Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Wonder Woes

I'm starting this post the morning I first heard of the rumor, but mayhap by now, dear reader, it has come to pass that it was all, indeed, a rumor. But I must needs catalogue my thoughts. 

I had an alarming message from a second-cousin in my FB inbox this afternoon, and after running the appropriate Google search, I found this article on  i09, one I likely would have come across sooner or  later, as i09  is one of the sites in my RSS feed. I'll summarize it for you:

The Wonder Woman that is set for being in the upcoming Batman v Superman movie is going to be a descendant of the Kryptonians that had been on Earth eons ago (at whose station Kal set off the distress beacon that led Zod to him in Man of Steel, the movie the one she'll be appearing in is a sequel to). She will be "powered-down" and have a fairly small role, comparable to that of Black Widow in Iron Man 2*.  And this backstory is likely to serve as foundation for any solo WW endeavors on the big screen. 

So yeah, I just wrote about Wonder Woman. And I have to say, this actually makes me sick. Now that I'm sitting down to really parse out my thoughts, my stomach is honest-to-Bob feeling icky and I have a pulsating ache behind my right eye. I usually say, "I don't get mad, I get hurt," with respect to people doing things that upset me- but right now,  at least, my blood is boiling, and I wish I had an intimidating death stare like this:

The short version is that this change, this turning Wonder Woman into a Kryptonian, is watering down an icon, and both physically and metaphorically weakening her. Further, this change, through backstory and self-made canon, sets her up as being dependent on and subordinate to Superman. 

So as I said before, one of the excuses to not make a Wonder Woman movie is that her (actual) backstory (or any of the versions from which to draw) is (are) too hoakey or weird. And as I said in response to that, bullshit- plenty of  "hokey" backstories starring men have had at least one film, if not more. But, this argument never ceases, so one could say this was part of the compromise, that she needed an entirely new, different backstory, one that could be easily explained in-universe, in order for film execs to give the go-ahead to having her in the upcoming movie. But my response to that is no different: What in her backstory is really so much more ridiculous, corny, cheesy, unbelievable, than a radioactive spider, a Nordic god (almost, anyway), a dude that gets a magic ring from a purple alien, or four people that all get exposed to the same explosion all coming out of it with different powers- one being invisibility, one being stretchy, one being basically the best  fire-bender ever, and  the last being, um, stone? Objectively, nothing. A gal living on an island controlled by Grecian goddesses is no more far-fetched Dr. Manhattan or a dude getting his broken spine  fixed by one solid punch in the vertebrae followed by a few days of hanging by a rope.

And for crying out loud, it's a comic book movie.  You can't possibly use "not realistic enough" or "hard to believe" for a comic book movie. Not one about a superhero, anyway. And not when so many others have retained such UN-believable plot elements from their respective cannons.  

One reason I find  this so upsetting is they aren't just stripping her of her unique backstory- they're turning her into  a tangential piece of Superman's. 

Think about it.

They're sticking her in as a descendant of Kal's ancestors. We've already been exposed to those old Kryptonians, sure, but this means she's being tied to them, not presented  as an independent  character. In fact, that'll prolly be the main point of her character even showing up: I can see them making her mission out to be  something like "find the Kryptonain male that set off the beacon" or something. Because what other excuse is  there for her showing up? It's not  like  Kal  has any  idea there are descendants of his hiding out on Earth. Normally, Wonder Woman  shows up to help because he asks her to, or because she has a feeling  he may need her help. If he doesn't know she's there, how can he ask her to come along? And  if they've never met, how can  she know  him well enough to know when he could use a hand? And so prolly  her first line  is  going to be, "Where is  the Kryptonian?!" Even if not, it's going to come up that she's basically Kal's great-great-great aunt or some kinda jazz, and that that is why  she's there- and she'll be presented entirely in a way centering around her relation to him in some fashion.

To put it another way, her individual story is getting removed, and she's instead being turned into a chapter in Superman's story. As the  person in the i09 piece pointed out, this means her biggest foes and allies alike from her mythos- Ares or Athena- would never be able to make an appearance. And the mythos surrounding her fellow Amazons is wiped away, turning all of them, as well, into weakened versions of themselves- and pieces of Kal's backstory. Sure, some of the less-Grecian villains and helpers may be possible, but the main points of her very message will be lost.

Because remember, she's a "warrior for  peace," right? All of the Amazons, whether  you're thinking about the older version, where they got sick of men fighting, or newer, where they're the reincarnations of murdered  women,  they train for battle, but they prefer peace. Their main enemy is  Ares... because he's the God of War. Now, Wonder Woman's main enemy is... whoever Superman's  is at the time? I get that as a supporting character in a Superman  movie,  sure, but what about in the solo movies that could result? What then? Is  someone going to crop up out of nowhere? And anyway, it's irksome that the usual  "I should be dealing  with  Ares right now, but I'll help you out, bro" thing  is going to be lost. Getting rid of that backstory rooted in Themyscira will obliterate any chance at her being independent, period.

And I can't help but think that having her be a descendant of those specific Kryptonians, meaning the ones on Earth (because if she had to be Kryptonian, why not make her from, I dunno, Jupiter? Wouldn't it be cool if the ancient colonizing Kryptonians were the ones that caused the Great Red Spot or something equally wonky but spiffy?), was a deliberate in-story ploy to make her physically weaker. The excuse being, of course, that since the Amazons were on Earth for centuries, they've had time to evolve and adapt to the atmosphere and gravity, so they'd be physically weaker and have fewer "powers" than Kal/Superman- and thus would Wonder Woman. So that sets her up as being weaker and, inevitably, subordinate to Superman. She'll answer to him, she'll probably have to be rescued by him. And that's FUCKED UP. Wonder Woman becoming a damsel in distress?


The way I see it, she's going  to go from an initiative-taking, butt-kicking leader that doesn't take any crap from anyone;that's on-par with Superman and helps him out, doesn't just answer to him, like this: 

That, to something like this, and the dynamic here being the main point:

Because don't get me wrong, I wouldn't be entirely against some sort of romance between her and Supes, or even her and Batman (both have been done, after all), if done well enough, as a sidepoint, at most, for her. I'm a hopeless romantic, after all, and I do often include finding "someone" in my "happy endings" criteria (if there seems to be a plausible "someone" in the story-at-hand). But given the way her backstory is already entirely wrapped up in that of Kal's, any romantic entanglements with the dudes in the movie would only lessen her individuality. So, you know, poo on that.

(Also, Amy Adams has already expressed a desire to not have to play out a love-triangle, bless  her ginger heart, so hopefully that'll have some weight, regardless of what Wonder  Woman's  deal is.)

I know I said I was tired of waiting for a Wonder  Woman  movie  before, but I'd rather wait and let her  have the movie she  deserves than whatever hogwash is going to result  from this deplorable change.  This 2.5 minute trailer gives more of her backstory than we'll get from whatever she does in BvS and any future solo films set in that universe- and that's really uncool.

So yeah.

And as with that last post about  Wonder Woman, I absolutely think  this is all rooted in sexism. That shouldn't be  hard to figure out.

It's the night after I started this, and I just checked The Mary Sue, as I knew they'd tackle this.  And they did.

And so it turned  out the  dude on  was just spouting his opinions.

(Also, I want my own Pie Maker)
But  it pisses me off a lot because why the Hell does he think it's necessary to wipe away any and all individuality from her? Why, when theorizing  about her, does it  have to resort to stripping her of anything that's really "Wonder Woman" about her in the first place?

So I stand by  my post, as a long rebuttal/explanation as to why that theory is bad. It's sexist (because come on, does  anybody think they'd do that to any of the male DC characters?), and it's unnecessary. And it just proves how unwilling to accept female leads in comic movies so many fanboys are.  

*Tangent: So, okay, all those "Marvel is so much better at women in its movies" people also have no explanation for why Black Widow is only ever a side-character. She's coming up on her third film to be featured in for Marvel, but has yet to be front-and-center. Yeah, just sayin', folks. Just  sayin'. 

1 comment:

  1. AngryJoe of the AngryJoe show (huge comics fan and gamer) is not happy at all about the Wonder Woman play down, nor the person they chose for the role and the amount of characters they are deciding to stuff in to "prep" us for the inevitable Justice League movie follow up, check out his video here: