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What Wonder Woman Offers the DCEU

Written by Laura Sheehan

The movie might be called Batman v Superman, but this may be a bigger movie for Wonder Woman. Wonder Woman, making her first live-action appearance since the 70’s, is going to change the landscape of DC movies. As one of DC’s main three, her presence is what makes this movie the origin story to the Justice League and DC’s attempt at a Cinematic Universe. Sure, Aquaman is in there too. Seeing how he has been in none of the promotional material, however, it’s clear that Wonder Woman is the draw. Still, everyone is wondering how she can possibly fit in this universe and this movie. Does an Amazonian goddess with a Lasso of Truth and invisible jet fit in a movie franchise built on dark realism? Is she going to hold her own against Batman and Superman? The short answer: yes. The long answer: not only does Wonder Woman belong in this franchise, but she brings necessary change to the franchise.

I suppose a lasso and invisible jet, as well as her trademark phrases referencing different goddesses, may sound ridiculous and contrary to the tone of Man of Steel and The Dark Knight Trilogy. On the other hand, Superman was not always so grim. While many fans rejected his characterization in the 2013 movie, it’s hard to argue that the changes made him completely unrecognizable. Zach Snyder managed to touch on all of the classic elements of Superman and his origin in spite of how dour the movie was. Wonder Woman’s costume has been updated to Snyder’s favorite color palatte, and she has been given a sword and shield to mark her status as a Greek warrior. She retains her iconic appearance, but clearly matches the overall look of the films.

Furthermore, Wonder Woman strikes a balance between Batman and Superman. Unlike Batman, but like the film version of Superman, she is willing to kill her enemies. Wonder Woman may be the champion of love over physical strength, but she is not completely against deadly force. Also unlike Batman, she actually has the strength to fight Superman and win. Even with the new suit, Batman needs Kryptonite for it to be anything close to an equal fight. Meanwhile, Wonder Woman once slit Superman’s throat to stop him from killing Batman. As a goddess, she has the super strength and durability to match Superman. It looks like we have the character who can break up the fight and get them to concentrate on Doomsday.

More importantly, however, is how Wonder Woman might change the franchise. For decades now, live action DC films have been focused on one hero, (usually either Superman or Batman) working alone, and without regard to the wealth of story potential that other characters offer. This can be tedious. With a lone hero, there is no one on their level to challenge their actions or commiserate. In a team, as we have seen with The Avengers, working together exposes the strengths and weaknesses of each hero. While it’s obvious from the trailers what the main conflict between Batman and Superman will be, Wonder Woman can challenge and support both of them. She will be the character that turns the duel into cooperation and the opposing forces into a team. From here, we can hope for far more stories than rehashing the origins and major villains of Batman and Superman. The DCU can have a continuity to build on.

As an Amazonian goddess, Wonder Woman offers the potential for a new tone for the franchise. Even serious fans are growing tired of the same grimness and pessimism. What’s more, DC can’t compete with Marvel if they can only make one kind of movie. In the past, their more lighthearted films have ranged from forgettable to disastrous. Marvel, on the other hand, offers comedy, personal struggle, serious political conflict, mythology, and historical drama. Wonder Woman’s origin can diversify DC’s resume. She can bring mythology, wonder, and even optimism to their movies. Her own power is the culmination of gifts from the pantheon of Greek goddesses. Her stories can bring a new level of world building to the DCU. Instead of superheroes being a recent and almost isolated phenomenon, powers and superhuman abilities were already a part of the universe.

The most important and talked about contribution, however, is Wonder Woman’s presence as a female superhero. While she’s not the first female superhero to appear in movies, she changes the demographics of DC movies. Other than the catastrophic failures of Supergirl and Catwoman, their movies have been overwhelmingly male. Obviously, this changes that. Come next year, she will star in the first female led superhero movie of this Golden Age of superhero movies. Even more than that, Wonder Woman has always been a champion of women and a feminist icon. As a member of the Amazons, she comes from a female led community, and brings this concept with her when she arrives in America. This will shift the balance from male led films to include women working together and fighting for justice the same way Batman and Superman do.

Wonder Woman is the answer to many of the criticisms facing the DCEU. Her role in Batman v Superman may change the course of DC movies even more than the fight between the two title characters. She also belongs in this universe, however much it lacks in color or optimism. Wonder Woman is both the hero we need, and the hero we deserve.

Do you think Wonder Woman fits in Batman v Superman, or was including her a mistake? Sound off in the comments or let us know on Twitter!

About the author

Laura Sheehan