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Wonder Woman: Strength & Power
By Bert Ehrmann
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Fort Wayne Reader
There are literally hundreds, if not thousands of characters who have appeared in the pages of DC comics over the decades. From Flash to Aquaman and not as well known characters like Wild Dog and Vigilante.
But the “big three” heroes of DC that everyone knows by heart, DC’s “trinity,” are Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. And while Batman has gotten seven movies and Superman six, Wonder Woman has appeared on the big screen once, and that was in a movie where Batman and Superman fought each other.
What I find most ironic is that by having Superman appear by himself over and over again on film — and the same for Batman — those characters have started to change in ways that make them almost unrecognizable from their origins. Over the years in the movies Batman has gone from a brooding yet heroic character, to a dark, brooding and menacing figure cloaked in darkness who’s as likely to machine gun his enemies as bring them to justice. And Superman has gone from the earnest, all-American alien who tells kids to eat their vegetables to another dark and brooding character who also kills his enemies.
I can see why this happens. When only Batman appears in Batman movies and Superman in Superman their characters are never able to really interact with anyone but the bad guys. So writers of sequels do the only thing they can and try to bring new ideas and motivations to the characters and do something different then what’s come before.
And a lot of the time “different then what’s come before” means making the character more “realistic,” which in Hollywood parlance when talking about superhero movies almost always means making the character “dark, brooding and willing to kill.” But that also means that we get two characters like Batman and Superman who are supposed to be at the opposite end of spectrums, dark and light, who have basically become the same character type in recent years which makes for some dark and depressing movies.
To which I think the new Wonder Woman movie is so important.
By DC introducing Wonder Woman into the Batman/Superman mix and allowing those three characters to intermingle with each other a bit, it might mean that we get a Batman who’s a bit lighter and a Superman who can return to his roots as the guy who’s core value is to do the right thing at all costs. How does this happen? Because in the comics anyway, and in the one time we’ve seen her on the big screen in Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice, Wonder Woman is a no-nonsense warrior-princess who won’t take any guff from the likes of Batman or Superman and is probably the only person on the planet capable of putting either of them in their places.
Wonder Woman comes from Themyscira, an island populated by warrior women who have cut themselves off from the outside world and are nearly as strong as Superman. And it’s Princess Diana, the strongest of the warriors, who’s chosen to go to the outside world and see what’s out here, which seems to be the basic plot of the new movie.
It’s because Wonder Woman is who she is that I think might just breath some new life into the DC universe of movies. On the big screen at least, her character is new and fresh and her backstory is relatively unexplored. So this means that we should get a Wonder Woman a little closer to the source material, someone who’s strong and beautiful and is just as smart if not smarter than the likes of Bruce Wayne or Clark Kent.
Which is what seems to be happening with the character. The one bright shining light of Batman v Superman was the debut of Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) who stole the show in the big battle at the end of the movie and if the trailers are any indication for what’s to be expected in the Wonder Woman movie that’s out now is what we’ll be getting in the character’s first feature film.
I’d say enjoy Wonder Woman while you can; if she follows the path of Batman or Superman in a few decades time she’ll be a dark and brooding character herself ready for another character to come along and shake up the status quote.