star in one of the most popular movies ever when she appeared as Gisele in “Fast & Furious Series” having won the role over six other actresses. And in April 2012, Shalom Life ranked her Number 5 on its list of “the 50 most Talented Jewish Women in the world“, and behind her fellow country-mate Bar Refaeli and French actress Eva Green.
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Now here’s a thing:
It’s always— ‘Marvel vs DC’ —right?
An epic clash between the two comic book titans. An untold and unofficial competition. On-going and always active, correct?
To be fair, the most glaring difference is that DC’s films are much more dark and serious in tone than Marvel’s efforts. Now, don’t get any weird ideas or anything, but the all-serious-feature tone of DC comics is largely similar to the no-humourless-feature tone of Marvel. It expands into the cinematic world as well. For instance, take “The Dark Knight Trilogy” or “Watchmen” from DC in contrast to Marvel’s “Iron-Man” or “The Avengers” or even the early “Spider-Man trilogy.”
(Incase you didn’t know, all three films in The Dark Knight trilogy were British, not Hollywood/American productions).
Since I’m one of the biggest Comic Book geek you’ll ever come across out there, who doesn’t get into any kind of internet-fandom-comment-fights, I qualify rightfully and am obligated to urge this matter. And besides I hate to see people fighting over fiction, fictionally. But there’s another reason why I just had to clear up this issue first: While it’s easy to be a fan, easier to not-even-care but harder to just go around ignoring it and hardest to be a geek.
Whenever there’s an argument or a comment fight (exceptionally common to those who uses the Internet/social media regularly but never took the advice: “Please do not feed the trolls.”), it’s dreadful to be on the side that loses, not the entire battle (whatever that is) but even just a round or two in particular (yes, just one stupid round out of a gazillion of immense quarrelling and word fight of the internet forums!).
I personally enjoy, both Marvel and DC comics/films and even though Batman rules my comic book world, I don’t go around bragging about how Bruce Wayne is better than Tony Stark. The truth is, if you’re normal and not one of those retarded douchebags who trolls all over the internet due to his/hers blindsided admiration for one of the two sides or even just for the hell of it, you’d know it doesn’t matter ‘who beats who’ —because there’s no winner and there never will be.
However, just for the sake of it, in between the two Cinematic Universes, Marvel is currently leading by a large margin. (DC is aware of that, very well).
But when it comes to “Superheroes,” guess where Marvel’s at? Behind DC, obviously. (And DC is aware of that one as well, exclusively!).
Because when you question things like, “Who’s the most popular/greatest superhero (male/female) of all time?” —the answer you get is unquestionably, Batman. And that’s without even dragging the “The Dark Knight” movie trilogy into the compilation.
If it’s not Batman then it’s none other than Superman. Both DC’s creations and overall Comic icons. Always overlap each other for the #1 spot. Always.
The most popular superhero, so far, for Marvel had been either Spider-Man or the “Hulk.” Or may be it’s my personal favorite Marvel hero, the X-Men “Wolverine”—But I can’t tell which one is the No.1 Marvel for sure. Nobody can.
“Superman” —is the first superhero in history as well as the first ever superhero portrayal in a film. This Comic book phenomenon has appeared in movies almost since his inception. He debuted in cinemas in a series of animated shorts beginning in 1941, and then starred in two movie serials in 1948 and 1950. An independent studio, Lippert Pictures, released the first Superman feature film, Superman and the Mole Men, starring George Reeves, in 1951.
But the British classic Superman (1978) starring Christopher Reeve as Clark Kent/Superman is still the no.1 Superman movie ever produced. An Academy Award winning film—Groundbreaking in its use of special effects and science fiction/fantasy storytelling, the film’s legacy presaged the mainstream popularity of Hollywood’s superhero film franchises.
While an unofficial spin-off to the original Superman film series with different production (also a British film), Supergirl (1984), is the first ever cinematic portrayal of a female superhero character as well as the first superhero film to feature a woman in the lead role. Although, the ‘girl’ version was terribly unsuccessful, Helen Slater’s portrayal as Kara Zor-El / Linda Lee / Supergirl was actually good.
DC, however, even has the single most popular supervillain of all time up in it’s sleeves. Both male and female. Oh, it’s “The Joker” by the way. While Harley Quinn (or Catwoman) seems to lead the female supervillains list—almost every time there’s an online poll. (Both of them are original Batman comics characters).
Likewise if you ask: Who’s the equivalent female superhero or superheroine—possessing the same amount of household acclaim and recognition as any top male counter-character usually does?
Again it’ll be DC leading the way, of course, with Wonder Woman.
And if you take all of them together, both male and female, both Marvel and DC and put them in order, and make a top 10 list, Wonder Woman will probably be the only female superhero making inside the top ten competing with all the other male superheroes.
For instance, in May 2011, Wonder Woman placed fifth (at #5) on IGN’s Top 100 Comic Book Heroes of All Time; While Superman topped (at #1) the overall list followed by Batman (at #2).
So in 2016, DC did the unthinkable when they put all three of them,
together. . .
The film has had mixed reviews. Gadot has not. The Guardian hailed her as the “best thing in the movie”; Forbes said that “we only get enough Wonder Woman to leave us wanting more”; and the entertainment website The Wrap said it was she alone who “injects some real vitality into the sludgy, superhero sameness”. Time Magazine hailed Gadot as the “breakout star in Batman vs Superman.”
All that praise, in part, is because Wonder Woman is not objectified or in need of saving. There are no love scenes and, while she might appear seductive opposite Ben Affleck’s Bruce Wayne/Batman, she trumps him at every opportunity, kicking the bad guys into touch with assistance from her signature lasso.
Neither love interest nor sex object, she survives the entire story without once relying on her looks to seduce an unwitting villain. Do she and Bruce exchange a flirtatious glance or two upon meeting? Sure, it’s a movie, and neither one is particularly painful to look at. But her fierce fighting in the film’s climactic battle scene makes it obvious that she’s more soldier than siren. Some might even argue that without her prowess as a warrior, the Dark Knight and Man of Steel both might otherwise have been reduced to jelly on Lex Luthor’s toast.
Some will question whether her revealing getup improves upon the skintight garb of superheroines past—though, to be fair, Superman’s bulging biceps aren’t exactly hidden from view here. It’s one thing to objectify a body and quite another to celebrate the amount of evil it can kick into oblivion.
Women can be strong and beautiful and intelligent and tough—they’re pretty complex people. And every one of them are unique. Wonder Woman knows that, as she tells Bruce Wayne: “I don’t think you’ve ever known a woman like me.”
Perhaps not. And we should soon be meeting more.
But . . .
While ‘Batman’ has had —’9ine’—live-action feature films
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‘Wonder Woman’ has had . . . well,
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It’s not like that they didn’t try or anything. . .
In fact, some of Hollywood’s most powerful directors have tried. Joss Whedon (The Avengers), George Miller (Mad Max) and Paul Feig’s (Ghostbusters) all failed to bring the Amazonian princess to the big screen. Yes, all men failed to bring Diana to the big screen. So it’s obvious, she was never meant to be a triumph of sturdy male-dominated society, organization, or area of activity is one in which men have most of the power and influence….. Rather it was always assumed that her fate never really lied in the hands of a man but a woman.
Wonder Woman has been fighting injustice with her Lasso of Truth since 1941, but it was only last year that she made her big screen debut in Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice.
This year, Wonder Woman finally gets her own major film (I’m not counting the TV movies or straight-to-DVD animations), which is a really big deal — the superhero movie that’s been 75 years in the making.
It can take a small army to bring a massive blockbuster to life, and Hollywood has a stockpile of studios willing to supply boots on the ground. From films like Wonder Woman, DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. must bring in a slew of producers to help manage the film and its big-budget potential. Companies like RatPac Entertainment and Atlas Entertainment were brought on to help the DC Comics’ icon usher in her first live-action solo feature.
And, now, the higher-ups from the former production studios are saying “Wonder Woman” will be unlike any superhero film before it.
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The first female-directed live-action film to have a $100 million+ budget!
In April 2015, it was revealed that Patty Jenkins is helming the DC film and is set to direct a promising Wonder Woman movie, the fourth in the DC Extended Universe for a 2017 release. Jenkins was actually a second choice, hired after the original director, Michelle MacLaren, left the project due to creative differences.
But, by then, fans all over the world knew about the new Wonder Woman and the actress who’d hopefully, given her performance (or due to her signed contract), will portray the title role for a long period of time.
Come this June, it will be a woman, Patty Jenkins—one of the first female directors to command a budget of over $100 million—who finally brings a female superhero onto the big screen, a Wonder Woman epic. (Jenkins was previously attached to direct Thor: The Dark World but left the project due to creative differences. )
While speaking to an audience about women in the film industry, Athena Film Festival artistic director Melissa Silverstein said (via Variety): “[Wonder Woman] is the first movie that a woman has directed — a live-action movie — with a $100 million budget. First.”
Even with incredible directors such as Ava DuVernay, Sofia Coppola, and Kathryn Bigelow being critically acclaimed and commercially viable, not a single studio has ‘entrusted’ a woman to direct a live-action film with a budget of over $100 million.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise, for as long as the film industry has existed, women have been unfairly treated both in front and behind the camera. Earlier this year, a study showed only a fifth of the UK’s film workers were female in 2015/16 while Hollywood sexism is reportedly being investigated by government officials. (Which is a never ending sort of thing so don’t get your hopes up or anything).
It’s hard not to blame a misogynist and gender-imbalanced Hollywood system for the lack of cinematic material for Wonder Woman, especially whenclaim a similarly slanted hierarchy kept squashing a female-led superhero movie. Outcry from fans, critics, and the actors and filmmakers themselves have prompted more studios to address the larger issue, and it’s in this era of moviemaking where we find ourselves with Wonder Woman, a film directed by Patty Jenkins and starring Gal Gadot that exists within Warner Bros.’ current DC cinematic universe.
However, much more than money is at stake here. . .
If Wonder Woman works, it could change the kinds of role models we find at the movies. It might as well just change the Cinema forever. Jenkins will become, in her own right, legendary, while Gadot will become a phenomenon and one of the biggest names in the industry. An outright competitor for men who portrayed superheroes in films so far.
And Both Marvel and Dc’s male superheroes will have to face that unlikely competition which won’t be any less than say,
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Over the last 10 years, Marvel Studios has resented strong female characters in ensemble movies — Black Widow, Gamora, Pepper Potts and Peggy Carter, to name a few. Each has been a woman of authority, yet none have commanded a true cinematic lead role due to shared screen time. Yet we question why? Let’s refresh our memories shall we?
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Wonder Woman — ‘Origin’
From Feminist to Pacifist to LGBT Icon . . .
In 1941,Wonder Woman first appeared in All Star Comics #8. She started out as the Justice League Society secretary, but she would later become the first big name super heroine to go toe to toe with Superman and Batman. Not only could she battle them on equal terms, her book would last as long as theirs. During a time when superheroes were not so popular, Wonder Woman comics, like Superman and Batman, remained strong.
In June, fans will see the first female-led film of the new comic book movie era (marked by the arrival of the Marvel Cinematic Universe with 2008’s “Iron Man”) when Patty Jenkins’ “Wonder Woman” explodes on the big screen. Early footage from the movie has been met with approval, offering lucky audiences a glimpse of Gal Gadot as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman, meeting Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) and navigating her destiny as an Amazon princess seeking justice for the newly discovered world of man.
But a decade after director Jon Favreau first introduced Marvel’s Iron Avenger, we must ask the question: Why did it take so long to get a movie with a lead superhero young women can look up to and relate to? That’s not saying young women can’t feel a connection to male-driven films, but let’s be real; in a time where statues are placed on Wall Street to remind women that they are empowered, it’s not a question of feminism anymore, but one of cinematic equality.
To follow Wonder Woman’s evolution is to trace the trajectory of the women’s movement in America. The man who created her in 1941, William Moulton Marston, was a feminist, a psychologist and the inventor of the lie-detector test. Marston conceived Wonder Woman as a parent-friendly comic-book alternative to bellicose male heroes. Batman carried a gun, and Superman was a shade too close to the German Übermensch, the concept that Adolf Hitler used to describe his fantasy of a “biologically superior” Aryan race. What comic books needed, Marston thought, was a hero who would represent America’s position in the war: a patriot motivated to shield the innocent.
Marston’s Wonder Woman was born Princess Diana on the fictitious all-female island of Themyscira and trained as an Amazon warrior. Her first exposure to men came when an American soldier, Steve Trevor, washed ashore after a plane crash. Diana traveled to the U.S. with him and fought in World War II. Her weapons were defensive—bracelets capable of deflecting bullets and the Lasso of Truth, which allowed her to acquire intelligence. (She didn’t get her sword until the 1980s.) She and the shield-wielding Captain America premiered within months of each other.
Women’s strong qualities have become despised because of their weak ones. The obvious remedy was to create a feminine character with all the strength of Superman plus all the allure of a good and beautiful woman.
Marston also wanted to create an icon for little girls. The result was a woman (later became Wonder Woman) who fought alongside male soldiers and, in 1943, ran for President of the United States—against her love interest Steve and the Man’s World Party—and won.
Her looks were a matter of debate from the start. Marston was inspired by the pinups that adorned soldiers’ barracks. In almost every comic, Wonder Woman found herself, at some point, bound up in chains—an image Marston argued was essential to the larger narrative of breaking free from the patriarchy. (His editors worried it was too kinky, but let it slide anyway.)
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It was just a few short years ago that a blockbuster Wonder Woman movie seemed ‘doomed to fail’ – based on little else but the belief that “women-led comic movies can’t succeed”. But these days things are different, as an increasing number of movie websites, pundits, blogs, and major outlets agree: Wonder Woman seems doomed to fail… because her movie is set in the DCEU – the fact that she’s a woman has nothing to do with it. Because as anyone following online superhero movie conversations has noticed by now, according to many detractors, there’s little the DCEU can do to gain ground on the juggernaut Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Back in those days, the reason for a lack of women heroes was obvious. The complex justification was said best when Joss Whedon called out “quiet misogyny,” exercised by “stupid people,” plain and simple. It was for that reason that fans of Wonder Woman, and those of Marvel’s booming cinematic universe requested, begged, and demanded that female-led films be made, since they were no more likely to fail than any other. The studios just had to make them, and the public would take care of the rest. With eighteen movies down, Marvel fans are still waiting – thankfully, the DCEU waited considerably less time.
Warner Bros. stepped up to prove the notion that a woman could hold the spotlight and showed that the demands of an increasingly diverse audience were heard. In hindsight, the way they went about answering that call, unfortunately, still seems a little hard to believe. To show their confidence in Wonder Woman, she would be introduced as more confident and capable than either Batman or Superman (in a film bearing their names), before being given a $100 million solo movie soon after. And just to make sure those in the back were listening, the studio entrusted that film to a talented director with just a single theatrical credit… who also happens to be a woman.
It should have been a historic moment, and cause for celebration, vindication, and superheroine anticipation. When the first Wonder Woman trailers mixed drama with undeniably badass action scenes, it should have made everyone who hadn’t modernized their thinking… uncomfortable. And when it was recently reported that Wonder Woman‘s opening weekend could earn $80 million, it should have made those same executives downright nervous. With that kind of opening coveted by most newcomer franchises, the war was theoretically already over. Warner Bros. had won. Wonder Woman had won. Women had won.
Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman was one of the most positively received elements of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, which gave fans even more hope that her first solo movie would be great. And yes, is tough to judge a movie solely by a couple of trailers, especially in the case of the DCEU so far, but the response to both of the Wonder Woman trailers I’ve have seen so far by the movie community and fans has been overwhelmingly positive, which has helped set expectations for the movie very high. As they probably should be, but now we may have to temper them a bit.
This upcoming film will focus on Diana Prince rather than Wonder Woman. It will be an origin story of how Princess Diana of the Amazons left her homeland with Captain Steve Trevor and became the superhero Wonder Woman, founding member of the Justice League. Unlike the comic book series, the film will take place during the First World War.
Warner Bros. has already released information about the DC Cinematic Universe project. The company is looking at Gal Gadot to play the title lead and present a critical and commercial success before Justice League hits theaters.
But what are fans going to expect when the Wonder Woman movie comes out? Fans have seen Gal Gadot dress the part in Batman V Superman and a snippet of her past was also revealed when Bruce Wayne found her picture decades before he was even born.
Initially, details regarding the stand alone movie has been kept in a tight lid but according to reports, fans are looking at the origin story of Princess Diana. As part of the major press release by Warner Bros. for this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, the studio will feature Patty Jenkins as the director, with the script credited to Allan Heinberg (Grey’s Anatomy) and DC Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns (based on a screen story by Heinberg and Batman V Superman director Zack Snyder).
Check out the Trailer
DC dropped a bit of a bombshell by screening Wonder Woman for a select few in California last month. Every member of the audience probably had to sign an NDA so, with that in mind, a lot of second-hand reactions and a handful of naughty audience-members who have given a glimpse of as to whether the upcoming movie starring Gal Gadot is any good or not. For the most part, the Wonder Woman reaction seems mostly positive. As always, take these screeners with a massive grain of salt (unless the audience members were wrapped in the Lasso of Truth) but, hey, people don’t kid around all time, right? The first test screening for DC’s Wonder Woman happened over the weekend, and it seems there’s some positive buzz in the online stratosphere.
Her story is not a secret to DC fans but many, in general, are also looking forward to Gal Gadot’s adaptation of Wonder Woman —which is scheduled to hit theaters on June 2, 2017.
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Notable depictions of the character in other media include Gloria Steinem placing the character on the cover of “Ms.” magazine in 1971; the 1975–1979 Wonder Woman TV series starring Lynda Carter; as well as animated series such as the Super Friends and Justice League. Since Carter’s television series, studios struggled to introduce a new live-action Wonder Woman to audiences, although the character continued to feature in a variety of toys and merchandise, as well as animated adaptations of DC properties, including a direct-to-DVD animated feature.
But so far, only two actresses achieved stardom and critical acclaim for portraying the character on-screen:
Lynda Carter and Gal Gadot
Attempts to return Wonder Woman to television have included a television pilot for NBC in 2011, closely followed by another stalled production for The CW. Gal Gadot portrayed Wonder Woman in the 2016 film Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, marking the character’s feature film debut after over 75 years of history. (Debut: December 1941).
In July 2010, the internet all but guaranteed a gritty Wonder Woman reboot by giving a shit about her new costume. (didn’t take much long either to give it another reboot thanks to, well, everybody).
Below, is the Image shows the annotated diagram of Ms. Woman’s new look …
Wonder Woman, besides usually being the only thing that keeps the Justice League from turning into a complete sausage party, has transcended comic books and become an enduring symbol for feminism. She’s always been portrayed as a badass Amazon warrior who doesn’t take shit from anyone and, unlike Batman, she isn’t afraid to break a neck or two when she has to.
Why else do you think Gotham City gets all the great villains? Most of them are too afraid to go near Wonder Woman’s turf. The Ridiculous Weakness: Of course, originally Wonder Woman was created as, well, pretty much the exact opposite of what the creator originally intended. As mentioned earlier that her creator believed bondage was the key to a healthy relationship and tried to include as much as of it in his comics as possible —he also made it so all of Wonder Woman’s amazing powers were rendered completely useless if her hands were bound by a man.
And yes, it only works if a man does it, so when you think about, the real weakness here is scrotums. However, her one weakness was also apparently the only thing keeping her destructive tendencies in check: If Wonder Woman’s Bracelets of Submission were broken, she would “launch into an uncontrollable rage.” This wasn’t just in the ’40s, by the way — the same ridiculously offensive weaknesses were still being used as recently as the late ’70s, while the live-action Wonder Woman TV show was on the air. It was only in the ’80s that DC Comics started ignoring all that crap.
Fortunately this still gives us 40 years of material to take out of context and make fun of.
In the 1980s, the hero disappeared from television, but the comic-book version got a modern setting and a more muscular frame. In the 1990s, she was outfitted in a skintight black leather outfit in a bid for more readers. By the 2000s, her plotlines confronted issues like rape. Throughout, a handful of Wonder Woman projects kicked around Hollywood, with names like Jennifer Aniston and Sandra Bullock reportedly attached.
They all failed to materialize—until now:
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It was back in 2013, when DC Comics first announced that Gal Gadot will be playing the role of “Wonder Woman” in their upcoming epic, Batman Vs Superman (2016 film) . . .
And her role of a lifetime. . .
While the other famous “Wonder Woman,” Lynda Carter, voiced her approval of the young actress and welcomed her character’s arrival in a theatrical film, the announcement of Gadot playing “Wonder Woman” was not entirely well-received by fans and critics. Despite her breast size becoming a topic of international discussion, it should be noted how the model/actress managed to stay determined and ultimately played her part perfectly. Embarrassing all those who waned, strictly, just to embarrass her.
Because: Not everything is judged upon a pair of boobies!
Speaking of which, it’s tough to know where to begin with Carter’s vintage garb. With eagle-shaped cleavage—eagle-arge?—and star-spangled spanx, Carter was gorgeous, looked super-hot no doubt, but more like a patriotic baton twirler than a superhero. Gadot, on the other hand, looks exactly like an Amazonian should look in the year of 2017. Even though it’s better that nobody seems to care about that “not-wearing-any-pants” thing but as much as you ladies might enjoy a lazy Sunday without bottoms, nobody should charge into battle with bare legs, seriously!
But for the time being, the backlash that took place against Gadot mirrors much of the abuse endured by other women in the spotlight—from Susan B. Anthony to even Hillary Clinton.
Biographer Jill Lepore, who wrote “The Secret History of Wonder Woman” drawn a comparison to the comments about Gadot’s body to resistance against strong women throughout history by saying: “…that’s the age-old move to demean a powerful woman and put her back in her proper position: reduce her to her appearance.”
Then there was the issue of the costume. The movie version looks far more war-ready than the one Carter wore in the television series. Still, critics were quick to note that Wonder Woman fights in a bustier and skirt, while her ally Batman’s body is fully covered, save his mouth and eyes. Though, Gadot had said during that time that she nearly froze in the getup while filming during winter in London, however Greg Rucka, who currently writes one of the Wonder Woman comics, likes the costume for the movie because Gadot can “actually run and jump and kick in that” —but says the character’s outfit has been hotly debated during his tenure at DC.
Furthermore, Wonder Woman’s sexuality has long been debated among fans. Diana Prince is an Amazon born on a female-only paradise island of Themyscira. Though she has a romantic relationship with Steve Trevor—a man who accidentally washes ashore on said island—some storylines over her almost 76 year history have implied she’s also had relationships with women.
Recently, the latest DC writer confirmed that she has, indeed, had romantic feelings for women. Greg Rucka, who is currently exploring the hero’s origin story with the “Year One” storyline with artist Nicola Scott, told Comicosity that Wonder Woman must be queer. (In the interview, queer was defined as “involving, although not necessarily exclusively, romantic and/or sexual interest toward persons of the same gender.”). Rucka went on to say, “Themyscira is a queer culture. I’m not hedging that” and added that DC has not pushed back on this interpretation: “Nobody at DC has ever said, ‘She’s gotta be straight.’ Nobody. Ever. They’ve never blinked at this.” Read Rucka’s full interview here.
The question of how DC addresses with Wonder Woman’s sexuality is particularly pertinent in the wake of the first Wonder Woman film. Based on the trailer, so far, the movie does not seem to portray Wonder Woman as queer. When the soldier Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) washes ashore on Themyscira, Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) leaves the island to help save mankind from its own war—presumably her budding relationship with Steve is just a bonus.
That’s the paradox of Wonder Woman: It’s not only run-of-the-mill Internet trolls and zealous comic-book fans who take issue with her (or the actor who plays her). Some of Wonder Woman’s most ardent critics are the very people who desperately want to see more popular feminist icons but can’t ignore the ways in which the character falls short as an ambassador for women. To be sure, if you were to ask a contemporary feminist to write a new female superhero, she’d probably be nothing like Wonder Woman. And yet, this summer it’ll be up to a flawed figure to try to break whatever the superhero equivalent of a glass ceiling is.
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For years, assumptions ran rampant about girls and their connection to comic books. Many felt women overlooked the medium, but time has proven that more girls are populating the fandom daily – and they are eager to see themselves represented on the big screen. Marvel Studios has helped ease that itch with characters like Black Widow and Scarlet Witch, but its first female-led blockbuster won’t debut until Captain Marvel arrives on the scene.
As for DC Entertainment, the company has been more proactive in its theatrical planning. Wonder Woman will get her first live-action standalone feature this June, and Patty Jenkins was the person tasked with directing the much-anticipated film. Women all around the world are ready to see the iconic comic heroine take up her golden lasso in her own film, and Jenkins has also opened up about the ongoing controversy surrounding female-driven superhero films.
In an interview with Empire, Jenkins was asked about her thoughts on why it has taken so long for a superhero film to get on with a female lead.
Here’s what the director had to say:
“I think the reason that there wasn’t a woman superhero made for a long time is because people were assuming that it had to be a different kind of thing. Or more rarefied, or something. This is Wonder Woman. There’s nothing different. There’s Batman, there’s Superman, there’s Wonder Woman,” she continued. “She’s the full-blown real deal. So it’s very significant, but I also just went forth trying to make a great superhero film the same way I would have with any of them, which was great.”
When Wonder Woman comes out, the film will inevitably act as a litmus test for how well a female-led superhero film fares at the box office. Fans will need to put their money where their protests are to fund investment in future films like this one. And, if the audience gets its way, then Marvel Studios may one day actually green-light a solo Black Widow film.
Joining Gadot in the international cast are Chris Pine, Connie Nielsen, Robin Wright, David Thewlis, Danny Huston, Elena Anaya, Ewen Bremner and Saïd Taghmaoui. Patty Jenkins directs the film from a screenplay by Allan Heinberg and Geoff Johns, story by Zack Snyder and Allan Heinberg, based on characters from DC Entertainment.
Comic book continuity is more tangled than Wonder Woman’s lasso these days and unfortunately, not even the Amazonian Princess is immune to the whims of comic book writers who seem to retcon the material every other week. Originally, Wonder Woman was moulded out of clay by her mother Hippolyta, the Queen of the Amazons, but more recent versions of the character have reimagined Diana as the biological daughter of Zeus.
When Steve Trevor asks Wonder Woman about her parentage, the Amazonian Princess answers rather cryptically:
“I have no father. I was brought to life by Zeus.”
Whether this means that Zeus helped bring Wonder Woman’s clay form to life or physically fathered her remains unclear, but what we do know is that Warner Bros. won’t shy away from Diana’s deep mythological roots, which rightfully remain an integral part of her character.
Director Jenkins had a lot of time to think about how she’d make a Wonder Woman movie: she began to pitch the idea after her film Monster (2003) won Charlize Theron an Academy Award for “Best Actress” in 2004 and established Jenkins as one of Hollywood’s best-known female directors. Jenkins was hired in 2011 to direct the sequel to Thor. She would have been the first woman to helm a Marvel movie—or any major superhero film—but she and the studio parted ways over “creative differences” later that year. Jenkins declines to discuss the experience, save to express appreciation for Marvel’s initial hiring of a female director—even if a man ended up making the film.
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Since Iron Man premiered in 2008, Marvel and its parent company, Disney, have produced about two superhero films a year, grossing upwards of $8.3 billion globally. In a bid to catch up, Warner Bros., which owns rival DC Entertainment, has launched an ambitious effort to make at least 10 new movies based on Batman, Superman and the rest of the Justice League heroes and villains over the next five years.
But both studios have lately realized that to continue fueling the superhero boom, they will need to come up with more diverse protagonists. Fans have been asking for characters who look more like them both on social media and during question-and-answer sessions at San Diego Comic-Con, the annual pop-culture convention that draws more than 130,000 fans. Marvel will premiere its first superhero movie with a black lead under Disney, Black Panther, in 2018.
But Warner bros. will beat its rival’s first female superhero film, Captain Marvel, by a huge two year margin.
Wonder Woman will certainly be different from any previous comic-book film. It takes place during World War I, at the same time as the British suffrage movements. Robin Wright plays an Amazonian mentor, and Connie Nielsen is Wonder Woman’s mother. When their paradise is attacked by men with guns, the women warriors fight back with arrows. Later, Wonder Woman travels with Steve, masquerading as his secretary, to join the Allies. Her lariat shines against the gray backdrop of the war’s trenches.
The unique history of Wonder Woman, and the pressure from fans to get it right, meant the filmmakers had to tread carefully. Steve, played by Star Trek star Chris Pine, needed to be supportive but not emasculated. After all, none of us wants to be in love with someone who isn’t grand in their own right. And they had to find pathos in a goddess and a compelling narrative for a character who is more interested in peace than conflict. Batman, with his constant moral anxiety, has always been more interesting than, say, the purely good Captain America or even the Marvel phenomenon: Spider-Man.
Jenkins drew inspiration from the 1978 Superman film starring Christopher Reeve. Like Marston, she wanted to make Wonder Woman a character to look up to. The heroes that studios put on-screen can determine whether a child sees herself as a protagonist or a sidekick—and there has not yet been a Superman-like figure for young girls. The fact that a woman could utter the same stoic dialogue Superman has for years, Jenkins believed, would make the character stand out. While Gadot thinks the bigger challenge was proving the character could exude both force and compassion, characteristics often held in opposition. She wanted her to be something unique rather than a ball buster. Powerful and yet, also loving.
The apparent risk of creating an action movie where a woman is in the lead has been haunting Hollywood. There have been multiple times throughout history where a slew of poorly-received woman-led superhero films have caused filmmakers to swear off the concept altogether. The triple whammy of Catwoman, Elektra, and Aeon Flux in the early 2000s shouldn’t have caused executives to shy away from female-led superhero films, but that’s what happened. Wonder Woman will be the first time in at least a decade we’ve seen a big-budget superhero film led by a woman.
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As much as I don’t want to put pressure on the DC extended universe in regards to its next film, I’m going to. There’s so much riding on Wonder Woman, not only as a movie that consumers will most likely pay a lot to see, but as a symbol, a product and a nerd property. Wonder Woman is one of pop culture’s most recognizable characters and what she stands for is even larger than her. The last mainstream blockbuster that was accompanied by this much pressure was The Force Awakens, which luckily worked out for Disney and the Star Wars franchise.
Wonder Woman doesn’t get to just be good. It has to be great.
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To be frank, (and no offense to the ladies, but) —having a woman as the lead in an action movie is perceived as risky. Boys don’t buy girl action figures and casting one can alienate a huge portion of a movie’s demographic, apparently. That isn’t to say we haven’t had great female action heroes. There have been many examples in recent years, such as Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road, Katniss in The Hunger Games and Rey in The Force Awakens, but none have led a big-name comics property. We have Jessica Jones on Netflix, Supergirl on the CW, and we’ll have Captain Marvel in 2018, but few other prospects beyond that.
“Wonder Woman” —needs to be a great superhero film, but also a great superhero film that stars a woman. If not, we’ll get another repeat of the 2000s. You don’t have to look further than last summer’s Ghostbusters remake, which caused an sexist online backlash and underperformed at the box office (partially because the filmmakers didn’t seem to have enough faith in the actors and material to have their own story) to see how much a risk it is. It’s too early to see what kind of effect this will have on movie producers, but if we go off past experiences, they’ll take it as an excuse to not take risks on more female-skewed casting.
As Justice League (2017) —is on it’s way but won’t arrive till November 17, later this year, features Batman and Wonder Woman assemble a team consisting of Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg to face the catastrophic threat of Steppenwolf and his army of Parademons — while the world sees the return of the “Man of Steel / Superman,” DC is yet to unfold the mystery of surprise castings in undisclosed roles. In the meantime, let’s hope we get some “Justice” done before the “League.”
Feminism, Neo-Feminism, Misandry. Hot button vocabulary found in just about any comment stream on social media, regardless the topic. Geekdom is far from immune from the recent resurgence of the gender equality discussion. In the new world of social media seemingly anything can be associated with one side or the other, or the other.
Let me remind you again, Gadot was recently named an honorary UN ambassador, but a “petition” called for her removal based partially on the call for a real-life ambassador, but also because her body and sexier clothing promoted unrealistic expectations of women. The petition makes valid points about how the United Nations should be representing real women instead of fictional ones, but the emphasis on her physical appearance shows a misunderstanding of Wonder Woman as a character. She’s more than just a tight outfit. She inspires girls, and a fair and accurate depiction would do wonders for her brand.
If Warner Bros., Gal Gadot, Patty Jenkins, and everybody else involved with the film can make Wonder Woman work, then we’ll get a new franchise based around her — which means more merchandise and less hesitation when creating another story for the Amazon Princess. And of all the ladies who channeled Harley Quinn costumes during Halloween last year, are sure to replace them with Wonder Woman outfits this year, and the world would just seem brighter.
Wonder Woman—isn’t just a classic comic-book character whose time has come for a movie adaptation.
She’s the ultimate role model for independent WOMEN.
And DC —oughta’ make sure the ladies get what they deserve!
Asif Ahsan Khan
© 2017 Asif Ahsan Khan. ® All Rights Reserved.