Despite two cycles of sustained popularity as a film genre, however, Wonder Woman has never appeared in a feature film like her peers Batman (nine films and counting), Superman (six films and counting), more recent characters like Spider-Man (five), Iron Man (four), Thor (three) or The Hulk (three). Even footnote comic book characters from the Big Two superhero universes like Blade have made it into theaters—repeatedly. (And this weekend I Marveled at the fact that I saw such relatively recent, minor characters like Bishop and Blink appear in a major motion picture, before which played a trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy, which is filled with characters from among the most obscure corners of the Marvel character catalog).
The reason usually given for this is that doing a Wonder Woman movie would be too hard or too complicated; Warner Bros. apparently turned down a proposal of a Wonder Woman film set during World War II (like Captain America: The First Avenger) by the guy who would go on to make Avengers instead. I don't know that that's necessarily true. As a character most people have already heard of an know a lot about, there's no reason to think a Wonder Woman movie would be any more difficult or complicated to tell than one starring John Constantine, or Green Lantern II or Jonah Hex.
But sometimes when I'm reading a DC comic, I'll come across a scene that portrays Wonder Woman in such a bizarre light, as a shrill, savage, bloodthirsty warrior more akin to Marvel anti-heroes like Wolverine or The Punisher that I'm kind of glad that Warner Bros hasn't attempted a Wonder Woman film yet (I mean, they had Superman break a guy's neck, imagine what their Wonder Woman would do!), and I think I even sort of see why they think the character might be hard to build a film franchise around.
It might have something to do with the fact that they have no idea who Wonder Woman is. I certainly don't recognize the woman in the scene below, written by Geoff Johns, DC's chief creative officer:
|From Justice League #30; art by Ivan Reis, Scott Hanna and Rod Reis|
That is Wonder Woman beating down the cyborg villain Metallo in an attempt to find Lex Luthor, who, as she says in the first panel of the third page, deserves to have her "sword in his throat." (The context shouldn't really matter that much, but I suppose it's worth noting for those of you who are interested. Why does Wonder Woman want to find and maybe kill Lex Luthor so badly? No idea. When he was last seen, in the pages of Forever Evil #7, he and his associates had defeated the entire Crime Syndicate and saved the world in the process; he then proceeded to perform brain surgery on Wonder Woman's ally and current boyfriend Superman, saving his life).
What's particularly frustrating about this scene isn't just how crazy Wonder Woman seems—and hey, this being comics, maybe she's actually the Crime Syndicate's Superwoman masquerading as Wonder Woman, or a White Martian shape shifter who has replaced Wonder Woman, or any number of other explanations, but this scene sure scans with the violent, semi-psychopathic Wonder Woman we most often see strangling people with her lariat.
No, what's frustrating is that she is trying to get information out of a bad guy by beating it out of him, when she's carrying a magical lasso that compels bad guys to give her information if and when she bothers to use it on them, instead of her fist, foot or blade (She does eventually use it on Metallo, off-panel; apparently she needed to beat the bejeezus out of him and argue about due process with Flash on-panel first). Wonder Woman, unlike Batman or even Superman, doesn't ever really have to intimidate or slap-around a perp in order to interrogate them; she only has to get her hands dirty when she wants to. Which seems to be pretty damn often.