DC Comics via andertoons/Flickr
New Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara discussed a number of projects recently, including the new J.K. Rowling project and a desire to balance big budget franchise films with smaller, more modest features. But one moment that stood out was when talk turned to superheroes. Tsujihara spoke hopefully about moving beyond Batman and Superman, namechecking Wonder Woman. “We need to get Wonder Woman on the big screen or TV,” he said. Sure, it’s a great sentiment. But heroes like Green Arrow and police commissioner Jim Gordon are already heading to TV, even though Wonder Woman is inarguably a bigger name. So if they have the rights, the money, and the desire, what the heck is Warner Bros. waiting for?
When it comes to the superhero arms race, DC hasn’t had a win since The Dark Knight came out in 2008. Testing an unknown character? Marvel wins by a landslide with the improbable rise of Robert Downey Jr. and Iron Man. Recasting a hero? Marvel wins, with the (eventual) discovery of Mark Ruffalo as Hulk. A team movie with multiple heroes? Marvel’s winning by two, with Avengers and Gaurdians of the Galaxy. So far, neither studio has been declared the “winner” when it comes to female heroes. But at least Marvel has Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow. At least Natalie Portman is pairing with Marvel to sponsor a contest to get girls more interested in science. What has DC/WB given us? Two solid attempts at making Catwoman a supporting character and one miserable attempt to give Catwoman her own film in 2004.
The saying goes, if you want something done well, you have to do it yourself. You know what — sometimes, if you want something done at all, you have to do it yourself. Sure, you can say, “The David E. Kelley Wonder Woman pilot was terrible. That’s why it wasn’t picked up!” But Green Lantern was an underbaked disaster, and you at least gave it the chance to try. (By the way, if earning over $200 million in box office for you is considered a failure, you may want to reexamine your average budget.) Don’t outsource the task of adapting a uniquely inspiring and rewarding character to the big screen when you have an entire movie studio — and one that’s been struggling for new content in the wake of Christopher Nolan — at your disposal. Not to mention the very same TV studio that produced the original Wonder Woman series! The one that wasn’t half bad, and gave Wonder Woman the super-progressive-for-the-’70s cover as an Air Force pilot. Beyond that, there has been a steady stream of DC Animated Universe content featuring Wonder Woman that proves that the character can fly off the page just as easily as Superman. Actually, maybe that’s a bad example, as both bigscreen Superman adaptations from the last 10 years were met with decidedly mixed reviews. Regardless, with all this talk around women, comics, superheroes, and franchises, it would be nice to see some action.