Wonder Woman: Second-Class Citizen?

If you asked the average non-geek to name three superheroes, chances are they’d say Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman — arguably the most iconic comic book heroes in existence. It’s just as likely that few (if any) of these people would know anything about Lobo, a DC character who was introduced as a villain in the early ’80s.

So it would stand to reason that Wonder Woman, who has been a major part of the DC Universe since 1941, would get the big-screen treatment long before a second-tier player who had a run of popularity in the ’90s. But while Hollywood has yet to show Diana any love, Guy Ritchie — a legitimate filmmaker! — is set to direct a live-action movie about Lobo.

Lobo.

Look; it’s bad enough that Wonder Woman has gotten second-class citizen treatment compared to her alleged equals, Superman and Batman. They’ve both had several major motion pictures across several generations. The last time Wonder Woman enjoyed a big pop culture moment outside of comic books was when Lynda Carter donned the costume in the ’70s. You could chalk that up to garden variety sexism or just a serious failure of imagination on the part of DC-Warner Brothers. But when frickin’ Lobo gets to the big dance before she does, that’s just ridiculous.

Out of sheer frustration, we’re going to take a guess at the “concerns” that might be to blame for the lack of action.

Story
Pick an era; any era: Perez. Rucka. Simone. Those writers have all created compelling stories out of Wonder Woman’s Greek mythology-based DNA. Whether she’s an innocent newcomer to Man’s World, DC’s fiercest warrior for peace, or a hero adrift after forsaking her own gods, Diana is a character with plenty of good material. No one can come up with a decent script (or three) out of the nearly 70 years’ worth of Wonder Woman lore? Really?

Casting
Granted, Wonder Woman has large boots to fill. She’s a regal Amazon with otherwordly beauty. But if a studio can find someone to play an idealized character like Edward Cullen, surely DC-Warner Brothers can cast Diana — and it’s not Megan Fox. Catherine Zeta-Jones would have been perfect 15 years ago, but she’d still make a dope Hippolyta. The point is: She’s out there.

Costume
Things that look great on a comic book page, don’t always translate well to film. That’s probably why the X-Men movies ditched the yellow uniforms. Batman wears black, so he’s always going to look cool. But bright costumes like the ones worn by Superman and Wonder Woman are tricky, because they have to be instantly recognizable without looking silly. We’re not wardrobe designers, but it’s probably easier for an actress to get away with wearing a patriotic bathing suit if she has the right presence. Even today, Christopher Reeve looks commanding (and hot) in a late 1970s interpretation of Superman’s costume. Why? Because he was so utterly perfect for the role.

Wide appeal
One theory about Hollywood’s indifference to Wonder Woman is that studios fear the public won’t pay $8 or more to see a female-led action movie. But if that’s the case, why is Warner Brothers rumored to be prepping a third “Tomb Raider” film? Let’s see: A movie about a gorgeous amazon who kicks ass won’t do well. Right. If the script and the buzz are good enough, they will come.

This year’s direct-to-DVD, animated Wonder Woman movie was well done, but that’s not going to cut it when her Justice League cohorts like Green Lantern are getting DVD treatment and major films. At the rate things are going, Magog will beat Wonder Woman to the silver screen — but let’s not give them any more ideas.

13 thoughts on “Wonder Woman: Second-Class Citizen?

  1. First off, congratulations on launching your new blog! I’ve been looking forward to your site and can’t wait to read your thoughts.

    Second, you make some good points about Wonder Woman. Especially the Wonder Woman movie. Warner Bros is really making a mistake not capitalizing on the popularity of this character.

    Third (and don’t hate me), I still stand by my thought on why I don’t really care about Wonder Woman. Again… don’t hate me. :)
    http://onceuponageek.com/2008/09/12/wonder-woman-why-i-dont-really-care/

    Keep up the great work here!

    The Irredeemable Shag
    http://onceuponageek.com
    http://firestormfan.com

    Like

  2. You know I love Diana. But for some reason, she doesn’t sell. Her comic just doesn’t seem to bring people in…even when it is well done.

    People know her…she IS iconic. But people don’t seem to CARE about her.

    I really do wonder if there isn’t some kind of latent sexism at work. I’m hard pressed to come up with a single really successful female led comic.

    Like

  3. I would love to see a live action Wonder Woman movie done as a WW2 period piece, along the lines of the upcoming Captain America flick.

    I’d hate to see a Wonder Woman movie done for the sole purpose of cashing in on a fad/a vehicle for the actress of the month (ie Catwoman – a film I can proudly say I have not seen and likely never will.)

    Like

  4. WW taking on the Nazis would be pretty amazing. It could be a gritty war film crossed with a period superhero piece. I like it!

    Like

  5. Honestly, I think the main problem with Wonder Woman is that, as The Official Super-Heroic Representative of all Womankind, she’s never been allowed to be a genuine character. She’s restricted by every prejudice and presumption related to women, as applied by both sexes (and those in between.) Wonder Woman is always made to be about something, and never allowed to just be.

    I considered a lot of this stuff in The Trouble With Wonder Woman, where I argued with another column over the virtues of the Amazing Amazon.

    Like

  6. The Wonder Woman movie has been in development hell for years, Joss Whedon was giving interviews at the start of the year about how his scripts were poorly received by the studio. From what I’ve heard, the biggest issues aren’t the casting, story, costume or the appeal of the character, it’s the studio it’s self.

    Like

  7. I’m a woman who reads comics and tbh, I’ve never been into Wondy nor would I probably see a movie about her (unless it was helmed by Joss). Black Canary? I’m there? Babs? Oh yes. Anything with Lois Lane? With bells on. I can’t pinpoint why since there are similar characters in pop culture who I’m more than attached to.

    Like

  8. Yes the fact that Lobo is getting a film before the Amazing Amazon is just pure jank!
    And your reasons stated why are spot on!
    I just wish that they would get on their horse and stop jackwagoning around and get to!
    And yes I think that Catherine Zeta Jones would have been perfect as Diana 15 years ago but she would be a stellar Hippolyta!
    Diana is a wonderful and rich character and she has far more depth than the “makes things go boom” Lobo.

    Like

  9. Pingback: Lights, Camera, Wondy! « Girls Gone Geek

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s