Of all the female superheroes who have graced comics, the one who is most well known, on a par with Batman, Spiderman and Superman, is Wonder Woman. The comic was not exactly a feminist landmark, even for the 1940’s, and was initially saddled with fetishist content, but the icon outgrew her origins, turning into a pure-hearted, kick-ass warrior woman in a star spankled leotard, useful accessories and boots, and paving the way for countless female hero characters in spandex. Over the years, Wonder Woman made the transition to animated films and television shows with the other major superheroes and in the 1970’s, got her own live action show in the U.S., starring Lynda Carter, a woman who so looked like the embodiment of Wonder Woman, it was frightening.
With all the work to reboot major comic franchise characters from both the comic titans of Marvel and DC Comics, there has of course been interest in having a live action film of Wonder Woman in some form, but the project has been in limbo forever. One of the problems cited is that Wonder Woman looks like this:
It being no longer the 1970’s, how, they wonder, do you get a live young actress into an outfit like that and not have it look utterly cheesy? (Although, seriously, in the days of reality shows and Lady Ga Ga, I don’t really understand why they are having this concern.) So DC Comics has now revamped Wonder Woman’s costume and completely changed her story in one of those alternate universe things that the comic folks like to do, and now she looks — at least in some comics — like this:
This has caused enormous debate, and it’s not all because the costume is slightly less sexy. Essentially what the rejiggered look does is make Wonder Woman look like every generic action movie heroine in a body suit and half the female comic characters as well. She’s Laura Croft with more jewelry. This then makes it very easy for an actress to slip into the costume, if the film ever makes it that far.
Will it matter if Wonder Woman’s new look has the personality of a toaster? Hard to say. But even with the update to a hip club ensemble, I am once again struck by the great impractibility of superhero costumes. The lack of pockets. Of lightweight body armor to dull the impact when the superhero is thrown. (Sure, Superman’s skin won’t be battered when he gets driven into a building, but if he had armor that absorbed some of the impact, he might not be driven so deep into the building and have to waste seconds climbing out of it.) Of practical boots with thick rubber soles. Basically, the old Wonder Woman fought crime in her bathing suit and the new one is fighting crime in her comfy pajamas. You’ve come a long way, baby. 🙂
And if they’re done now, could we have the movie please?