‘Wonder Woman’ Short Film Raises Some Important Questions

Published 2 years ago by , Updated May 28th, 2014 at 4:35 pm,

Fans of Wonder Woman have no doubt seen the most recent fan-made short/trailer, depicting the Amazonian princess taking on Nazis during World War II. Filmed as a showcase for the directorial skills of stuntmant-turned-director Jesse V. Johnson (The Package) – and NOT a WW movie – the trailer features Nina Bergman (The Wayshower) as the titular superheroine.

While viewers have been largely polarized over the short, we’re more interested in the questions this live-action take on Wonder Woman raises. And perhaps more importantly, which ones it answers.

As far as fan-made films go, the production value and actors are easy to appreciate, and far better than these kinds of projects generally sport. We don’t know exactly why the WWII setting was chosen, but Timothy V. Murphy (Sons of Anarchy, The Lone Ranger) plays a Nazi officer exceedingly well, and Peter Stormare again proves that if a camera is rolling somewhere in the world, there’s a good chance he’s in front of it playing a bad guy.

Johnson has already directed a handful of features, so what this trailer will do for his prospects is hard to gauge (after all, even the most faithful and inspired short films don’t guarantee work), and Bergman carries off the combat well enough, being asked to do little else but punch, kick and throw – all while looking menacing.

Wonder Woman Fan Made Short Film Wonder Woman Short Film Raises Some Important Questions

The fight choreography or style isn’t the real problem (we’ve seen cheesier). And while many like to attack any Wonder Woman costume as ridiculous or sexist, we’ve seen plenty that insulted our intelligence much more than this version. That being said, this live-action footage does perfectly illustrate the point that short shorts and a tube top just can’t cut it in today’s world, practically or dramatically. We’d point to the “New 52” and “Odyssey” costumes for something a bit more grounded (and intriguingly, ultimately abandoned).

The problems aren’t just in finding the right outfit, or an actress that can pull off Diana’s physical strength. It’s obviously hard to take a Wonder Woman of Bergman’s height and build (5’7″) seriously – but there’s no reason to think that a simply taller, broader or fitter actress would make the fight sequences seen in this short more compelling, meaningful or any less cheesy. We made a list of actress who could play the next Wonder Woman, and their muscle mass was barely a part of why we think they’d work.

Wonder Woman Odyssey Costume Wonder Woman Short Film Raises Some Important Questions

What this short film proves is that a successful live-action Wonder Woman isn’t one that simply hits people – that’s not what spawned the character, nor what helped her last. Honestly, in a world of superheroes and superheroines blessed with super-strength and colorful costumes, what reason is there to reduce Wonder Woman to yet another? She is strong, to be sure, and can hold her own in a fight – but who can’t in the world of superhero movies? As a crowned princess from a bygone era and demigod raised to lead a matriarchy, her strength, when all things are considered, is actually not what defines her alongside Superman and Batman.

When actresses talk of Wonder Woman’s need to be a role model for women, it’s safe to assume they’re not referring to instruction on how to throw a punch, but what it means for a woman to be powerful and just in the same manner as Supes or Bats (or at the very least, show what that even looks like in today’s world).

Luckily, Warner Bros. and DC Comics seem to agree. Brian Azzarello’s current run on “Wonder Woman” has delved head-first into Greek mythology (a realm unavailable to most other characters) and the planned Amazon TV series seems more focused on the origin of Diana than her physicality, going by the audition scenes and alleged frontrunner for the part.

Wonder Woman 1 Wonder Woman Short Film Raises Some Important Questions

Whether DC or Warner Bros. ever get around to making a Wonder Woman movie – or Justice League for that matter - we don’t know if they’ll closely follow Lauren Montgomery’s Wonder Woman animated film or not, but they would be wise to take note. Montgomery had the guts to show that Diana’s isolation didn’t make her laughable, merely complicated. Batman is defined by angst and uncertainty, and portraying a woman in the same lens doesn’t have to be insulting or offensive.

There’s no question that the action of such a blockbuster movie will need to be big, and not ‘up close and personal’ as some might hope. Seeing Superman punch bad guys would get boring after a few seconds, so a musclebound actress doing the same is not a recipe for success (in our humble opinion). And definitely not if it means downplaying the part of her character and story that’s actually, you know, interesting.

What do you think of this Wonder Woman live-action short? Does it prove what will and won’t work for a full-length movie as it does for us, or do you think this is the path to success? Leave your thoughts in the comments.


Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.

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  1. They really need to reinvent her outfit. Its too cheesy for this day & age.

    • They should just have Matt Damon play her in drag and be done with it.

  2. One of the tallest members of the League, a lot of muscle and tone without seeming manly, strong facial features, Greek amazon goddess who stands out a little in a room. Not bound by gender roles; in fact, taken aback by them. Riding the line between man-hating and conflicted, but NOT weak.

    Nothing about Wonder Woman should be weak or “girly”. No stereotypical (read: sexist) “woman” moments. I’m a guy and I find those moments insulting. ‘Nuff said.

    Wonder Woman should never be in a skirt or dress or shorts unless it’s a political summit disguise or she’s in a war outfit.

    No soft and sexist treatment of Diana. Easy on the cheese, stars, and American themes.

    Please and thank you.

    “Go home, Spaceman.” Or whatever she says. That’s classic Diana.

  3. She looks like Chyna

  4. the gold doesn’t work

    gold for ceremonies, maybe

    bronze for war stuff

    otherwise, no

  5. for someone who represents an Amazon, she always strikes me as too white. She always needs to have at least a sun-kissed look, if not a sun-worshipper look.

    If anyone’s going to be pale, it should be Batman. Fits his character way more.

    • Indeed lol

  6. The short was pretty bad a$$! I agree, the outfit doesn’t work but everything else is pretty cool.. I don’t mind watching a girl with cool MMA moves whip some lame dudes a$$… Somebody just make the damn movie already!

  7. Not a great trailer,but at least it shows what a wonder woman movie could be like if its done right and that’s a mighty Big if.maybe starting her off in the ww2 setting would work ,then again maybe not cause I’m sure you’ll have some people saying its just a female version of captain America.

    Wonder woman is a very tricky character to bring to the big screen ,but it can be done if the right director brings the right concept and vision to the character. Should have been done a long time ago, but then again this is WB we’re talking about.

  8. To be fair, pulling off a wonder woman is difficult – more difficult than superman IMHO. I agree the costume would have to be much more grounded in order for it to work. Then again, who can really speculate as to how a princess/demigod would actually dress

    • I was going to nitpick and say that superwoman has some degree of super strength and the trailer just shows her as a really good fighter but I suppose budget is a concern when it comes to that sort of thing.

      • *wonderwoman

    • shes Amazonian the costume should look like a greek warrior costume. heres a fan made costume i think would be great to use for the movie if they did one. check the link below to see what i mean


      • those are pretty dope!

        • i know. this is the reason i dont understand WB at all i can tell u this WB needs to be run by someone who knows about the comic book universe and film making

          • @ Mace

            Like that will ever happen. If it were, im sure they would gladly hand it all to Christopher Nolan as he come to their mind first.

      • Those images were just…plain…AWESOME!

  9. It’s a shame DC/WB can’t get something like this going on their own.

    • +1

  10. While not perfect, it does show some interesting shots and moves. The boob tube really doesn’t work in live action, a halterneck would look just as good and perform better.

    As for the gold, it shouldn’t be that really shiny chrome-like gold. When I was in Greece a few years ago I saw the tombs in Macedonia/messina and the gold armour was striking.

    There was Alexanders shin armour that was pure gold and looked brand new despite being thousands of years old. Everything around them (wood, leather, iron, copper fabric etc…) has either rotted away or corroded, but the gold was untouched. Being pure gold, it was really, really yellow in colour and had kind of a dull surface which actually made it look like the yellow gold armour we see in classic comic books.

  11. Meh. Agreed any woman that takes on the everntual role need to look the part physically. Most current actrices just dont fit the bill. Like one of the poster said, I’ve always seen her as more tanned and greek/italian looking or dare I say exotic. Not some plain white chick from minesota. That aside, te costume needs to get worked on, sorry to the purists out there but the short shorts and even the bustier are kinda dumb. Less metal, more founctional, heck more “warrior-like” or Zena-ish. She may come from a special paradise-like island but I don’t think they have spandex or lycra. Lastly, they need to amp her powers up, her fighting like an mma fighter is ridiculous (though I understand for the purpose of the video itself why they did it -it was a fight choreography showcase after all).

    • Yeah, I want her costume to look like ancient armour, and thus be timeless. I don’t want to see her in a spandex sports type version of her costume.

      • I think whenever this becomes a reality for film or TV, the moment the creative lead says “Yes, we are definitely going to be changing the costume. It’s not a bathing suit,” people will breathe a sigh of relief that someone knows what still applies to the character and what doesn’t.

  12. I quite like this cosplayers’s approach…


    • Yes, that one is extremely professional looking. Hard to argue with the approach.

    • Yeah this is orders or magnitude better than any ww costume, including the failed tv show one. Like you stated, warrior-like & timeless. If they go with a revised backstory going full on greek gods etc (and hope to god they do) then they need to have that design language (spartan-like) reflected in the suit. At least the original or first movie. Once she’s in the modern world for a while, no reason she cant decide to alter her outfit to make it more modern etc over time.

    • People really still insist that spandex is the only way to visually present a comic book character in a real life movie, and I don’t understand why. Comics are a 2-D, drawn medium so things are presented a certain way for effect, it may not (and usually does not) work on real life people. And it certainly will not always look good on a giant screen, in 3-D and whatever other bells and whistles they throw in.

      And the costume in this picture sadly looks better then what a bunch of Hollywood costumers came up with for that failed television project. Tells you something.

  13. I prefer a skin-tight traditional costume as seen in JLU animated series over the New 52 comics costume.

  14. Appreciated this short film. Funny how they had her tied up. That’s how they used to have her hands bound back in the day. But get rid of the Daisy-Dukes. And who’s the guy in the white t-shirt? He was getting it handed to him!

  15. Yeah, I would like to see her in something sleek and modern, but honestly that would require her coming up with a new costume once in our world. It seems like she really should have something authentically Themysciran (sp?) like everyone else there wears. Okay, so maybe it’s color-coded with red white and blue, stars and so forth, but but the classic Wonder Woman costume does kinda seem like it’s neither here or there. Not a real greek “demigod” warrior costume, but not a functional real-world costume either.

    Thor is kind of a similar character, so maybe that could provide some paralled inspiration. In fact, didn’t Jamie Alexander play the female “Norse goddess” character in Thor? [Worlds are colliding.] Ha.

    • ^Spelling errors aplenty. I apologize.

  16. It looked like she borrowed my old gym shoes, frayed laces and all…

    Although she’s probably too old now, I always pictured Katherine Zeta-Jones (Douglas) as the perfect Wonder Woman…athletic, exotic (and erotic), potentially muscular, long dark flowing curly hair, tan, with a mysterious accent…basically the whole package. Honestly, she could still play an awesome Hyppolyta.

    • True that.

    • Your right Catherine Zeta-Jones should play Queen Hippolyte But I choose Cate Blanchett as Queen Hippolyte in the Wonder Woman movie. But disney is busy casting Cate Blanchett playing The Stepmother in Disney’s CINDERELLA

    • @ Gary

      I always thought Catherine Zeta Jones was the perfect choice too if she was younger. I agree with your post.

  17. Wonder Woman’s costume needs to reflect who she is, an Amazonian Warrior. The New 52 design is terrible because it makes her more super hero than warrior. Give WW an outfit like a traditional greek warrior in the direction of WW’s classic design. So simple. For movie inspiration watch the animated 2009 Wonder Woman.

  18. The film was not inspiring choice but I still feel the Wonder Woman movie can be done. DC has to realize that a more grounded take on their properties is the wise move to make. Most of their characters throughout the Silver Age became cheesy, gimmicky, and became public jokes. Examples will be Aqua man, Wonder Woman, etc. even Superman has found himself out of touch in various occasions.

    Batman was for the longest time seen as the Adam West version of the character that reflected the comics of the time. And though Burton have returned to the dark with Burton (and returned to less tasteful camp with Shumacher) it was not until the grounded, serious take on the character by Nolan and Bale that truly deconstruct and reconstruct Batman. Superman is following suit. Green Lantern failed to take it seriously.

    DC seems to win when its characters are taken more seriously in nature. Ground the character’s- including Wonder Woman- in terms of taking the cheese and gimmicks out of the equation. delve into the Greek background and mythology. Play it straight

    • ^^This.

      • Wonder Woman is my absolute favorite character in comics–this is something of a cliche among gay male comic book fans like myself, but I’ve never met a cliche I didn’t like, so oh well–I think there are decent parts of that fan trailer, but there is a lot that bothers me as well. One thing is certain, it is clear people want a Wonder Woman project to happen, but Warner Brothers is terrified of her. For that matter, so is DC Comics. As for the constant complaints about her costume; while I agree that the comic book costume as-is would not work in live action anymore, as we have seen by Josh McMahon’s excellent photoshop mock-ups someone posted, you can retain the classic silhouette and color scheme and she’s not wearing booty shorts anymore. But just because she’s not wearing tiny shorts doesn’t mean she must cover her legs and shoulders either–Diana isn’t ashamed of her body and this need to cover up every inch of her flesh feels like a very conservative attitude for a character who was conceived of as anything but conservative.

    • Superman Returns & Green Lantern films had bad scripts,Green Lantern being rushed to please fans without telling a proper story. Batman was dark but WB faced problem from parents who felt Burton’s films were too dark & WB thought it was best to take the (Family-Friendly) route thinking it was great since Batman Forever made more money than Batman Returns so they had Schumacher take up a notch with Batman & Robin & BAM! WB pretty much helped self-destruct that Batman series.

      Theres alot of characters in DC comics i can’t see as grounded as Nolan’s Batman or Snyder’s Superman. Sorry.

      • I do not see how your other examples lead to the conclusion that grounding any of the other DC characters including Wonder Woman will be bad. Are you saying when that if the studios aim for what audience wants if can backfire? In that case I agree. Green Lantern tried to emulate the Marvel method and it backfired. Superman Returns aimed for the Donner reverance and it was underlwheming to say the least. The Batman franchise died due to satisfy family and yes…did not work.

        But what else harmed all those films – they all aimed to replicate past gimmicks that are of touch. They need to ground these films in film reality. Marvel Cinematic Universe created a reality in which their characters worked. They are grounded and fun. Grounded does not mean ultra realistic film with no fantastical concept. It means going to the essence of these characters and treat them with respect on screen not as jokes.

        The problem with this short film it reduced Wonder Woman to an MMA fighting super model. The essence of who the character is and the world she inhabits were completely ignored. The film should feel real even if we consciously recognize that the film is ultimately unreal. That is what art is about, the feeling of things not the logic. Take out the things that reduce the characters to self parody and treat them as serious and reverence.

        Thor- despite all of its flaws- manage to convince audience that it inhabits the same world as the tech-based Iron Man. Why not the Wonder Woman?

  19. PIXAR JUSTICE LEAGUE. That’s my vote after that youtube vid you guys posted in Geek Pics today.

  20. the new 52 look is fine.

  21. I think it’s funny some are suggesting she doesn’t look like an Amazonian (Themysciran would be more correct). It’s not like Diana has never been painted/drawn before. A WW film would do just fine if it is written well and the source material is shown some damn respect. David Kelly’s show was an embarrassment. He even admitted he didn’t know what he was doing with the character. Get someone who loves comics, loves the character, and then stick to the character from the comic.

  22. Back in the day, Katherine Zeta jones would’ve been the perfect Wonder Woman. Today…maybe Jamie Alexander who plays Sif in Thor…but she seems not to be interested anymore. What they need is a young unknown. That’s what talent scouts and auditions are for. Take all the time to find that woman for the role.
    As far as costumes go. I would like to see the traditional costume…bakini and all. All they have to do is prehaps make the material more like the recent spiderman or the upcoming man of steel.
    For people that say it wouldn’t work today because it looks cheesy or because of the whole sexist thing; I say BULL !!! Women will be quick to cry how sexist the costume is, but that don’t stop them from swinging on poles or showing it all on the beach.

  23. The short/trailer didn’t work for me. The Nazi/WW2 storyline is old and archaic. A more modern WW should focus on her greek heritage/demigod status. It’s already been said that the character mirrors Thor and his Norse roots. If film makers were to go that route, everything would be OK.

    • Wonder Woman should be based on greek mythology and living in the modern world of Men. I like to see The Amazing Amazon defend off the bullets from her bracelets. She’s stationed in the U.S. Air Force as Diana Prince after she was sent to the United States with Steve Trevor who crash landed in the seas in her star spangled banner outfit along with the magic golden lasso and the tiara. She becomes a crime-fighting superheroine of Gateway City. I think the WW story shall be written by William Moulton Marston. I hope DC makes any decisions the origins of WONDER WOMAN will go on. I hope it’s going to be the Original WONDER WOMAN or the Current WONDER WOMAN.

  24. Lucy Lawless would have been so perfect as Diana.

  25. Wonder Woman would be, IMHO, by far, the hardest character to portray in the world of Justice League. Because she is the first and only woman amongst the founding members (at least, if you excluse the animated Justice League where Hawkgirl is), I think she needs to become a true role model. And she can’t accomplish such a feat by just punching bad guys and doing fancy acrobatics. She needs just as much intelligence, wisdom and ressourcefulness as she needs strengh and speed… just like the wrists bracelets that repell bullets and the golden lying-detector lasso which to me are big keepers. So if we’d were to imagine the Justice League getting as big as the Avengers, we could easily see the hard-head troublemakers fall-in under her guard as fast as they would under Batman or Superman’s orders.
    To me, her uniform definitely needs to be change from that classic Vegas-like performer. Golden/red/black knee-high boots, bracelets to match, both engraved as to ressemble greek mythos, the rest could just look as much like the Justice League 52.
    If I were a Hollywood director/producer, to be trusted this project, I’m really not sure I’d know where to start. This is not an easy project indeed.

  26. She definitely needs pants.


    In a way it’s empowering for a woman to kick ass while looking good. It’s kind of reverse-sexism: Men will need to get over her looks and take her seriously because she’s a successful powerful woman.

    • Yeah, I like the short shorts too. Guess we’re in the minority. Ah well. :)

  28. It’s been my observation that women love clothes why not take advantage of that? Dress her a number of different ways within the first movie. Get a woman to design her costumes from a woman’s perspective not a mans. I also think they should make her part of an ensemble of heroes for her first screen outing. Start the story on Themyscira have Wonder Woman follow the antagonist into the larger world and make her character aware of the other heroes, like Aquaman. In fact I think that could really work it would be expensive but the story would be spread around between several heroes and you could gage audience interest for each. One of these DC characters surly falls into the Hulk movie category, so why not let the audience decide..

  29. I think the key to her costume is leather and armor. She’s an ancient Greek warrior. She’s not going to wear gold lame and go-go boots. It’s all going to be leather with metal fastened to it for protection.

    As for her being sexy. You have to remember she’s spent most of her life on a tropical island with only other women being trained as a warrior. So she could be a bit naive about dressing scantily. Not realizing the effect on men and even women in the modern world.

    That would be a nice character quirk in a solo origin movie in that she doesn’t understand she’s hot.