The first reactions to Wonder Woman's bright, optimistic, hopeful hero may have led to further criticism of Zack Snyder's style for the DCEU... but it seems Diana's stark contrast to the tone of Batman V Superman was what Snyder always intended for DC's first female superhero. Director Patty Jenkins deserves the credit for Wonder Woman's critical and financial success, and delivering a blockbuster film worthy of praise and success regardless of its star's sex. But those claiming that the heroine's 'pure heroism' has Zack Snyder's absence to thank are in for a surprise. According to comments by the director, Diana's differences from the dark, tortured, and vengeful versions of Batman and Superman that launched the DCEU were intended from the start.
Lest we forget, there was a time when we argued that Zack Snyder and Warner Bros. could build instant interest in a Wonder Woman movie by nailing her appearance in Dawn of Justice. Snyder, Gal Gadot, and the studio opened the door, and Patty Jenkins took that break in the clouds and drove through it to total victory, telling the story she had been hoping to tell for years. The question now is whether Snyder's focus on the demons of DC's heroes paved the way - intentionally or not - for Wonder Woman to embody what a true hero in the DCEU really looks like.
With Zack Snyder's apparent trilogy from Man of Steel to Justice League taken as the overall tone of the entire DCEU, it made sense for those not fond of a divisive, un-formulaic, melodramatic treatment of DC's superheroes to embrace Wonder Woman. It's likely that some of that enthusiasm was inevitable regardless of the overall DCEU tone, since - as we've explored before - is a response to Wonder Woman's character as much as her film. But there's no missing the fact that Diana is born to be a hero of the helpless. In adulthood, she becomes it with little to no baggage - just a lifelong mission to... well, be a superhero.
Thanks to Wonder Woman: The Art and Making of The Film, fans have new insights from Snyder and the Wonder Woman producers. With the Justice League director having explained why Steve Trevor was needed for Wonder Woman during the early story process, he also explains what makes Diana so different from the DC heroes she debuted beside:
"She offers a unique opportunity to speak to what it is to be a strong, powerful, independent woman. It's a glance that is necessary in the world, as well as the way that we represent heroes onscreen. Having that equal representation of male and female energy is really important to me. I love that there's a purity to Wonder Woman. She doesn't have the broken past, she's not seeking revenge on people that wronged her. She can just be a hero."
It's a concise analysis of Diana's character in opposition to the broken, or strained souls/realities/origin stories of Batman and Superman, both born from pain and loss in one way or another. That was never the case for Wonder Woman, with the notion of Diana being a born hero frequently mentioned by the filmmakers during marketing for the film. Given what we know about the many writers brought in to write Wonder Woman's screenplay, the earliest stages of the process were spun out from Batman V Superman. In that film, Diana quite literally shows up out of nowhere to rescue DC's biggest two heroes, since she doesn't seem to have any crippling emotional or social stigma to overcome.
That presentation and introduction still work with her solo origin film set before and after Dawn of Justice - no surprise, since Zack Snyder has a story credit for Wonder Woman. With his new comments emphasizing Diana as the first "pure" hero in the DCEU, it looks like Wonder Woman fans can look forward to that treatment continuing into Justice League. The trailers suggest that Bruce and Diana will be leading the charge, so it's seeming more and more like Wonder Woman acting as a role model for every DC hero may have been DC Films' plan from the start.
If it means keeping up the momentum and positive buzz surrounding Gadot's portrayal of DC's most iconic superheroine, it's good news for everyone. Whether Snyder's efforts to bring "equal representation" or let Diana "just be a hero" will measure up to Patty Jenkins's remains to be seen (and will be a tall order). That being said, Batman V Superman made Wonder Woman a stand out favorite. Hopefully, the same will be said for Justice League... assuming Diana isn't automatically the DCEU's biggest star and draw already.
Source: Wonder Woman: The Art and Making of The Film
- Wonder Woman (2017) release date: Jun 02, 2017