Personally, I’m not a big fan of the current trend that sees directors of big movies having to defend their films months before they ever get near a cinema screen. This atmosphere of negativity – an expectation of failure – seems to lay the groundwork for audience conflict far ahead of movie release dates. Many will argue that this has been exacerbated by the work of filmmakers, such as Zack Snyder, or by studios, such as Warner Bros. – releasing giant comic book movies with interpretations of beloved characters that have not been embraced by all. Wherever it comes from, the latest to step onto this PR minefield is Wonder Woman.
Those behind the upcoming film have been speaking to Variety in a clear bid to launch an early charm offensive – and they are determined to get the word out that Wonder Woman is its own project, as President of DC Entertainment Diane Nelson explained.
“There’s a misconception that DC or [parent studio] Warner Bros has made a conscious decision for all our movies to be darker or edgier. That’s not the case. Fans of the DC universe know that there are characters, like Batman, who are darker, but there are others – like Wonder Woman – who are hopeful, optimistic leaders, and the tone of this film represents that. [Director] Patty brought a beauty and a sense of lightness or humor, and a little romance to it. It’s a very aspirational movie.”
As the Wonder Woman team emphasizes the tone of the movie, the focus does inevitably fall on the choice of director. While the main complaint about the three DC Extended Universe films so far released (Man Of Steel, Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice, and Suicide Squad) has been the overwhelming darkness of the stories, it is important to note that we have only seen the work of two directors – Zack Snyder and David Ayer. For this reason, producer Deborah Snyder is keen to highlight the fact that more directors will bring more perspectives.
“Wonder Woman is very different in tone and style than Batman V Superman and Suicide Squad. We pick directors who have their own points of view, so that each of our films will have their own personality.”
On the subject of her point of view, director Patty Jenkins explained that she drew more inspiration from the tone of Richard Donner’s 1978 Superman movie, than any other film.
“Superman was all about you. It was about you watching and realizing what it would feel like to have great powers and do great things. It was full of love and emotion.”
It is that emotional connection with the audience that Deborah Snyder is expecting to see with Wonder Woman – not least because of the nature of the character, and the determination of the film to accurately portray her feminist origins and mission for equality.
“It would be a mistake not to honour that legacy. That’s a part of her history. Her mission to empower women and people all over the world is what makes her very relatable.”
I’d like to think that audiences will give the Wonder Woman film a chance, whether the team behind it reassure us of its hopeful tone or not – but perhaps that’s too optimistic on my part. Regardless – with misogyny, sexism, war and conflict at the forefront of every news cycle at the moment – we need Wonder Woman now, more than ever. Thankfully, she finally arrives on the big screen on June 2nd, 2017.