Wonder Woman

2014_review_comics

2014 was a banner year for the comic book. Those flimsy paper books have so thickly embedded themselves in Hollywood that a major piece of Marvel or DC news is dropping every week, to the extent that two full entries of this 14-part list burst onto the scene as recently as last week. Not every comic book movie was a masterpiece (one stunk so spectacularly that it may, along with a fair amount of cybercrime, threaten the very fate of Sony’s superhero output). But plenty of them were, and the general fervor around them has risen to a point where giggly anticipation of Avengers: Age of Ultron is practically as much fun as Age of Ultron undoubtedly will be. Because of that, this list isn’t just milestones we saw in comic book movies. It’s the 14 greatest moments — movie scenes, movie news, major studio announcements — from this ever-growing sect of comic book movie culture; a culture that will continue (barring any financial disasters or drastic changes in audience taste) to expand outward for the foreseeable future. When a comic book movie wins Best Picture (I’ll ballpark it and say, perhaps 2047 and Great Lakes Avengers 6: The Rebirth), we’ll know superheroes are here to stay. Next year and Age of Ultron will no doubt render all this obsolete, but for now let’s see what 2014 had to offer.

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HBO

The news that Wonder Woman would be directed (and developed at a story level) by Michelle MacLaren may have whizzed past a lot of people. Society lost its shit, collectively, when Wonder Woman was given official confirmation by Warner Bros. Ditto when it came out that WB was looking for a woman to direct comics’ most wondrous woman. But if you didn’t know who MacLaren was (or didn’t care to Google her and see the words “Breaking” and “Bad” come up repeatedly), this particular Thanksgiving week announcement might be drowned out by Tie Fighter fire or the lip-smackings of a Mosasaur. But rest assured, this news is just as meaty. Meatier, even. The crappiest Miss Cleo knockoff could have predicted that The Force Awakens and Jurassic World would, in fact, have trailers. And that people would be excited (what, really?) to see them. To guess that WB, after a string of farcically boneheaded creative decisions- say, deciding that one reasonably successful Superman reboot is grounds for a ten-picture expanded universe, or not immediately firing whoever came up with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice- would make a pick as perfect as MacLaren takes a far more powerful hotline psychic. Because MacLaren is perfect for Wonder Woman. For any franchise, really- she’s one of those names that you spot in TV credits for years, fingers crossed that eventually she’ll get a big(ger) break. But for comicdom’s premiere warrior lady, she’s especially well-suited. And thanks to the body of TV work that […]

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Wonder Woman

We may not have entered the golden age of superheroines just yet — is this the Bronze Age? Iron? Cubic Zirconia? — but things are certainly looking much brighter than they ever have before. Earlier this week, Marvel announced its standalone Captain Marvel film (hurray, Carol Danvers!) and now word is eking out about what we can expect to see from DC’s own head superheroine, Wonder Woman. We already know more about Wonder Woman (Diana Prince if you’re into concealing identities) and her role in the DC universe than we know about Captain Marvel and the respective MCU, including who will play her (Gal Gadot) and when she’ll first appear (she’s the third lead in Batman v Superman: The Justice is Coming), but that still leaves a lot to learn, including what we can expect from her planned solo film, arriving after Batman and Superman presumably bash each other’s heads in while WW sighs dismissively and then does something cool over on the side. And yet! Over at Bleeding Cool, the outlet reports a bevy of information about not just the first Wonder Woman feature, but subsequent follow-ups. It’s a franchise! It’s into time-jumping! It’s history-y! It’s, well, it’s kind of brilliant.

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2014

The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere. There will be a quiz later. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

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Sucker Punch Movie

After years of development hell, news broke in December that Gal Gadot would become cinema’s first Wonder Woman in Zack Snyder’s Batman vs. Superman. The story is under wraps, and only time will tell what sort of role Diana will play in the superhero battle. Will she kick ass? Will her appearance Sucker Punch us with badness like David E. Kelley’s quickly killed series and Snyder’s shitty femme film? Could she end up on the editing room floor like Shailene Woodley in Spider-Man 2? These questions feel all the more pressing since Marvel head Kevin Feige recently expressed pride in how the company has chosen to show its female characters. Black Widow has been relegated to supporting player, and Captain Marvel is still floating around the rumor mill like so much lip service, rather than becoming an official part of one of Marvel’s carefully planned release phases. If Marvel isn’t going to step up to the plate and commit, that means everything rests on DC’s Wonder Woman, the superhero who’s “tricky” … except that she’s not. Recent film history gives DC all it needs to know to make Wonder Woman a powerful warrior and not a Babydoll or Sweet Pea. If only they’ll look, and stop obsessing over how “difficult” Diana is.

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Photo by Tom Heinrich

While Gal Gadot is finally bringing Wonder Woman to the big screen in her upcoming appearance in Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel sequel, the Amazonian princess has had a hell of a time making it to television. NBC’s disaster of an effort starring a game Adrianne Palicki never survived pilot phase, and it appears now that the CW’s offering, Amazon, is a no go, according to CW president Mark Pedowitz.

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Superhero Toys

Gal Gadot is going to have her own action figure soon. She is — for more than just the cinematic medium — going to become the face of Wonder Woman for a new generation of girls and boys looking to have the Justice League invade Castle Grayskull with the Ninja Turtles. Of course, even though she’ll be immortalized in plastic, she’s still merely a side character in Batman vs Superman. She may even be a cameo, but there’s still probably a toy executive meeting with a Warners executive right now to wring their hands over how well such a toy will sell. As if we needed proof of such a scenario, veteran geek property producer Paul Dini revealed recently that the biggest threat to the smart women in his Tower Prep series lived at Toys ‘R’ Us. Don’t read if you’re one eye roll away from a coma.

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Gal Gadot

Yesterday’s news that Fast & Furious actress Gal Gadot has been picked to play Wonder Woman in Zack Snyder’s Batman vs. Superman inevitably stirred up plenty of ire in fans of the character, superhero junkies, and people who straight-up think it’s okay to take to the World Wide Web to bitch about the abilities and appearance of a person they’ve never met. It was a sadly standard response to big time casting news, but no matter how unsurprising it was, that doesn’t mean it’s in any way acceptable. When Gadot’s casting was announced, the Internet exploded with all sorts of chatter about her appropriateness for the role, nearly all of it rooted in how the Israeli actress looks, very little of it had to do with her acting chops or that she has starred in a limited number of roles (making her talent a bit harder to examine). Most of it was disheartening at best, ugly at worst, as various people felt the need to take to the web to air out their thoughts on Gadot’s body – my Twitter feed alone was clogged with repeated phrases like “too skinny,” “small,” and “little.” And, yes, most of the people I follow on Twitter are involved in the entertainment world in a professional capacity, this was not just irate fans mouthing off. It was an upsetting afternoon.

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Barton Fink

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Wonder Woman by Jeff Chapman

The Wonder Woman movie must be setting some kind of record for most chatter about a movie that hasn’t even been announced yet. I’m as guilty of contributing to that as anyone else, considering my earlier piece for FSR that laid out some of the challenges facing that film. This week’s fuel for blogger speculation comes from some statements made by Thor: The Dark World actress Jaimie Alexander. Her role as badass warrior Sif and her raven hair already made her a frontrunner on many fanboy casting wishlists for Wonder Woman. All it took were a few cryptic statements from her about knowing the basic story of Batman vs. Superman and rumor-mongering sites started spinning stories about how she was a front-runner for the role. As ridiculous as it is that these rumor crumbs blow up into full-blown scoops, it speaks to how much anticipation there is for a Wonder Woman movie. At this point, such demand is taken so much as a given that I was surprised that I’ve seen little consideration of why people are convinced Wonder Woman merits a feature film. Is it because of the character – or because of what she represents?

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Wonder Woman

The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

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Wonder Woman

Last week, most movie and pop culture sites dealt with their post SDCC hangovers by devoting a shocking number of articles to either celebrating or decrying the announced Superman/Batman movie (editor’s note: Guilty). At present, the only details we know are the release date, the director, the writer, the fact that Henry Cavill will return as Superman, and that Batman will play some role in the story. Despite the vague nature of those details, there were still plenty of people eager to weigh in about why this was either a brilliant idea or the worst thing anyone could come up with. Once feasting on Superman/Batman gets old, the comic book movie pundits are bound to turn their attentions back to the superhero property that just can’t get off the ground no matter how much anyone tries: Wonder Woman. She is one of the most recognizable superheroes so it’s certainly odd that with everything in development (we’re getting a fucking Dr. Strange movie, for crying out loud) there have been no serious advances in bringing the Amazon Princess to the big screen. Let’s not mince words here. Certainly her gender is a factor. Several years ago Warner Bros. even caught heat for claiming they weren’t going to make films with women in the lead. However, it would be an oversimplification to say that sexism is the only factor in stalling a Wonder Woman film. There are a number of variables that make mounting this project a greater challenge than other comic book films.

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Justice League Alex Ross

Development has really been heating up the over that Justice League movie. A few months ago, Gangster Squad writer Will Beall was hired to handle script duties, there was word Warner Bros. was eying Ben Affleck to direct, and then we got a director short list including the Wachowskis, Ruben Fleischer, and, who could forget, Brett Ratner. Today the project became even more real, thanks to a resolved legal dispute. The Los Angeles Times is reporting the studio is gearing up fast for a 2013 shoot and a 2015 release, which would pit the film up against The Avengers 2. After that, mostly depending on whether the film’s a hit or not, Warners would then follow up the film with a reboot of Batman and solo films following whatever heroes they decide to put in the movie. So if any of you have been holding your breath for a Hawkman movie, then perhaps your big dream may finally come true.

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Last week, the utterly shocking news broke that not only was Warner Bros. pursuing a Justice League movie, but it also was in no way at all ever influenced by the unbridled financial success of Marvel’s The Avengers. We can all believe that, can’t we? After all, we read it on the internet. With Man of Steel coming out next year and a no-brainer Batman reboot coming now that Christopher Nolan’s movies are wrapping up this summer, this is an opportunity for Warner Bros. and DC to set a new stage. Plus, with adaptations of The Flash and Lobo, and the potential for a Green Lantern reboot, Warner Bros. and DC have things laid out for them to work out very similar to the pre-Avengers line of films. But this is Hollywood, and so many things can go potentially wrong with a project like this. Here are seven ways Warner Bros. can avoid a potential disaster as they develop this film series.

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Justice League Alex Ross

Sure, The Avengers being really awesome probably had a lot to do with the fact that it’s now the third most money-making movie of all time. But, more than that, the film probably has Marvel’s long term planning to thank for its extreme level of success. Instead of just making a movie about a team of superheroes, Marvel first introduced each member of the team in their own films, they dropped hints about the fact that they would all be coming together at some point, and, when it was all said and done, The Avengers finally premiered after six years of build-up and anticipation. That’s pretty unprecedented. Seeing as they own DC Comics, Warner Bros also has a fairly impressive stable of superheroes at their command. And they’ve even managed to leverage their properties into a bunch of successful animated television shows in the past. But, in recent years, the only character they’ve had any real success with in the live-action feature format is Batman. They’re not even close to doing something with DC’s premier superhero team, The Justice League, that could be on par with what Marvel did with The Avengers.

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Boiling Point

I’m not afraid of a little capitalism. Hey, we all embrace it, working every day for the man in the city, or stealing shit. Unless you’re high on bath salts and living off the faces of hobos, you need money. People who have money want more money. Money makes the world go round. When people don’t make the money they think they deserve, or the money they want, or they just think that more money would be better, they complain about it. Hollywood is full of whiny babies, whether it’s studios, actors, directors, or theater  chains. They’re all obsessing over money. There are at least a dozen different boiling points that could be about money and who’s crying the most, but this one points the finger at the theater chains.

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Now that The Avengers is a Hulk-sized hit on North American shores as well as overseas, the big question is what will Joss Whedon do next. As seen in this interview with Collider, the man appears to be pretty damn tired from this monster film that officially wrapped only a couple weeks ago. But Hollywood moves fast, and Marvel Studios moves even faster. Acolytes of Whedon are sounding the charge as if a revolution has occurred that makes the later seasons of his shows pale in comparison. The question is will Whedon be courted by the inevitable Avengers 2? Will he resurrect his TV series onto the big screen? Will Neil Patrick Harris be involved in any way? Here are the main options Whedon has before him.

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Gina Carano in Haywire

When you think of the typical action hero, the image that immediately leaps to mind is undoubtedly that of a bloody, bandana-clad dude with a massive gun, or a rouge tough guy cop, or perhaps a macho kung-fu master. In other words…males. While action is a genre long dominated by men, there have been a few notable (read: 100% ass-kicking) action heroines that have left their own indelible mark: Sigourney Weaver in Aliens, Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2, and Uma Thurman in Kill Bill. To that list, we must now certainly add Gina Carano, star of Steven Soderbergh’s recent action thriller Haywire. Gina however had the advantage of being a certified badass long before throwing her first punch on screen. She is a longtime student of Muay Thai, a former champion MMA fighter, and was in fact involved in some of the first sanctioned female fights in MMA history. With knockout after knockout Carano, an undeniable knockout herself, proved that beauty and strength were far from mutually exclusive. Her work in Haywire, coupled with her successful MMA career, inspired the head honchos at ActionFest to create a new award for which she will be the first recipient. The Chick Norris Best Female Action Star Award, playfully adapted from the name of fest founder (and action legend in his own right) Chuck Norris, celebrates the contribution women have made and continue to make to action cinema. We got a chance to talk to Gina about the award, about Haywire, and, oddly, […]

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Gosling: Only God Forgives

What is Movie News After Dark? Usually it’s a recap of what’s happening in the world of film. But on a slow news day such as today with FSR news teamers like Nathan Adams having already done that, News After Dark becomes something far more interesting: a gathering of links that will take you down the rabbit hole of the intelligent thought, analysis and otherwise fun reading that the movie blogosphere has to offer. Also, there was plenty of Mondo news today, so that’s good. We begin tonight with a first look at Ryan Gosling in Only God Forgives, Nicolas Winding Refn’s next film that is currently shooting in Thailand. Radius-TWC, an off-shoot of The Weinstein Co., has closed a deal to distribute the film in the United States. Which means you’ll get to see it. And that’s really all that matters, right?

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Wonder Woman Breast Exam

What is Movie News After Dark? Every night, it brings to you a collection of movie and pop culture news that will thrill you, chill you and if you’re not careful, spill you all over the floor. Tonight it takes on a new look — instead of the usual news-news-news-poster-news-news-news-video format, it’s almost all movie posters We begin this evening with a shot of Wonder Woman giving herself a breast exam. Earlier this week, someone told me that my nightly meanderings through the world of pop culture news needed to be sexier. What could be sexier than the fight against breast cancer? Nobody’s immune, people.

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published: 12.23.2014
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published: 12.22.2014
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published: 12.19.2014
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