Dear Warner Bros.,
We have a few things to go through.
First of all – thank you. Thank you for bringing Diana Prince to the big, overexposed, mainstream screen, for the world to enjoy and savor in Wonder Woman. She is as great as it was imagined.
Thank you for finally letting her stand up alongside the big boys, boys being the operative word. Wonder Woman-themed birthday parties are the new craze. Everyone wants to be an Amazon.
But there is a problem – she, against her own strength, has been undermined
We asked for more female characters, in the foreground, promoting issues that extend past holding onto every new Super Man’s arm. It turns out that gender isn’t indicative of intelligence, humor or capability of having more lines and screentime. And that is indeed what you gave us.
But there is indeed a pretty big problem — you didn’t actually give her what she deserved.
The epic, inspiring and electrifying story and portrait of Diana Prince, Wonder Woman as you’ve called her, has been shuffled into a very neat production schedule and narrative restriction. She, against her own strength which obliterates us all, has been undermined.
Among the trailers that precede the screenings of Wonder Woman in movie theaters, there is the one for your next project, the apogee of the DC Superheroes reunion – Justice League.
On the surface, it’s simply another harmless superhero blockbuster. But with a bit of background knowledge, it appears that Justice League is to Wonder Woman what The Avengers was to Iron Man.
Justice League is to Wonder Woman what The Avengers was to Iron Man
The Justice League trailer feels kind of like the loudest younger sibling, who needs to show that they’re just as smart, just as funny, just as clever, as capable of showing as many cool superheroes and even more — even though the main event of the day is in fact supposed to be Wonder Woman.
This showed audiences that there was only a couple more months to wait until the bold, brash ensemble feature was set to raise some real stakes for the DC Superheroes, as Batman fights alongside Wonder Woman et al. to bring, you guessed it, ‘justice’ to the world.
The problem with Justice League following Wonder Woman so closely is that our revolutionary and impactful hero is actually given a lot less breathing space than deserved.
Before The Avengers came out in 2012, Iron Man was released in 2008, and Captain America was introduced to audiences in 2011. The hype around the ensemble was years in the making.
But to show Wonder Woman already fighting alongside Batman in the Justice League trailer pre-screening, before an audience of newcomers had even met her in her own movie, is dismissive of her individual strength. This trailer actually disregards any potential intrigue of her own movie, the one that viewers actually paid for in movie theaters.
Wonder Woman is a worthy and very real offering of a superhero movie
Spiderman: Homecoming, Dunkirk, Planet of the Apes… surely there are enough blockbuster trailers to give Wonder Woman the spotlight in her own screening? And hey, past the screenings — couldn’t you have just given her a couple more months to do her own thing fully?
Wonder Woman is a worthy and very real offering of a superhero movie, that gives nuance to humans and gods alike. It’s grounded in an understanding of the less than binary nature of true good and evil in the world. Despite fulfilling some inevitable narrative turns, it remains exciting and engaging throughout.
Except, when at the end, the movie’s structure snatches all emotional investment away, by reminding us that what we just witnessed was actually no more than a vintage anecdote, only told to show how much Bruce Wayne cares about Prince in a bid to convince her to join the Justice League.
Why isn’t Wonder Woman given as much time to grow as Iron Man was?
Wonder Woman is bookended by Prince’s (extended) flashback to her time with Steve Trevor and her first steps into the less than perfect world on Earth. This narrative is thoroughly engaging but wholly undermined by the movie’s clear production prerogative, already moved on to the next chapter before this one has even begun.
Why isn’t Wonder Woman given as much time to grow as Iron Man was? With an actually incredibly engaging character, why has your rushed framework hindered her development and impact?
Where feminist audiences have grown accustomed to disagreeing with the representation of female characters, here the problem isn’t even ideology or gender based – and yet that is the impact it ends up having. It’s when you stifle a character to fit a particular mold that they end up looking even worse.
We can grow to love your characters, but not if you don’t love them first
Even though you’ve grown up ideologically and have produced a fantastically brave and awe-inspiring character in Wonder Woman, you now need to treat her, and subsequently the other members of the Justice League, with the respect they deserve.
With time and space to blossom, as did Iron Man, and as did Harry Potter growing literally from boy to man in real time on screen, viewers can take heroes into their own lives and cherish them for more than just the extent of their most fiery battle scene. With a different consideration, the Justice League could have had that.
We can grow to love your characters, Warner Bros., but not if you don’t love them first.
Originally published on Konbini