Sunday, July 17, 2016

She's Not Your Father's Wonder Woman


 Is there a "glass ceiling" above which female superheroes can not pass?   I think there is, and it's about time to smash through this ridiculous stereotype. 
    What I mean is there is a rule that females are not allowed to exceed the accomplishments of males.  This dates back to, for instance, the Bionic Woman, had almost exactly the same strength and ability as the 6 Million Dollar Man (2 bionic legs an one bionic arm, though Jamie Sommers had a bionic ear instead of a bionic eye like Colonel Steve Austin.
    In the comics and tv shows, Wonder Woman was never allowed to exceed the capabilities of Superman.   The same hold true for her most recent incarnation, brought to life (sort of) by the gorgeous Gal Gadot, who at least looks the pat.  
      
     With her sword, which she swings like a tennis racket, complete with a Serena-Williams'-style yell, she is almost as tough as middled aged, cranky Superman.  But far from being a woman's liberation icon, she merely extended stereotypes.   We're supposed to think, "Wow, she can play with the big boys" because she can whack Kryptonian monsters with her sword.  But she doesn't actually slice anyone to pieces with her sword, and really uses it like Superman uses his fists.    

Like the dull Oldsmobile campaigns that led to the demise of that fine automobile, the best you can say about Wonder Woman as we most recently met her in Batman vs Superman was that she was not nearly as boring as Superman. 

    Now, they've at least given her a more colorful costume.  That's a start.  


From Entertainment Weekly comes this preview of Wonder Woman with a new colorful (sort of) costume.  

    But think it would be way cooler to make Wonder Woman vastly more powerful than Superman, rather than "almost even" with Superman.  Let her punch like three times as hard as Superman, and make it obvious that Superman can not
    The business about the sword is stupid.  If you don't want her to slice up bad guys a la Wolverine, then she shouldn't be using the sword as a punching device. She doesn't have a sword in the comics anyway.  So either make her a vicious human meatcleaver, or else let her be the demigoddess power puncher.  She can be like Ivan Drago in the Rocky movies, the toughest power puncher in the DC universe.   
    Part of the allure of Wonder Woman is that she threatens male insecurity, and in particular Captain Steve Trevor. Hence, even Superheroes like Superman and Batman should literally be knocked on their butts by a Demigoddess.  
   Plus I think the magic lasso (which compels prisoners to confess the truth) could be a hoot.  Maybe she can catch a bad guy and ask him embarrassing questions, and the bad guy make have to make embarrassing revelations about why he acts so bad.  Or, maybe even get Clark Kent in the lasso and find out that he likes Wonder Woman more than Lois Lane.
    But no, up to this point, the whole thing has been about protecting the egos of Batman and Superman, while acknowledging that Wonder Woman is a useful ally, as long as she doesn't attempt to go beyond the "glass ceiling."
     We shall see what happens in the next movie.  I'm not optimistic, given the dismal record of DC movies.  But I think the last movie shook them up as they basically ruined a sure-fire way to print money.  Maybe they will be motivated to try a few new things this time.  We shall see, by Aphrodite.  






  


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