How Wonder Woman Can Save Warner Bros. DC Franchise

Rough Draft Script

Wonder Woman is a uniquely different superhero film from the DC movie franchise. Stripping the production away from the macho-oozing hands of Zach Snyder, who directed Man of Steel and Batman v Superman, and into the more tender hands of Patty Jenkins has made this film more than just a brawl between two growling, testosterone-enraged hunks. Instead, you have a film that showcases characters who are immersed in scenes. Wonder Woman is not just a human being with super powers–cue the action–she is a person who cares deeply about other people.

In the process of developing Gal Gadot’s character throughout the entire course of the film, we get a product that is more targeted for the family. She reminds me of Ariel, curious about a new world when a foreign man washes up on her shores. Or perhaps Rapunzel in how impressionable and naive she is once she finds herself in London with some deceptive stranger. And I make these comparisons to highlight how much of a character Wonder Woman is. Who does Henry Cavil’s Superman remind you of? Who does Ben Afleck’s Batman remind you of? What personality traits do they possess that make them super, likeable, or even interesting?

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More noticeable than the presence of characters in Wonder Woman is the presence of scenes. Whereas Zach Snyder opts for dialogue-less stills of Superman and Batman looking mildly upset or vaguely angry, Gal Gadot laughs, learns, and breathes live into an increasingly formulaic, mundane, and tedious movie genre of superheros. There is a particular scene that comes to mind that you would never find in a Zach Snyder film. It’s the scene where Wonder Woman and altruistic spy Steve Trevor leave the shores of her secretly hidden homeland for London on a little boat. She doesn’t quite understand why men can’t sleep next to a woman and a scene that could have been used for a quick laugh is sustained for minutes. The effect is not only that much more comedic and hilarious but also personal, intimate, and lending itself for a believable romance. Instead of ogling at each other until our spotlight protagonists finally kiss, Wonder Woman and Steve talk, fight, and dance.

I also love how this wasn’t some agenda-pushing big female power hurrah! film. Wonder Woman is the first superhero film to feature a heroine that I’ve wanted to see for a while and what could have easily turned into something more similar to Sucker Punch (another Zach Snyder film)–a highly sexualized and heavy-handed brand of female empowerment–turns into a more modest film that just happens to feature one of the coolest, bad-ass female superheroes to be put on the screen. And for it to be this good under a female director, I am so happy it did so well in the box office because I want more of these films. This is what real female empowerment in media looks like.

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This isn’t to imply that Wonder Woman is my favorite superhero film or a superhero film without faults. The special effects, while stylized to stellar effect in action sequences, looks sub-par in more dormant spots of the film. The golden lasso personally distracted me with its overly bright glow and the disaster porn in the final boss battle looked like re-used footage from the Doomsday battle. The climatic ending, while containing a plot twist of sorts, was ultimately generic and cringe-worthy compared to everything leading up to it.

Still, for someone who has grown extremely fatigued by the more ruthless interpretations of superheros from both the Marvel and DC Universes (why do they need to always fight each other?) Wonder Woman gives me hope that superheroes can actually enjoy being superheroes while experiencing the highs and lows of being a human being as well. Gal Gadot, with her winning personality, was wonderfully casted for a wonderful character who doesn’t take herself too serious for being an Amazon warrior destined to defeat Ares. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some brooding and grim Batman Begins, but I think it’s time that DC realize that most importantly, we like our superhero films to have multi-dimensional protagonists who actually interact with one another in something called scenes. Wonder Woman has these moments in abundance and if DC can learn their lesson from Wonder Woman, I can’t wait for the next installment in their franchise.

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