More NonSense: The Wonder Woman Film Edition

Wonder Woman (2017) alternative poster, by Doaly. Wonder Woman created by William Moulton Marston, H. G. Peter, Elizabeth Holloway Marston, Olive Byrne.
Image via The Poster Posse, by Doaly

Did you know that Wonder Woman is finally headlining a groundbreaking, not to mention hugely profitable, film? The amazing amazon has become a genuine cultural phenomenon. For the beleaguered Time-Warner, it's the only instalment from the DC Cinematic Universe to have so far garnered critical acclaim. And director Patty Jenkins will be back to helm the sequel (maybe). But there have been a few controversies, such as leading lady Gal Gadot's Israeli background and her advocacy of the IDF leading to the Lebanese government banning the film.

This is, off course, long overdue for a character usually touted as one of DC's top three superheroes (the other two being Superman and Batman) but receives only a fraction of the attention directed at her peers. What took them so long? There are a few unfortunate consequences to being part of a cinematic universe. The film's dreary visual aesthetic had already been laid down since Man of Steel. So this is partly justified by setting the story in WW I Europe. In contrast, the sun-drenched island paradise of Themyscira is a welcome sight. The inevitable and annoying slo-mo action sequences favoured by Zach Snyder are also exploited to capture Diana's perception of fired bullets as moving through the air at a snail's pace. The film just can't quite overcome the dullness of the requisite CGI-enhanced final showdown, mainly because Ares (David Thewlis) is no more interesting a villain than Ultron or Ronan.

But these films live or die on the casting of their heroic leads. Gadot is a compelling presence, which was first evident when she was the one bright spot in the abysmal Snyder showcase that was Batman V Superman. Her bemusement at the great metropolis that is jolly old London made the small moments of pleasure she found all the more endearing. Chris Pine, playing Steve Trevor, proves to be an excellent second banana. A suitably cynical foil to Diana's moral absolutism. His attempted seduction of Doctor Poison (Elena Anaya) while speaking with a German accent is an amusing highlight, and convinced me that Pine should play the honey trap more often. It takes a while before Diana reaches the front line and joins the fray. But the moment she throws aside her disguise and crosses No Man's Land under a hale of machine gun fire might be the best coming out party for a cinematic superhero in the present era (and definitely in all of the DC Cinematic Universe).

Though Hera help me, I'm still not pleased with the decision to utilise elements from the controversial New 52 reboot for Diana's origin story. The choices made have the cumulative effect of closing off her connection to the larger world of Greek mythology (and dilute the attendant feminist overtones found in the comics) which I wished remained open for future instalments. I hope the gods aren't as extinct as Diana was led to believe. And the Amazons were so badass I wouldn't mind seeing them make a return appearance. And bring back the invisible jet!

After a series of misfires, DC's cinematic universe finally has a hero worthy of their efforts. Maybe they'll even learn to build on her success and make her the heart of future instalments.

Germain Lussier has a rundown of directors who made their debut with a smaller independent film, then were signed on to direct an expensive studio blockbuster. Patty Jenkins makes the list as one of the few, and now the most successful, women offered the opportunity.

Vincent Schilling lavishes praise on Eugene Brave Rock's portrayal of supporting character Chief. In their first meeting spoken entirely in Blackfoot, he introduces himself to Diana as the trickster Napi. That would explain his easy acceptance of her as an immortal being.

Nate Jones compares the film's fictional and real German general Erich Ludendorff.

Charlie Jane Anders speaks up for Wonder Woman as hero and role model.

James Whitbrook gives his recommendations for Wonder Woman comics.

Keith DeCandido speaks in favour for Wonder Woman's last great onscreen incarnation played by Lynda Carter, and critiques the mediocre animated feature from 2009.

Hunter Harris on the David E. Kelley Wonder Woman pilot that never aired.

Willa Paskin muses on how to better review superhero movies. Needless to say, this is already a controversial point in comics.

Emily Asher-Perrin examines the evolution of Robin Wright as a heroine by comparing her role of Princess Buttercup from The Princess Bride, and General Antiope from Wonder Woman.

Gal Gadot on auditioning for the role.

Angelica Jade BastiƩn on Wonder Woman's convoluted history and the tendency (especially by DC) to underestimate the character's enormous appeal.

Wonder Woman (2017) Director: Patty Jenkins, Stars: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright. Wonder Woman created by William Moulton Marston, H. G. Peter, Elizabeth Holloway Marston, Olive Byrne.
Image via Hollywood Reporter

Maggie Umber on the break up of her marriage with Raighne Hogan due to the financial stress caused by both partners running the publishing house 2dcloud.

Asher Elbein analyses the causes for Marvel's weak print sales. The Direct Market has generally done a poor job cultivating new readers. But Marvel deserves special recognition for going out of its way to alienate them:
The past decade has been a parade of singularly embarrassing behavior by Marvel writers and editors in public. The former editor Stephen Wacker has a reputation for picking fights with fans; so does the Spider-Man writer Dan Slott. The writer Peter David went on a bizarre anti-Romani rant at convention (he later apologized); the writer Mark Waid recently mused about punching a critic in the face before abandoning Twitter. The writer of Secret Empire, Nick Spencer, has managed to become a swirl of social media sturm all by himself, partially for his fascist Captain America storyline and partially for his tone-deaf handling of race and general unwillingness to deal with criticism.
And the publisher's lack of faith in its new titles is now well known:
Marvel’s marketing and PR must bear a hefty share of the blame as well. The company habitually places the onus for minority books’ survival on the readership, instead of promoting their product effectively. Tom Brevoort, the executive editor at Marvel, publicly urged readers to buy issues of the novelist Chelsea Cain’s canceled (and very witty) Mockingbird after the author was subjected to coordinated sexist harassment. 
The problem, however, is that the decision to cancel Mockingbird was necessarily made months in advance, due to preorder sales to retailers on the direct market. The book itself launched with only a few announcements on comics fan sites; no real attempt to reach out to a new audience was made. Marvel’s unexpected success stories, like Kelly Sue DeConnick’s Captain Marvel, are largely built on the tireless efforts of the creators themselves. (In Deconnick’s case, she paid for postcards, dog tags, and fliers for fan engagement out of her own pocket, for a character she didn’t own or have a real expectation of royalties from.)
Ben Judkins recommends his top five comics/animated works for the martial artist. I myself have reviewed Boxers & Saints and commented frequently on the Avatar the Last Airbender franchise.