'Batman Vs. Superman's Wonder Woman Will Be Empowering, According to Snyder, But What Does that Mean?
Wonder Woman is probably the biggest question mark in the superhero universe right now. With Gal Gadot's casting as the Amazonian lady with the lasso in the Man Of Steel sequel colloquially being called Batman Vs. Superman, that question mark's now in the midst of a race towards resolution. Which is why Man Of Steel director Zack Snyder's assurance that Wonder Woman will be "empowering" is all the more encouraging — because, after all, that's a whole lot of what Wonder Woman was designed to be.
Though Wonder Woman was beaten into existence by a couple of other female superheroes — such as Black Widow, who's already been brought to the big screen via Scarlett Johansson's work with Marvel — she certainly exists amongst the most top-tier, seminal superheroes of all time. Hell, she's beat most of her male counterparts in the process.
Snyder — who is most definitely currently at the center of a watchful eye now that it's super-double-official that he's taking on the character — said during an appearance recently that part of what makes him so devoted to Wonder Woman and what she means is his young daughter:
[Her] favorite book is this little Wonder Woman flip book. It has the lasso, the invisible plane, the bracelets – every page has an image she’s just in awe with. And something that’s become a reality, being a dad with a new daughter, is that I have a special place in my heart for the idea of a strong, empowered female superhero being out there.
Damn straight. We've already discussed previously the ways in which Wonder Woman's iconicity has in some ways terrified studios enough to the stalling of her story hitting the big screen. That same icon status, though — and the power that comes with it — seems to be what's propelling Snyder forward.
It's a sentiment that sounds familiar: When psychologist and writer William Moulton Marston pitched Wonder Woman he pitched her as an amalgamation, "all the strength of a Superman plus all the allure of a good and beautiful woman."
You could write a doctoral thesis on that phrase alone, but there's no denying it was a compelling idea: A superhero woman who is not just a genderbent version of her male counterparts, but who owns womanhood and kindness (and those don't have to be the same thing) as an integral part of her identity? That's a powerful thing. This article exploring the creation and creator of Wonder Woman delves into more of Marston's thinking:
Marston was intent on more than merely fulfilling the fantasies of his male readers. In a letter to comics historian Coulton Waugh, he wrote, "Frankly, Wonder Woman is psychological propaganda for the new type of woman who should, I believe, rule the world." Marston believed that submission to "loving authority" was the key to overcoming mankind's violent urges, and that strong, self-realized women were the hope for a better future. Wonder Woman was very consciously Marston's means of spreading these notions to impressionable young minds.
Once again, this in and of itself could trigger a doctoral thesis. But let's take a moment to put aside centuries of gender discussion and debate over what it should mean to be a woman — there'll be plenty of time for that for the rest of eternity — and focus on that core ideal which Wonder Woman was founded on. Speaking to that notion, here's what Lynda Carter — AKA the most iconic face of live-action Wonder Woman to date — had to say on the matter in a recent interview with Metro UK:
There’s an identification factor. She’s not your average superhero. It’s not so much about her super powers as it is about her ethic. I always thought of her as a figure who stands for what’s right. We all know what’s wrong with the world today, so maybe we need her right now.
Although we have as of yet heard very, very little about what parts of Wonder Woman Superman Vs. Batman will delve into, the idea of appealing to impressionable young minds? Ones who, female and male, need a female superhero to look to? That sounds like what Snyder's pitching.
Snyder may be far from perfect when it comes to the portrayal of women onscreen — far from perfect. But he seems to be agreeing with two of the world's biggest authorities on Wonder Woman on what makes that character important, so call us cautiously optimistic.