Will it look like this?
Stuntman turned action director Jesse Johnson has put together a self-financed—well, they’re calling it a “fan film” but I think the more accurate description is sizzle reel—video of what he thinks a Wonder Woman movie should look like. He cast Danish singer Nina Bergman to play Wonder Woman and blink-or-you’ll-miss-him Peter Stormare as a Nazi (also that dude from Sons of Anarchy), and the result is proof of both what works about Wonder Woman and what doesn’t.
Johnson does manage to make Wonder Woman look cool. There are some decent action beats, mixed in with obligatory butt-shots that I blame on Zack Snyder (I know other filmmakers did it first but I associate low-angle shots that linger on scantily-clad female asses with the Zack Snyder School of Overblown Filmmaking because he does it more than anyone), and Johnson handles the camera well. The video actually works better as an advertisement for him as a director than it does for a Wonder Woman movie.
Because no matter how cool you make her look punching someone in the face, Wonder Woman always ends up looking dumb. It’s the same old question—is Wonder Woman too inherently sexist for a modern update? You could make a case that all female superheroes are sexist, but at this point, we’ve seen dozens translated to movies and TV that have survived the book-to-screen translation and, often, end up being empowering figures. Yet Wonder Woman resists this treatment. Joss Whedon couldn’t get his Wonder Woman movie off the ground (and boy, is Warner Brothers/DC Comics eating sh*t hard on that one), then a couple years ago ABC canned their Wonder Woman pilot starring Adrianne Palicki, and the proposed Justice League movie has its fair share of struggles but one of the big ones is what to do with Wonder Woman. For some reason, Wonder Woman just doesn’t want to join the twenty-first century.
But they won’t stop trying. And maybe they shouldn’t, because I had serious doubts about Superman, but I saw Man of Steel last week and, um, it didn’t suck. If they can make boring-ass Clark Kent work, and they do, they should be able crack the code on Wonder Woman, too. A good place to start? Maybe focus less on the T&A and more on getting a woman who can sell the strength and ass-kickery, choosing empowerment over sex appeal. My suggestion? Gina Carano.
Attached -- Carano and Henry Cavill at the Vanity Fair Oscar party last week.