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Without Whedon leadin', whither Wonder Woman?

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Ww_l

Ww_lI wake today, PopWatchers, with an odd feeling in the pit of my stomach — an odd feeling only partially related to the 12-layer nacho plate I consumed last night. (The Super Bowl? No, I didn’t watch — who won? The Pacers? Hooray!)

It’s with profound ambivalence that I digest this latest gob of movie news: As you probably know, Joss Whedon, the world’s leading male expert on female superheroes, has bowed out of Wonder Woman. I was kinda looking forward to this flick, I’ll admit, and not because I’m a huge fan of the character. (The current comics conception of her as an authoritarian figure just underlines all that’s kinky and male-gazey about this amusingly crude “protofeminist” icon. Plus… an invisible jet? A truth lasso? This isn’t comic-book fantasy. This is Condi Rice’s rec room.)

Really, I just wanted to see how Whedon, the most sincere ironist on the planet (or maybe the most ironic sap? either way, a man after my own cheese-clogged heart), would tackle this most troublesome of comic book properties — how he would walk the tonal line, get his winks in, and then return some dignity to a character born into instant camp. I’ll never know: He’s gone. Probably because what he was proposing sounded too risky. And maybe because it wouldn’t have worked.

So who takes over now?

SHOULD TAKE OVER: How about, I dunno, a woman (for a change)? Could it be time for the rehabilitation of Kathryn Bigelow? Sure, why not! I mean, K-19: The Widowmaker wasn’t THAT bad. I mean, yes it was, but Point Break is still a cornball classic. Apply some of that magic to Wonder Woman, and you’ve at least got something fun on your hands. I don’t know about “good,” but certainly fun.

Failing that, I advise drastic measures: First, assemble a writing team consisting of comic-book wunderkind Brian K. Vaughn (Y: The Last Man) and a yet-to-be-named professor of classics, preferably female. Then give the whole shebang to newbie director-choreographer Anne Fletcher, who helmed the handsomely assembled Step Up. I have no idea if this will work. But I would like hundreds of millions gambled on it.

WILL TAKE OVER: Brett Ratner. Yeah. That’s right. Think about it: Who’s the most recent director to hit the box office jackpot with a superhero property? Ratner! Who started to direct a Superman movie for Warner Bros. before getting the fanboy boot — only to see his X-Men 3 outearn Superman Returns? Ratner! Who will make a big, dumb golden retriever of a blockbuster out of Wonder Woman, without any bellyaching about tone or content or story logic? Ratner! (Re: the retriever thing — I’m not saying WW’s a dog. Imagine a sexy golden retriever, in a spangled bathing suit and tiara.)

Hey, did you know that “Ratner” anagrams to “Re-rant”? Well, you’ve ranted before — now re-rant below!