Welcome to this week’s adventures climbing the cliffs of insanity. There was more than the usual doings these past two weeks as I went from the East Coast to the West Coast to attend GeekGirlCon. I have stories from that but also thoughts on the big announcement yesterday from Warner Bros. which detailed a whole slate of superhero movies, including the long-awaited Wonder Woman movie in 2017.
About freakin’ time.
Meanwhile, on television, superhero comic geeks can choose among Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Gotham, Arrow, The Flash, and the upcoming Constantine. Which ones will I continue watching? Only the first two right now, as I’m having some plot issues and problems with female characters in the other two. (You can find my recaps of each of the Gotham episodes at CriminalElement.com) Right now, S.H.I.E.L.D. is the only one hitting on all cylinders. Too bad it took them a year to get there.
On the big screen, I fear that the creative team in charge of Warner Bros. isn’t quite sure how to make a proper Wonder Woman movie, given they managed already to make a movie about Superman (Man of Steel) that was not inspiring. The tagline for that movie seemed to be not “you will believe a man can fly,” but “you will not believe how much screaming is in this movie.”
Do Not Disappoint These Girls, Warner Bros.
At GeekGirlCon we had some just released DC heroes board books for giveaway at our table: Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. Saturday afternoon, this one little girl saw the Wonder Woman book. Her eyes went wide and she asked if she could look at it. I handed it to her and she promptly sat down next to the table and began reading.
Her friend came up a few minutes later and asked if there were any more Wonder Woman books. Luckily, there was one under the stack of Batman books. I handed it to her and she literally hugged the book and sat back down next to her friend and began reading.
I’m guessing both girls were about four.
They didn’t care that Wonder Woman is “tricky” or maybe doesn’t appeal to boys. They know exactly what Wonder Woman is. She’s a superhero and she helps people and she’s as strong and smart and compassionate as anyone. They love her. They wanted to hug her.
I don’t know what demographic studies are going into the making of the Wonder Woman movie or what numbers are being crunched to figure out what the audience for this movie will be. I don’t know if Warner Bros. is trying to make sure that the Wonder Woman movie appeals to men, too. But I suspect that’s the case, given that they’re going with the “Wonder Woman, daughter of Zeus,” origin, an origin that was recently added to make her more “relatable.”
I don’t care.
I care that these girls and others just like them, and older girls, and women like myself, love and adore Wonder Woman. This is your audience, Warner Bros. If you do this movie right, Wonder Woman will be a cultural phenomenon to equal or exceed the likes of Frozen.
If you do it wrong, if you try to parse the character so she’s just Princess McStabby Sword, as seems to be the current trend in her comic version, the movie will sink like a stone, giving studios the message of “well, female-led movies don’t sell.”
Yes, they do, when they’re made without worrying about whether the men will be scared off. See Frozen, see Hunger Games, see Brave, see Divergent, see a whole list of awesome movies going back to Linda Hamilton in The Terminator.
This movie could be a monster hit.
But only if it’s done right.
Speaking of being done right, it appears to be tough to do a comic-based series completely right lately.
Gotham: Confused and The Flash: Creepy
My short capsule reviews:
Gotham is all over the place tonally, has trouble cutting back and forth between too many characters, hasn’t given Jim Gordon enough motivation to risk his life over and over, and has yet to show any real detective work. However, Oswald Cobblepot is a stand-out and focusing on his rise in the city is an excellent idea. The show is also beautifully shot, well-cast, and the creators obviously cared about showing us a diverse city of inhabitants. I’m sticking with it.
The Flash is a show that does so many things right and yet the one thing it does wrong, it does so wrong. Jesse L. Martin is perfect as Barry’s foster dad, Barry’s need to help others is great, the overall cast is promising, and there’s a good pseudo-scientific explanation for the superpowers. It’s appealing.
Except for the women.
Iris Allen fails (wins?) the sexy lamp test, especially in the pilot, where her only function is to be window dressing so the men watching can feel bad for our hero. She’s hardly better in the second episode, where she claims science is dull, journalism is boring, and makes out with her pretty boyfriend in front of Barry. Then there’s the creep factor, because Iris and Barry grew up together. The pilot even has Iris say “I view you like my brother.” But Barry doesn’t consider this creepy because he uses his superspeed in episode two to circle Iris and study her.
Doesn’t anyone on the writing staff realize how profoundly creepy this is?
C’mon. I know this creative team can do better.
Book of the Week: The Cold Dish by Craig Johnson
This is the first book in the Longmire series, on which the television show is based. I expected a good mystery. What I received was an exceptional story in every way: in voice, in plot, in character, and themes.
This is the kind of book I read as a writer and think “I’ll never do anything this good, ever,” the kind of book that you want to shove into the hands of friends and say “read this right now.”
If you enjoyed the show, pick up the books. If you enjoy mysteries and haven’t seen the show, pick up the book.
If you love good stories, pick up this book.