Tag Archives: Amazons

My Wish list For “Wonder Woman 2”

I know it’s been a while since I talked about Wonder Woman. In my defense, there have been a lot of distractions between the holidays, the response to the “Justice League” movie, and recent news stories to which I just couldn’t resist responding. Make no mistake, though. I haven’t forgotten about Wonder Woman or the fact that she had a breakout year in 2017.

In many respects, Wonder Woman was one of the best parts of 2017. She didn’t just amaze audiences by proving that there is a market for female superheroes, even after “Catwoman.” She raised the bar for the entire genre, both in terms of critical and commercial success. That bodes well for other female-led superhero movies.

While other female superheroes play catch-up, though, Wonder Woman is set to continue rising the bar. She’s Wonder Woman. That’s what she does through Gal Gadot’s charisma and she does it with uncanny grace. Shortly after her movie came out, a sequel was announced to the surprise of no one. At the moment, “Wonder Woman 2” is slated for release on November 1, 2019.

While that date seems so far away, some details are already starting to trickle in. Director, Patty Jenkins, has already started teasing details. At the recent Palm Springs Film Festival, she indicated that the sequel would be a very different film compared to its predecessor. Naturally, she didn’t give too many details, but it’s enough to get Wonder Woman fans excited.

Since I consider myself among those fans, I already find myself contemplating what a “Wonder Woman” sequel will entail. It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve contemplated such things, either. While it’s too early to know or even speculate what “Wonder Woman 2” will bring, we can still hope and imagine the wondrous possibilities.

In that spirit, here is a brief, but basic wish list for what I hope to see in “Wonder Woman 2.” Granted, if Ms. Jenkins is serious about this being a very different movie, chances are not much on this list will apply. I understand and accept that. This is just the giddy Wonder Woman fan in me daring to imagine how wonderful this movie can be.


Wish #1: Establish More Villains (And Make It Personal)

If Wonder Woman has any flaws, beyond those that assholes and trolls point out, it’s that her list of villains isn’t quite as iconic as that of Batman or Superman. For much of her history, Wonder Woman’s greatest battles have been tied to those of the Justice League or those of her fellow Amazons. She’ll be a major force in those battles, but they rarely have major personal stakes.

Wonder Woman 2” presents a golden opportunity to change that because there are a few villains with strong personal ties to Diana. While Ares was more built up boss battle in the first movie, villains like Cheetah can test Diana’s heart, as well as her skill.

The recent Wonder Woman comics have done an excellent job establishing the deep personal struggle between Wonder Woman and Cheetah. While there are multiple women who have gone by Cheetah, the overall theme is the same. She is Diana’s rival, but there was a time when she was also her friend.

Having to fight her friends is an agonizing challenge for Wonder Woman, which we saw play out in the “Justice League” movie. It brings out her heart and her passions for all the right reasons. A more personal villain can only help expand that appeal in “Wonder Woman 2.”


Wish #2: Maintain A (Very) Distant Connection From The Other DCEU Films

While I stand by my statement that “Justice League” did not deserve the negative reviews it got, I don’t deny that the “Justice League” movie has become somewhat of a toxic brand. It’s not quite on the same levels as “Batman and Robin,” but at this point there’s just no way to salvage the backlash.

It’s for that reason, among many others, that I hope “Wonder Woman 2” maintains an extremely distant connection from the larger DC Extended Universe. I’m not saying it should cut itself off entirely. Even the first movie made it a point to establish that this movie was part of a larger world. The sequel should reflect that.

However, the events of “Justice League,” however big they might have been, shouldn’t be a major driving force in the narrative. Whether it takes place in the modern day or in the past, like the first movie, it can’t be too beholden to the events of other major DC movies.

A big part of the success of “Wonder Woman” was its ability to stand on it its own, apart from the rest of DC’s main superheroes. “Wonder Woman 2” should build on that and I imagine Patty Jenkins isn’t going to want to be too constrained by the burdens of other movies. For Wonder Woman, despite her kinky past, there can be no such restraints.


Wish #3: Build On The Amazons’ Mythology (And Diana’s Family Ties)

There were a lot of positives in “Wonder Woman” and I went out of my way to acknowledge them in my review of the movie. However, if there was one flaw in the overall narrative, it had to do with the limited exposure of the Amazons. That’s because in nearly every medium, Wonder Woman’s story is inherently enriched by her Amazon heritage.

The first movie did enough to establish who the Amazons were, why they are so important, and how important they are to Wonder Woman. Unfortunately, it didn’t do much more than that. After Diana left Paradise Island, we didn’t hear from them again. That’s why I hope “Wonder Woman 2” takes the time to expand on the story of the Amazons.

They already showed how badass they can be in “Justice League.” I sincerely hope they get more opportunities in “Wonder Woman 2.” Between Diana’s mother and her more notable siblings, there’s a wealth of material for Wonder Woman to build on. It further raises those personal stakes I mentioned earlier, which can only help expand the appeal of Wonder Woman’s world.


Wish #4: Let Wonder Woman Address Social Issues (In Her Own Unique Way)

Given Wonder Woman’s iconic status as a female icon, it’s unavoidable that she’s going to provoke discussions about social issues. These days, that leads to many heated, hateful, and downright counterproductive conversations. However, that’s exactly why I still want Wonder Woman to address those issues in “Wonder Woman 2.”

Gal Gadot has already shown that she gets the unique spirit of love and compassion that Wonder Woman espouses. Sure, she is prone to making a few controversial remarks, but overall she gets what Wonder Woman is about. She even showed this in the first movie, having Diana navigate the very patriarchal world of the early 20th century, but without using that as an excuse to hate it.

Like it or not, there are a lot of social issues going on in the world. For the most part, we do a poor job debating those issues, as a society. Wonder Woman, with her emphasis on compassion and love for all, is the perfect antidote to that.

I don’t know how she’d go about it in “Wonder Woman 2.” A lot of that depends on the setting, the time period, and the conflicts involved. Whatever form it takes, though, I think it’ll be good for the audience and for the superhero genre to see Wonder Woman confront these social issues as only she can.


Wish #5: Expand The Emotional Stakes (And Let Gal Gadot Channel Her Passions)

This is more of a broader hope for “Wonder Woman 2.” While there are quite a few specific things I’d love to see in this movie, I think it’s more important that it embody the necessary theme that makes Wonder Woman so endearing. Like with some of my other wishes, those themes revolve heavily around the emotional stakes of Wonder Woman’s journey.

We didn’t see too much of that in “Justice League,” but we saw plenty of that in the first movie. Every battle she fought was an emotional struggle. That struggle gave Gal Gadot the opportunity to emote in a way that would make any Amazon warrior proud. Wonder Woman has never just been about fighting injustice or kicking ass. That is always secondary to her heart.

Some of the best moments in “Wonder Woman” just involved her taking a moment to smile, explore, and share herself with others. Whether it was making Steve Trevor feel awkward or making friends with Etta Candy, we got to see Wonder Woman share her passions with others outside the battlefield. That helped make her endearing on so many levels.

Wonder Woman is already a very likable, very passionate character. She’s the kind of person that men and women, alike, can rally behind. Any successful sequel will take those themes and run with them. There’s so much to love about Wonder Woman and how Gal Gadot brought her to life. If “Wonder Woman 2” can build on those themes, then it already has the most important ingredient for more wonderful success.

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Filed under Comic Books, Jack Fisher, Superheroes, Wonder Woman

When A Controversy (That Involves Scantily Clad Women) Should NOT Be A Controversy

We live in a controversial time within a controversial place surrounded by all sorts of high-tech tools that allow us to spread controversy in every direction. It may very well be the first time in human history where controversy of any kind has a chance to spread discord among large swaths of people with too much free time and a cell phone.

That can be a good and a bad thing in that it makes us more aware of the world outside our immediate surroundings. However, when it’s a bad thing, it’s bad for frustratingly insipid reasons. Lately, whenever those reasons involve beautiful women, the people who admire them, and sexism, it becomes even more frustrating.

Like many other self-professed comic book fans, I’ve been eagerly following the news surrounding “Justice League.” After the success of “Wonder Woman,” this movie marks a huge step in the development of DC’s evolving cinematic universe, which Warner Brothers is hoping will compete directly with the cinematic juggernaut known as the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

That kind of competition is bound to attract some controversy, if only from angry fans trash-talking each other about whether Wonder Woman could beat up Thor. Sometimes, that controversy is healthy. This is not one of those times.

Just days before the movie came out, this little incident sparked the wrong kind of controversy for all the wrong reasons. Unfortunately, it involves beautiful women in sexy attire. It’s something that should be innately fun, enjoyable, and positive for everyone who isn’t a celibate monk seeking to avoid temptation. Instead, it sparks Round 8,839,272,093 of another angry debate about gender and sexism.

Now, I’m as sick of these debates as everyone else. I’d much rather be focusing on enjoying this movie and seeing how it measures up to “Wonder Woman,” but certain people just can’t help themselves whenever they see an opportunity to evoke some fresh outrage.

This time, it has to do with how the Amazons are dressed. After their introduction in “Wonder Woman,” which made for some truly wonderful moments, they’re set to participate again in “Justice League.” That should be a good thing. They’re a tribe of powerful ancient warriors. Why shouldn’t they participate in a battle to save the world?

That fact might as well be an afterthought for some people because apparently, they’re not dressed appropriately. I must have missed a meeting because at some point, someone passed a rule that said you couldn’t look sexy while saving the world. As an aspiring erotica/romance writer, I oppose such a rule with every fiber of my being.

Wherever it came from, it seems to be an issue now. There are real people who insist on making this a major issue, which requires them to ignore the fact that a tribe of badass warrior women is involved in the first place. Instead, they’re just focusing on how they’re dressed. Seriously, is this really worth that level of outrage?

Never mind the fact that warrior women kind of have to be really fit and being fit is a major factor in sex appeal. The fact that “Justice League” dares to offer that kind of sex appeal in any capacity is somehow an affront to women, feminism, and progress in the 21st century. If I could write that with more sarcasm, I would.

Before I go on too angry a rant, it’s worth noting that this sort of thing stands in direct contract to Gal Gadot’s own message that women should dress however the hell they want. It’s also worth noting that one of the actresses, Brooke Ence, who plays one of the Amazons, did not see much controversy with the attire. In a USA Today interview, she said this:

As she recalls, not every warrior wore a two-piece, and “the girls on set, we never thought of (the new costumes) as a sexy version. It felt a little more glamorous, if anything, because we had bigger, beautiful hair, which I loved.”

In fact, the CrossFit champion, who gets a heroic scene in the new movie, added, “I’m an athlete first, right? (Usually) I can’t wear anything without someone commenting about my (muscular) body. So for me, it was actually really cool to be able to show it and not immediately feel masculine, but still very feminine.”

By the actual words of a woman who actually wore that attire, she liked that sexy attire. She thought it was glamorous and showed off the body that she clearly worked so hard to sculpt. There’s no hint, whatsoever, that she was forced to dress this way to appeal to horny men.

That implies, shockingly enough, that sometimes women want to dress sexy. It implies that it’s okay to look sexy and it’s okay for men to appreciate that. I even made a formal announcement about it last year. I guess some people didn’t get the memo.

I’ll try to limit the sarcasm from here on out, but this is the key factor in determining whether a controversy involving scantily-clad women even warrants controversy to begin with. This is not an old Carl’s Junior ad or necessarily softcore standards utilized by Victoria’s Secret. These are female characters in a movie that is trying to appeal to everyone, including men.

The women wearing that attire never claimed they were being exploited. There was no noticeable uptick in sex crimes as a result of this attire being worn. The only offense anyone took were those claiming to be offended on behalf of all women. Therein lies the problem, though.

If one of the actresses had come out and said they felt degraded by that attire, that would be one thing. If it came out that some asshole producer forced them to wear it after they’d objected, that would be quite another. Given the recent climate surrounding sexual exploitation, they probably would’ve had a lot of allies.

That didn’t happen, though. Instead, those allies jumped the gun. They didn’t wait to hear from the women wearing the sexy attire. They didn’t even ask how they felt about wearing it. They just assumed, outright, that it was degrading, offensive, and sexist. That’s not just arrogant and presumptuous. It’s counterproductive because it turns allies in the fight against sexism into assholes.

In order to be offended for everyone, you have to assume everyone feels the same way you do. That’s a flawed, egotistical, narcissistic assumption. That’s exactly the kind of selfishness that Wonder Woman and Gal Gadot oppose with their emphasis on compassion and understanding. Anyone who feels as though they have to be offended for someone other than themselves is basically forcing unwarranted outrage.

This is the kind of thing that gives feminism, men’s rights activists, and people who make excuses for being arrogant dicks a bad name. It’s not that they react to something that’s controversial. They have to either create it or bend it to fit their agenda. I guarantee that as I type this, there are countless debates going on about the merits of sexism, scantily clad women, and sex appeal that aren’t making anyone horny.

That’s not to say that scantily clad women are always positive. Even an aspiring erotica/romance writer understands there’s a line between beauty and gratuity. There’s nothing about the Amazons’ attire that’s so gratuitous that it should require someone’s credit card number and a quick clearing of their browser history. The fact that it has been addressed by those who participated in it should be the end of the story.

Sadly, I suspect this won’t be the end. Even after the outrage over this issue passes, there will be another. For reasons that I wish I didn’t have to discuss, there will still be controversy every time a beautiful woman decides to show more skin than a priest, monk, or mullah deems appropriate.

Until we’re all comfortable in our own skin, or find a way to upgrade our brains to avoid the outrage before it starts, I suspect these kinds of controversies will continue. Just remember that if it has to be forced by those not involved, it’s not a controversy of merit. All it does is take away from those who just want to enjoy being sexy or admire those who are.

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CONFIRMED: Wonder Woman is “Queer”

In my limited experiences in this wonderfully imperfect world we live in, one of the most infuriating retorts is the horrendously overused, “Better late than never.” Every time I hear someone say that, I want rip my ears off punch the nearest brick wall. I’ve said it myself and I want to punch myself whenever it comes out of my mouth.

That said, there are some circumstances where this annoying phrase applies. It’s very true that good things are worth waiting for. Whether it’s a pizza, a cookie, or a lap dance at a strip club, the wait and anticipation can make the end result more satisfying.

Well, some things are just so damn late that you stopped giving a shit years ago. It becomes one of those unspoken taboos, like asking someone about a tattoo they regret or an oddly shaped scar on your ass. Even so, it’s still satisfying on some levels when someone finally gets around to finishing something that should’ve been finished.

Today is one of those days. Today, DC Comics finally came clean about one of the worst kept secrets in all of comics. That’s right. They admitted that Wonder Woman is “queer.”

Newsarama: Is Wonder Woman Queer? “Obviously yes,” says Rucka

Let that sink in for a moment. One of the most iconic superheroes of all time, and definitely one of the most iconic female superheroes of all time, is not entirely heterosexual. For most people in 2016, who have already seen same-sex marriage legalized and major gay actors become successful, this is barely worth a raised eyebrow. For noted comic book fans (and romance/erotica fans) like myself, it’s a big fucking deal.

Now I’ve talked about Wonder Woman before on this blog. I’ve explored the hidden BDSM elements of her origins and the unorthodox ideas championed by her creator, William Marston. By and large, these elements were ignored or outright nullified by DC Comics. It wasn’t until recently with the release of Wonder Woman: Earth One that these elements were finally revisited.

As a result, this created kind of a problem for Wonder Woman and by “kind of,” I mean “are you fucking kidding me?” After Marston, DC Comics took Wonder Woman down a very different path. They completely and utterly removed sexuality from her character. Yes, she was a woman. Yes, she was a beautiful woman by almost any standard. However, her sexuality could only ever be assumed and never explored.

This is a problem and not just because it allows fanboys on message boards to ascribe every kind of perverse proclivity to Wonder Woman and believe me, they are pretty damn perverse. The problem is that it removes a critical element from Wonder Woman’s character while sending a terrible message about female characters in general, albeit indirectly.

For most of her history (a good chunk of which was spent distancing her from her BDSM origins), Wonder Woman has been conveyed as a badass female warrior. Now there’s nothing wrong with that in the slightest. There’s definitely a place for badass female warriors in our culture. Woman can, and do, kick ass. They’ve kicked plenty of ass throughout history and that should be celebrated.

The problem with Wonder Woman, as she was developed for most of the 20th century, was that being a badass female warrior meant effectively nullifying her sexuality. That’s not to say she was completely asexual. She did have love interests, the most famous being Steve Trevor.

However, this relationship never developed into the kind of epic love story that other male superheroes enjoyed. Superman got to have a relationship with Lois Lane. Reed Richards got to have a relationship with Sue Storm. Spider-Man got to have a relationship with Gwen Stacy, Mary Jane Watson, the Black Cat, and a whole host of other women that would probably qualify him as a man-whore.

For Wonder Woman, though, Steve Trevor has rarely been more than a supporting character. They were never really that intimate. Most of Wonder Woman’s story focused on making her this badass warrior who could hold her own with Superman, Batman, and the rest of the Justice League. So it’s not right to say that Steve Trevor got relegated to the Friend-Zone, but he did get grossly overshadowed.

That’s not to say she didn’t have actual, functioning, intimate relationships with men. For a brief time between 2011 and 2016, Wonder Woman was in a relationship with Superman. It was a pretty serious relationship too. This was a time when he wasn’t with Lois Lane and she had a different role in the comics, but it was as serious a relationship as Wonder Woman has ever had.

It was one of the few times when DC Comics even acknowledged that Wonder Woman had a desire for intimacy. They never show them naked in bed or anything, but they do heavily imply that Superman and Wonder Woman engage in a little super sex. I’ll leave readers to fantasize about what that entails.

Admit it. You’re curious and intrigued by the idea of these two getting frisky. I know I’ve thought about it. Then again, I’ve thought about a lot of crazy sexual things in my life. That actually makes DC’s efforts to limit Wonder Woman’s sexuality all the more egregious.

It’s hard enough that DC goes out of its way to avoid sexual issues with Wonder Woman. They’ll let her get romantic with someone. They’ll even let her get intimate. However, they don’t dare dig a little deeper, as though a woman who grew up on an island of women would be a perfectly functional heterosexual woman.

This is where the context of this news gets pretty asinine. On top of all the taboos surrounding Wonder Woman’s sexuality, there’s the not-so-minor detail of Wonder Woman growing up on an island full of immortal women. Despite every effort by prudish comic creators who wanted Wonder Woman to be a kid-friendly superhero and not a gay icon, there’s only so much anyone can do to avoid the implications.

On an island populated only with women, do they all become lesbians? Do they all become bisexual? These are all questions that DC Comics was all too happy to leave unanswered. They had to know that generations of fans would assume that there would be a lesbian orgy on this island every now and then. It just took them until 2016 to actually acknowledge the possibility.

Greg Rucka, the current writer on the Wonder Woman comic and an accomplished comic book writer in his own right, finally ended DC’s silence. He didn’t put it in terms best reserved for an issue of Hustler, but he does finally put a dent in this old, outdated taboo.

“And when you start to think about giving the concept of Themyscira its due, the answer is, ‘How can they not all be in same sex relationships?’ Right? It makes no logical sense otherwise,” he continued. “But an Amazon doesn’t look at another Amazon and say, ‘You’re gay.’ They don’t. The concept doesn’t exist. Now, are we saying Diana has been in love and had relationships with other women? As [artist] Nicola [Scott] and I approach it, the answer is obviously yes.”

It’s painfully true, albeit in a sexy sort of way. Wonder Woman comes from an exotic culture of warrior women, gods, and demigods. Naturally, her approach to sex and her understanding of what means to be gay, straight, or bisexual will be very different.

We need only look at the matriarchal societies in the real world to see just how different our assumptions can be on matters of sex and intimacy. Why should Wonder Woman’s situation be any different? It shouldn’t.

It’s 2016. We have same-sex marriage, gender-neutral bathrooms, and enough lesbian porn to build a small island in the Pacific. The news that Wonder Woman isn’t entirely straight shouldn’t be an issue. It also shouldn’t have taken this long to come out, but better late than never, right?

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go punch myself for saying that.

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