I’ve given up hoping that we’ll ever get a decent depiction of Wonder Woman — possibly the world’s foremost female superhero and certainly DC Comic’s — on either the big or small screen. I came to this conclusion after rewatching the 1970s TV show starring Lynda Carter. (Yes, I own the box sets. Shut up.) Those three season just dripped with lovely cornball goodness as only a show of the 70s could, complete with turtlenecks, disco music and sunglasses so big they would swallow your face. Yet despite all the goofiness, there was a certain heart and soul to Carter’s depiction of the princess from Paradise Island. She was likable. More importantly, she liked humanity. She believed in people and really wanted to help them, even as she was clucking her tongue at their stupidity.
I’m now pretty confident we’ll never see that Diana Prince / Wonder Woman ever again. Maybe she was the product of an earlier time and the modern moviegoer (or movie producer) is just too cynical to tolerate her strength-through-kindness schtick. I certainly don’t have much faith that the upcoming Zack Snyder produced film will reclaim her magic mantle. I might be a little premature in writing this, but I think I’m on pretty solid ground here.
Let’s start with the fact that it’s taken a bafflingly long time to bring Wonder Woman back to the screen at all. After numerous false starts like David E. Kelly’s horrific TV movie from 2011 and Joss Whedon’s unproduced script, we finally got a sneak peak at the Amazon princess in Batman v. Superman: The Dawn of Justice. But there was a problem. Like so many other elements of that film (the plot for example), Diana Prince as played by Gal Godot was almost incidental. She hobnobbed with the power elite in slinky dresses and was set up as a foil for Bruce Wayne despite their all-too-brief interactions. But when the going got tough, Diana hopped on a plane out of town and only returned at the last second to help battle Doomsday. Not only was this out of character for Wonder Woman, perhaps one of the most morally steadfast characters in comic books, but she lacked those essential qualities that made her more than a superhero, but also a feminist icon. Where was her empathy for others? Where was the intellect?
I can’t fault Gal Godot for any of this considering how little she as given to do in Batman v. Superman, but the film did underscore how she has some mighty big red boots to fill. And, considering the increasingly poor quality of DC Comic movies, I’m not expecting much when Wonder Woman hits theaters next year.
So at day’s end, I think I have to agree with so many other Wonder Woman aficionados, which include some notable comic book artists, when I say that for now, the definitive Amazon princess will remain Lynda Carter’s version. After waiting 40 years to see Wonder Woman on the screen, I've given up hope that Hollywood can get this character right.