Back in 2005, a few Brits (a Christian, a Christopher/Jonathan and an Emma)made Hollywood’s superhero genre hip again by releasing a small movie called Batman Begins, which changed the way we thought about movies and franchises. Like Pandora’s box, this event both rejuvenated the superhero blockbuster machine and also triggered an outbreak of nightmarish productions and a series of poor in-between-neverending-quels.
Ever since Nolan‘s acclaimed Dark Knight trilogy, DC has been struggling to find its way and with Patty Jenkins‘ Wonder Woman it finally got the much-needed breakthrough. Unlike Man of Steel, Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad, which cashed in but found poor reception from audiences, Wonder Woman left nothing to chance. Every step in the making of Diana Prince’s big blockbuster solo feature was well planned in advance and executed meticulously. Hey, perfection takes time! Here’s how they managed it:
- Assembling the team behind Wonder Woman
Every time someone dared ask about that Black Widow standalone movie, Hollywood would clutch at its sexist capitalist heart, probably reminiscing about the poor performance of the female-led blockbuster movies Catwoman and Elektra*. Wonder Woman was the single most spectacular thing in the problematic Batman v Superman movie so it made full sense that she should get her own movie.
What you may have probably heard by now is that one of the earliest drafts for this movie was penned by Joss Whedon back in the days he wanted to direct the movie. Sadly, the rumours are true, the script doesn’t just suck or sound outdated, it is downright sad and atrocious.
When Patty Jenkins was announced as the director, a lot of fans brought up her past feud with Marvel on Thor 2, a project she was supposed to direct a few years ago. What Patty Jenkins and her team achieved here is spectacular- they crafted a beautiful, action-packed and emotionally-engaged movie, whose legacy will go down in movie history.
- Spot-on characterization and creative decisions 2k17
Wonder Woman‘s been cast a few times prior to her debut in Zach Snyder‘s movie and at that time Megan Fox was a favorite, while George Miller envisioned Megan Gale in the titular role for his own Justice League movie. Snyder opted for relative newcomer Gal Gadot, an Israeli model/actress/lawyer who was ready to play Diana Prince in her sleep.
Jenkins, meanwhile, rounded up a terrific supporting cast, which gives Robin Wright another opportunity to inspire girls worldwide. The finished movie justifies choices, like the costume design of the Amazons, which taken out of their movie context, seemed dubious at the time prior to the movie release. Even the music contributes to the atmosphere of the movie and its central themes of empowerment.
While fans had already embraced Gal Gadot after her scene-stealing cameo in the Justice League set up but a lot of them were concerned about the casting of her leading man and love interest, Steve Trevor (Chris Pine). A lot of fans were worried that Steve Trevor, the male love interest in the female-led movie would be emasculated. This is why Patty Jenkins had to reassure fans that he will be, in fact, Diana’s equal.
- The studio’s vision: keep the standalone features as character-focused as possible
Marvel has a very strict routine when it comes to its franchise. When you go to see a Marvel movie you start ticking off your Easter egg list and stay after the credits to make sure you haven’t missed any of their tie-ins to future movies. Wonder Woman opens up with a nod to Justice League and a cameo of grumpy Batfleck but that’s it. It doesn’t use Diana’s solo outing as an excuse to jam her moving superhero origin story with Justice League/Aquaman/Flash/Cyborg teasers.
- It reassured us that reshoots and screenings don’t always mean it’s a bad movie
It’s understandable that after Disney’s Rogue One/Han Solo scandal or even Suicide Squad‘s hastily arranged reshoots a lot of fans become agitated when they hear ‘reshoots’ or ‘screenings reports’. Wonder Woman also did some reshoots and there were supposedly screenings, where fans complained the movie was a complete trainwreck.
Need a bonus? Justice League is adding more Wonder Woman screentime to give us more screentime of our (at least my) their favorite Justice League superhero to date. Unlike other studios, Warner Bros is backing up Patty Jenkins who is in negotiations to helm the Wonder Woman‘s sequel.
Here’s a lesson for us fans: beware unofficial ‘hype’ and don’t take reshoots as a bad omen. Hopefully Wonder Woman becomes an important lesson to Hollywood in filmmaking and crafting more and more diverse female-led superhero blockbuster movies. Please go watch Wonder Woman while it’s running in theatres, thank me later!
* Surprisingly or not, Elektra is actually an all-time-favorite movie of my dad’s, alongside Man on Fire, Apocalypse now and Brigada.