Sunday, October 5, 2014
Wonder Woman isn't going to get a movie, I guess. Warner Bros. has said that Israeli supermodel Gal Gadot (a non-actress) will play Wonder Woman in the upcoming Superman/Batman team-up movie.
Now, the thing about Wonder Woman -- like Captain America -- is that she's really a product of World War II. Why the Amazonians would send Princess Diana into our modern world is kind of beyond me (especially if Superman et al. already exist here). Therefore, it seems likely that any Wonder Woman film should be set in the 1940s. At least, at first.
Second, the choice of a villain or villains is really critical. The villain should be someone who can interact with Wonder Woman, someone who can have great lines, and someone who should be able to advance the story line.
Myself, I'd choose a storyline in which the great 1940s villainness Baroness Paula von Gunther returns. This allows the Amazonians to send Princess Diana into "man's world" at the correct time (1942), and provides the viewer with a great villain you love to hate -- and who can deliver some really catty, juicy lines.
Von Gunther should be teamed up with another great Wonder Woman villain, The Cheetah. Now, in the comics, Cheetah (originally) was nothing more than a karate-skilled normal female with razor-sharp fingernails. She's later rebooted, given super powers by some plant-god.
I know: PLANT-god? Bleah!
Instead, I'd have von Gunther secretly working with another great Wonder Woman villain: Circe. It'd be the demi-god/sorceress Circe who'd be the person to have given Cheetah her powers. (After all, the legend of Circe is that she controlled animals.) It'd be Circe who prompts the Amazonians to send Diana into "man's world" (as no man can resist Circe's hypnotic powers). While Circe has tried to turn men into animals that can be sent into combat, they always turn out mindless. But when Circe tried her tricks on a woman, she ended up smart, evil, and super-powered.
At the end of the film, I'd allow von Gunther and Cheetah to be killed. But Wonder Woman would be locked in a titanic battle with Circe, who finally turns to magic as a means of destroying Diana.
But I would have both of them frozen in ice or time or something.... by the War-God, Ares. Ares is truly the greatest of all of Wonder Woman's opponents. Ares wanted Circe stopped, because she was driving von Gunther to get the atom bomb. Ares, addicted to war, wanted humanity to wipe out one another in combat -- not in a flash of radioactive particles. Ares has correctly predicted four years of unrelenting combat, a Cold War, and hot-spots around the globe (Korea, Vietnam, etc.). Circe's attempt to give von Gunther the bomb, and establish a matriarchal fascist society dominated by women, interfered with his grander plan.
Unaffected by this would be "damsel in distress" Steve Trevor and comic-relief ally Etta Candy. It'd be Trevor and Candy's job to find a way to undo whatever enchantment or prison that Ares has locked Wonder Woman into.
This allows Steve Trevor (pretty much a boring character) to age into irrelevancy by the second film, although he frees her.
Initially, Wonder Woman's bracelets, ability fly, and so on were unexplained. But when DC Comics "soft booted" all their comic lines in 2011-2012, Wonder Woman's powers were given far more specific form.
For example: Demeter, the goddess of agriculture, gave her the power of the earth (making her super-strong), and the ability to swiftly heal so long as she is in contact with soil. Athena, the goddess of wisdom and war, gave her super-intelligence, scientific skill, and combat skill. Artemis, goddess of the hunt, gave her super-sight and super-hearing. Hestia, goddess of hearth and home, gave her the ability to withstand fire. The "Fires of Truth" are wielded through Wonder Woman's lasso. Hermes, god of speed, gave her superhuman speed and the ability to fly. Aphrodite, goddess of love, gave her mercy. Due to her divine origins, Wonder Woman can resist magical mental and physical manipulation.
Wonder Woman's costume was also explained. Her costume is not red-white-and blue but a red top with stylized golden eagle (symbolic of justice and honor), a golden belt (or girdle, symbolic of her defense of hearth and home), and merely blue shorts. She's more recently been depicted as wearing long blue sleeves and blue pants as well to de-sexualize the character. Her bracelets were formed from the remnants of Athena's shield, the Aegis, and not only can deflect bullets and energy but also rechannel (to some degree) energy outward again. Her lasso was forged by the god Hephaestus from the golden girdle of the earth-goddess Gaea. (Myself, I'd refashion this into a whip, not a lasso.) The original of her tiara remains unexplained, although it has been used as a razor-edged throwing weapon.
I'd incorporate the lasso as a whip into the film, allowing Wonder Woman to use it as a weapon (it should be hot, like fire), and to use it for various stunts and cool moves. Her tiara should not return to her (this isn't Captain Boomerang or Xena, Warrior Princess), but it would be used as a cool, last-minute offensive weapon that might prove quite deadly.
I think this would have the ability to be a great motion picture.
Circe. Defining Circe's powers would be critical in any Wonder Woman movie. Mythologically, Circe had the power to control men's minds, and make them her weak-willed slaves. They weren't any good in combat, but they were good as sex-toys, at doing manual labor, and at doing tasks that didn't require quick thinking. They lost a lot of their creativity and ability to lie well under her control, too.
Circe also had the power to turn human beings into animals. She used this almost exclusively on men, and seemed very unwilling to use it on women (although she could).
Circe was also a sorceress of some (but not unlimited or great) power. Her magic was most effective in the forms of potions, poisons, and powders.
The Wonder Woman comics also show Circe using energy blasts from her hands, and other fantastical powers.
I think any movie should limit Circe to traditional powers. The real battle should be Wonder Woman's attempt to uncover whatever power von Gunther seems to have over the leaders of Nazi Germany, and then her battles with Cheetah and von Gunther's men. Circe can have prepared a series of one-shot magical traps or tricks... But these are one-shot, prepared by her far in advance and taking days to prepare each one.
The way to defeat Circe would be a poisoned spear. Greek myth says that she gave this spear to her son Telegonus. (He used it to kill his father Odysseus, who resisted Circe's magic.) But in killing Circe, perhaps Wonder Woman falls prey to Circe's final trick (a powder that freezes her). That would allow Ares to merely put the frozen Amazonian Princess in storage somewhere, until Steve Trevor finds a way to undo the spell...
Oh, I should just get an agent and sell my screenplay. LOL!