Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Hollywood Babble On & On #1077: The Bulletproof Bracelet Is Cast...

Take a look at this trailer.

Was it made by DC Comics and parent company Warner Brothers?


It's a fan made short film that has no official connection to DC Comics and Warner Brothers with resources that would be only a tiny fraction of a quantum of what a major studio and comic publisher have to work with.

So why can't Warner Brothers make a Wonder Woman TV show and/or feature film?

Back in the 1980s and 1990s DC/Warner Bros. were the kings of the superhero movies. Superman and Batman provided some major blockbusters and rival Marvel comics couldn't organize a screw in a brothel.

My how things have changed. 

Today Marvel dominates the movies, while DC/WB can still put out Batman and Superman movies, and even a modestly successful TV series called Arrow, they're playing catch up and doing it poorly. One of the problems that keeps popping up is DC/WB's total inability to produce anything live-action starring Wonder Woman.

It should be a natural next step, she's right up there in status with Superman and Batman on DC's A-List. She's got legions of fans, and is probably the longest running female superhero in comics.

Yet dozens of big-screen adaptations have died screaming in development hell. Even Joss Whedon, the king of kick-ass heroines, was fired from Wonder Woman. And then there was the laughably bad TV pilot by Ally McBeal creator David E. Kelly. It transformed Wonder Woman from a female superhero from the fantasy island of Themyscira who embodied a confident strong woman into a woman with a borderline multiple personality disorder. In the pilot she was Wonder Woman a gritty vigilante who is not afraid to kill minions in horrible ways, Diana Themyscira, a corporate tycoon, and Diana Prince, an emotionally needy Ally McBeal knock-off. They even forgot to use the lasso of truth when it was right there, hanging on her belt.

Anyway, the show didn't sell, and Wonder Woman's been trapped in development hell ever since.

But why?

Here are some things that I think are reasons:

1. POLITICAL EXPECTATIONS: the people running studios think they can't do Wonder Woman as just a superhero engaged in entertaining adventures. They believe that it must be a statement. You see any live action project is assumed to not be about Wonder Woman, but about all women.

That's why the David E. Kelly pilot was such a mish mash. They tried to make her more than just a hero, easily the equal of any male hero, she had to be a commanding corporate tycoon, and a gritty two-fisted vigilante, and a modern single woman navigating the dating scene. She had to be everything to all women, and nothing to the viewers.

This comes from the fact that they...

2. DON'T UNDERSTAND THE AUDIENCE: There's a paradox associated with the Wonder Woman character. The comics industry thinks that only men read comics, and on top of that, only extremely lecherous men who can't get pr0n from the internet. So women must be presented in supremely skimpy costumes and crammed into poses that defy the laws of physics, physiology, and good taste.

But women do read comics, and a lot of men get annoyed by the hyper-sexualized characters and costumes that often come at the expense of story and character.

It's one of the many reasons why the comics industry is going the way of the dinosaur. It's also why they can't make up their minds on what the hell to do with a major female superhero.

They can't grasp that all the audience wants is a good story featuring the hero whose adventures they grew up enjoying.

This is just one symptom of...

3. MANAGERIAL MALAISE: Marvel's film/TV wing is much leaner than DC/WB's operation. Even as part of the Disney empire, decisions are still being made by a handful of people whose judgement is trusted.

At Warner Brothers decisions are made by a complex web of producers, executives, marketing consultants, their spouses, extramarital lovers, and dominatrixes. It's just easier for anyone at any stage to just say no, because saying no is their protection. No one gets fired for not making a movie, they can get fired for making a bomb.

Saying yes requires imagination and hard work.

That's terrifying to the average studio executive.

That's what I think, let me know what you think in the comments... 


  1. Wasn't Wonder Woman always supposed to be sexy as well as a badass? She's not overly sexualized, but neither is she a nuanced feminist critique of superhero-dom. (Which is kinda your point.) The red-white-and-blue bikini says it all. The character is pretty straightforward and simple, as it was in the 70s TV show, so I would chalk up the failure to the managerial issues rather than any intrinsic issue with a script or story.

  2. WW was always covertly sexual. She is a great character and has great potential on tv, print, or movies.

    The fact that she hasn't made it anywhere in decades is more a testament to our decaying society than anything else. Like you said, everything has to be 'grrl power' and Ally MacBeal.

    WW has been lots of different things over the years and there is many stories that someone could choose. But I like the red, white, blue, and gold bikini.

    We can't just sit back and enjoy a woman who actually can kick ass (I am not a fan of the 90lbs pixie kicking the ass of a 290lbs commando that Buffy made popular).

    Rainforest Giant

  3. The era of the physically dominant women in movies is over. It was short lived because it catered not to women but to a small segment of men who were into femdom fetishes

    Wonder Woman falls into that category.

  4. Rodimus9036/10/13 6:21 pm

    K not really, I suggest you watch the old Wonder Woman series, especially seasons 1 & 2. Was there a feminist undercurrent sure, femdom vibe (less noticeable) than xena but more than anything fun stories. A modern take that is good is the animated Wonder Woman movie which is anathema to modern culture with its you Grrrl ethics

  5. Sandy Petersen9/10/13 5:42 pm

    I am no fan of the 90-lb girl beating up gorillas, but Wonder Woman should fall into a separate category. I mean, Spiderman doesn't look like a guy who can lift up a car.

    Obviously there is going to be a feminist undertone to Wonder Woman, and that's fine. But she shouldn't have to take the hit for the fact that there are NO OTHER FEMALE SUPERHEROES being shown either. Hollywood has a super-bad record with them, too. Remember Electra? And Catwoman. Eeeeugh.