Monday, December 16, 2013

Man of Steel Part 2, Wonder Woman Part 0?

Last March I considered some of the factors that have kept the long-anticipated Wonder Woman film in development hell. D.C.'s troubled track record with adaptations (in the past decade, only Batman really an unqualified success); the perceived hokiness and flatness of the material ("silly" super powers, a lack of interesting villains and other supporting players, the unrelatability of Golden Age heroes like her, etc.); and the complicated gender dynamics of the female-centered action movie (particularly acute here, because of Wonder Woman's costuming, background on Paradise Island and so on); have overdetermined this outcome.

My thought, accordingly, was that the surest road to a DC movie starring Wonder Woman--and for that matter, viable movies about other major DC characters like Aquaman--would be the reverse of Marvel's course with the Avengers. Instead of creating multiple franchises and then bringing them together in one film, it seemed that DC might do best to start with a Justice League film, from which it would spin off new franchises. The highly publicized inclusion of Batman in Man of Steel 2 hinted at a step in this direction. Now the casting of Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman in the same movie suggests the next Superman will be a "backdoor" Justice League movie.

It seems an intelligent move, but it is not without its risks. The first Man of Steel movie, after all, made a fair amount of money, but left a lot of viewers unsatisfied, making audience enthusiasm shaky. At the same time the field seems to grow ever more crowded with superhero movies. If, as is possible, the sequel performs badly as a result, this could do that much more to set back the cinematic prospects of Wonder Woman and other League characters.

The alternative, however, is that the inclusion of these other characters will make those who didn't warm to the first film give the franchise another shot, boosting the new Superman series while building up a platform for the launch of a slew of other DC superhero films.

For the time being, the latter seems somewhat more likely than the former.

My Posts on Superheroes

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