There seems to be some kind of block when it comes to Wonder Woman and, I don’t want to say it’s in the mainstream, because people that love superhero movies are frothing at the mouth for her to get the big screen treatment. Even comics writers don’t seem to know what to do with her, as her New 52 version is kind of eh. (But not Odyssey, seriously, I’m all about Odyssey.) For some reason, “hot chick kicks lots of ass and spouts feminism with some basic trappings of Greek Mythology and American Patriotism,” isn’t complicated enough, or is too complicated. I’m not sure which, but somewhere along the line people just stopped paying attention to how she was being treated.
Wonder Woman isn’t hard to do well and Wonder Woman shows that. Over the years, Diana’s origin has gotten murky. Just un-murky it. After a grand war with Ares, Hyppolyta takes her Amazons to the magical island of Themyscira, where they pass unnoticed by time and history. They are also keeping Ares prisoner. One day she shapes a baby girl out of clay and the gods strike the clay with lightening, giving her a daughter, Diana. Diana grows up brave, strong and restless. One day, an American pilot, Steve Trevor is shot down over Themyscira and Diana finds him. The Amazons hold a tournament to decide who will escort Steve home. Diana wins. She gets her three magic items, tiara, bracelet and lasso. They go to America. Ares escapes. Ares attacks America to find Diana. There is a battle. Steve and Diana fall in love. She decides to stay behind and fight crime as Wonder Woman. The End.
It’s really that simple. Yes, there’s more nuance to the plot, including a back story of sour love between Hyppolyta and Ares, a small but awesome conflict between amazon sisters Alexa and Artemis and of course a double cross by Hades. But those basic beats are all that any Wonder Woman story needs. Use that basic frame work to create a live action Wonder Woman movie. Maybe give her pants, because you have the comic book precedent of Odyssey to take that from.
Anyway, my pushing for a live action version shouldn’t take away from how really great Wonder Woman is on it’s own. It was written in part by Gail Simone, which probably helps, because Gail Simone rocks. It’s cheery and fun but doesn’t skimp on the kind of gore and flat out violence that sets Diana apart from Clark and Bruce. Well, that and her vagina, but as far as a fight goes, she was trained as a warrior, and isn’t afraid to go for the kill when necessary. Any halfway decent modern Wonder Woman story should be littered with bodies and no one would say boo about it destroying her character. There’s a screwball comedy element to Diana and Steve’s relationship that’s completely charming. The scene where he takes her to a bar and she drinks him under the table might be my new favorite.
Voice casting is, no surprise, exceptional. Kerri Russel is not who I would have considered for Diana, but only because I’ll always hear her whine from Felicity. But she acquits herself well here. Virginia Madsen is Hyppolyta and Alfred Molina is Ares. They’re both great, and seem to be relishing the over dramatic faux epic lines they have to speak. Rosario Dawson is Artemis, and I’m a big, big fan of hers. (I wanted her to be Catwoman in the Nolan movies.) But of course the big gun here is Nathan Fillion’s performance as Steve Trevor. It’s a precursor to his later work as Hal Jordan but very different, because while Hal and Steve share many surface characteristics (pilots, mostly), Steve’s real job is to be “The Male Lois Lane,” he compliments and contrasts to Diana perfectly. Steve is kind of a mess, but it’s endearing and Fillion plays those particular beats better than anyone just about ever.
Overall I enjoyed this one, and I should be required viewing for anyone who has anything to do with the development of this character moving forward. She’s not that complicated you guys. Just let her be herself.
Up next, Green Lantern: First Flight, I’m skipping Tales of The Black Freighter, since Watchmen isn’t technically a DC title.