Friday, August 23, 2013

Why I'm Irritated with Batfleck

It's not just that I think Ben Affleck is all wrong for Batman (I do), it's that Batman and Superman have already had so many feature films that it's ridiculous.
  • Batman (movies, live action): 1966, 1989, 1992, 1995, 1997, 2005, 2008, 2012
  • Superman (movies, live action): 1951, 1978, 1980, 1983, 1987, 2006, 2013
Sixteen in all, if you count the movie Affleck has been tapped for. And we can't get a single Wonder Woman movie???


Seriously, DC and Warner Brothers clearly do not have their fingers on the pulse of reality. Here's what Diane Nelson said about Wonder Woman, to The Hollywood Reporter in July ('13):
We have to get her right, we have to. She is such an icon for both genders and all ages and for people who love the original TV show and people who read the comics now. I think one of the biggest challenges at the company is getting that right on any size screen. The reasons why are probably pretty subjective: She doesn't have the single, clear, compelling story that everyone knows and recognizes. There are lots of facets to Wonder Woman, and I think the key is, how do you get the right facet for that right medium? What you do in TV has to be different than what you do in features. She has been, since I started, one of the top three priorities for DC and for Warner Bros. We are still trying right now, but she's tricky.  (full article)
 And here is a brilliant rebuttal by Alan Kistler:

And lots and lots of other people have weighed in on this: Mark Hughes in an article for Forbes ('Wonder Woman' Movie Will Deliver Big At Box Office For Warner Bros., 7/25/13)
...Warner Bros. needs to release a solo Wonder Woman movie instead of trying to spin her off from Justice League as if she’s not popular enough to support her own series. Ignore the recent wrongheaded Wired article insisting “we don’t need no stinking Wonder Woman movie,” the truth is we DO need a Wonder Woman movie, and soon.
Alexander Abad-Santos for The Atlantic Wire (Wonder Woman Can't Have it All, 8/21/13)
The real question is why this is happening to Wonder Woman. Part of the reason may be that comic books remain a sexist industry dominated by older white men. As DC's most iconic feminist, Wonder Woman is an outlier, and not always a beloved one.
Sede Makonnen and her 6 Reasons We Need A Wonder Woman Movie at BuzzFeed (7/23/13)
We live in society that A) desperately needs strong women in the media and B) really, really wants them. Wonder Woman, for all that she has a messy past, is a character that is recognized as a powerful female lead by people who haven’t read the original comics, people who haven’t read many comics at all.
Tim Hanley in his blog, Straightened Circumstances (Wired Says We Don’t Need A Wonder Woman Movie OR I Disagree Entirely, 7/23/13)
Wonder Woman needs someone who can take the best bits of her incarnations and create a modern, relevant, feminist take on the character, drawing from the past while injecting their own ideas as well.
The bottom line is, the comics and movie industries are sexist money-making machines. They will remake and reboot and make sequels to properties they're pretty sure will make them a lot of money, and rely on formulae they've used for generations, rather than step a little outside the box.

Unfortunately, the somewhat lackluster American sales for Pacific Rim tend to shore up the idea of sticking to the formula. It was an original idea, we saw something new and interesting from a passionate director, and yet what should have earned buckets of cash here, didn't. If Warner Brothers/DC were to write a check for a similarly passionate director for Wonder Woman, would we see the same mediocre box office numbers?

I don't think so. Women are hungry for a superheroine movie. And because Wonder Woman is so iconic (and since a whole generation of boys dreamed about Lynda Carter), I really don't see how a movie would fail... unless it was done poorly. None of us want a bad Wonder Woman movie, no one wants a repeat of Supergirl or Elektra. But we do want a Wonder Woman feature film -- not one where she's merely part of the team, but a heroine in her own right. All you have to do is watch the documentary Wonder Women to know just how much we want this.

Warner Brothers, DC: knock it off and get to work. Seriously. Quick dragging your feet and give us the Wonder Woman film we all deserve. (So long as Azzarello doesn't write the script.)

Isn't it interesting to note how many of the voices calling for a Wonder Woman movie are male? Guess that should help dispel the idea that men aren't interested in a female lead in a movie, huh?

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