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The Problem with Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman only has one big-screen version to cheer for. Why? Because no one knows what the hell to do with her.

The inherent problem is that Wonder Woman is THE female superhero to most people. The average person would have trouble naming three or four other female heroes who have headlined a TV show, movie franchise, or comic book. As a result, this fictional character is under pressure all the time to be all things to all people, male and female. There is simply no room to stretch the interpretation of the character to fit a story that doesn't have some level of negative feedback. Internet discussions will rage endlessly simply about whether or not she should wear pants or short shorts. When Superman lost the iconic red tights a few years ago, there was nary a peep.

It's unfair, because no male superhero is held up as THE Male Superhero. There's Superman, Batman, Iron Man, etc. There's goofy versions, darkly serious ones, and everything in between. People who don't like "Batman: The Dark Knight" can go read "Batman '66." No one complains, because there are multiple heroes and multiple versions. Here is yours, this is mine.

Wonder Woman also has the problem that she can't be taken back to how the creator originally invented her; classic WW owes more to S&M than mainstream feminism. After all, her creator had a wife and a girlfriend, and her original weakness was getting her hands tied together. Superman had nuclear rocks, WW had ropes.

And if you cover WW and her original mission to save "man's world," you get political. Politics can't hurt but offend someone, and that's potential customers. What if WW decides she's pro-choice? What if she's pro-life? That can change at moment's notice, depending on market reaction, creator, or editorial.

People are so worried about Wonder Woman appealing to as wide a demographic as possible that they become paralyzed and nothing happens. She gets one comic. She gets one show. She gets one movie appearance.

The solution is: just make a "Wonder Woman" movie. Don't worry about box office, just make it good. Poorly received but commercially successful movies don't get sequels ("Hulk," "Superman Returns," "Daredevil"). They get revamps and reboots. That's even more focus groups and arguments over how much skin is right for a lady online. Just don't let it suck. A female led superhero movie would do well in this economy anyway.

Then here's the next move; make a "Birds of Prey" movie. Make "Catwoman," but not terrible this time. Make the Renee Montoya "Question," make "Zatanna" or even "Huntress and Power Girl!" Does Coke worry about being a soda for everyone? Of course not, that's why they have Coke Zero, and Sprite, and Mellow Yellow, etc. One might outsell the other, but you keep it out there, making it as high quality as possible, and eventually the public finds the version they want. Maybe "Wonder Women" doesn't gross higher than "Titanic," but maybe "Black Canary" makes triple its budget. It needs to be attempted.

Let's stop arguing over whether or not short shorts represent women the best and just make a damn "Wonder Woman" movie. If it's "Man of Steel" violent, then...please make a "Supergirl" I can show my daughter. Let Diana be Diana.

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