Perhaps more than any other storytelling medium, superhero comics and movies rely on constant reinvention of their characters to keep audiences engaged. But while many things may change regarding the backstories of superheroes, some things always stay the same. The Hulk will always be an ordinary man trapped in a tortured relationship with his monstrous alter ego. Batman will always be a man trying to exorcise his personal demons through a war against crime. According to Wonder Woman 1984 filmmaker Patty Jenkins, Superman and Wonder Woman will always be representative of a different, purer kind of superheroism.
"What I find interesting about [Wonder Woman] is that she and Superman are the OG, true north, very simple superheroes. They are people with superpowers [who are] here to save the day. All of the other superheroes that came after had some slant or angle that separated them. And so I think that was something that was strangely missing with so many superhero movies. None of them were very simple in that way. I loved getting to do that with her."
Jenkins' views might surprise DCEU fans who are following the current arc of DC Comics superheroes on the big screen. Henry Cavill's Superman is portrayed as a man who struggles to be accepted by society, and questions the point of helping people who fear him. While Batman v. Superman portrayed Wonder Woman as a cynical person who had "walked away from humanity" a hundred years ago.
Jenkins' own Wonder Woman movies are in pointed opposition to such portrayals and are more directly inspired by Richard Donner's original Superman film starring Christopher Reeve. For her part, lead actress Gal Gadot feels the more intimate moments Patty Jenkins provides for Princess Diana aka Wonder Woman help her understand her superhero character better.
"I feel like from one movie to the next I'm getting more and more close to the character and to understanding her DNA. It's delightful for me to play this strong, powerful warrior fighter goddess. But when I go to set, I completely forget about all of those things, and I'm actually focusing on her vulnerabilities and heart and imperfections. That's where I find the meat for the character."
While the DCEU has long been a messy place as it struggles to stand apart from the looming shadow of the MCU, Wonder Woman has steadily remained one of the franchise's bright spots, thanks to the efforts of Jenkins and Gadot. For the actress, her relationship with the filmmaker has been one of the best things she has gotten out of playing Wonder Woman.
"I'm very lucky that I got such an amazing partner who has such a clear, distinct vision about Wonder Woman and who she is. And the fact that we are on the same page and see completely eye to eye and have the same intention for the character and how we want to make the audience feel. The first 'Wonder Woman' was the movie that I really feel was my breakout and same for [Patty]. I feel like we were the underdogs that no one believed in. And then we did it together, and only we know how it felt. She's a fantastic, smart, amazing woman to work with, and I'm very proud to call her my friend."
Directed and co-written by Patty Jenkins, Wonder Woman 1984 stars Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Kristen Wiig, Pedro Pascal, and Natasha Rothwell. The film arrives in theaters and HBO Max on December 25, while debuting theatrically in international markets starting on December 16. This news comes from LA Times.