So, there’s going to be a Wonder Woman

So, there’s going to be a Wonder Woman on the big screen (though not in her own movie) and she’ll look a little something like this:


First thought: She needs to gain like twenty pounds.

For those of you who don’t follow the geekosphere, Zack Snyder, director of Man of Steel and a whole bunch of other good-looking yet vapid movies, is being entrusted with the next step in Warner Brothers’ desperate attempt to create something like The Avengers to line their pockets instead of Marvel/Disney’s (which, interestingly enough, is apparently a total historical trend with DC Comics, which this guy paints as the lame old uncle always trying to be hip like the young buck Marvel). That step is some kind of Batman vs. Superman (or Superman vs. Batman?) movie that could, maybe, have a really terrible name and will definitely have a Bostonian Batman.

And now we know it will have Wonder Woman.

Let me get something out there before I work my way (circuitously) to my main point: Wonder Woman is not a feminist icon. I know she’s a mainstream, well-known superhero who is a woman, but she’s got a pretty terrible history. The Wonder Woman comics were often an excuse for debasing the character in story lines that suggested (by design) bondage and humiliation. Wonder Woman was routinely bound by nefarious men, thus losing all her power against them. Seriously, it’s sad. See, I made that point without even mentioning the sexist costume.

One could be forgiven for thinking that this movie might turn out to be a big mess. Man of Steel was visually stunning (because that’s the thing Zack Snyder does well) but had some troubling tendencies as well (like failing to register the human tragedy of about twenty 9/11 scale building collapses at once).

So, before it’s too late, I want to register my request for Snyder and the team bringing the DC holy trinity to the screen:

You know what I want from the next Superman movie? Would you like to know, Zack?

I want to be inspired.

Does that sound so hard to do? Superman obviously inspires people. The shield logo is a revered pop culture symbol. I read not long ago about teenagers in the Arab Spring taking to the streets in Superman shirts. There is a power to this image, this figure.

Unshakable. Moral. A paragon.

In the old Christopher Reeves’ movies, Superman was a trite do-gooder in a cartoon world. Snyder and the creative team behind Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy have placed this new Superman into a grittier, more naturalistic world. In the first movie, they proved he could punch stuff–a lot.

Can he lift our spirits? Can he shine a light for the modern world? It doesn’t seem impossible to give this character substance; the current run of comics (which I admit I do not read) has him returned to his roots as a social crusader. Can Snyder and company reach beyond making “awesome” things blow up and find the soul of this character, the gold standard among the modern mythic heroes of comic frames and celluloid?

Because that would be worth watching.

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