That hardly ended the controversy. In February 1943, Josette Frank, an expert on children’s literature, a leader of the Child Study Association and a member of Gaines’ advisory board, sent Gaines a letter, telling him that while she’d never been a fan of Wonder Woman, she felt she now had to speak out about its “sadistic bits showing women chained, tortured, etc.” She had a point. In episode after episode, Wonder Woman is chained, bound, gagged, lassoed, tied, fettered and manacled. “Great girdle of Aphrodite!” she cries at one point. “Am I tired of being tied up!”
Wonder Woman's character was created during World War II; the character in the story was initially depicted fighting Axis military forces as well as an assortment of colorful supervillains, although over time her stories came to place greater emphasis on characters, deities, and monsters from Greek mythology. Many stories depicted Wonder Woman rescuing herself from bondage, which defeated the "damsels in distress" trope that was common in comics during the 1940s.[13][14] In the decades since her debut, Wonder Woman has gained a cast of enemies bent on eliminating the Amazon, including classic villains such as Ares, Cheetah, Doctor Poison, Circe, Doctor Psycho, and Giganta, along with more recent adversaries such as Veronica Cale and the First Born. Wonder Woman has also regularly appeared in comic books featuring the superhero teams Justice Society (from 1941) and Justice League (from 1960).[15]

Wonder Woman has been the subject of a discussion regarding the appearance and representation of female power in general, and of female action heroes in particular[225] since her initial 1941 appearance in Sensation Comics,[225] as she was created to document "the growth in the power of women", while wearing "a golden tiara, a red bustier, blue underpants and knee-high, red leather boots."[226] She was blacklisted a year later in 1942 in the "Publications Disapproved for Youth" because, the group behind the list argued, she was "not sufficiently dressed".[226][227]


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Wonder Woman's sexual and bondage themes in her earliest days were not without purpose, however. Her creator, William Moulton Marston, theorized that human relationships could be broken down into dominance, submission, inducement and compliance roles which were embedded into our psyche. Because males were, more often than not, dominant in societies, Marston believed that "Women as a sex, are many times better equipped to assume emotional leadership than are males." [262] Marston wanted to convey his progressive ideals, through his use of bondage imagery, that women are not only capable of leadership roles, but should be in charge of society. Although Marston had good intentions with these themes, in Wonder Woman's early appearances, the bondage elements were controversial, as they were often seen to overly fetishize women in power rather than promote such women. Noah Berlatsky criticized this imagery in Wonder Woman's earliest days noting that "the comics take sensual pleasure in women’s disempowerment." [263] Despite having the mixed messages of this imagery, Marston fiercely believed that women would soon rule the earth and meant to showcase his predictions through sexual themes in his stories. He was an open feminist while studying at Harvard where he once said "Girls are also human beings, a point often overlooked!" [264]
Jenkins disagrees with this line of critique. She has stated that she was raised by a second-wave "feminist mother",[240][241] who taught her to be "both super aware that there had been sexism but also: 'Congratulations—thank you, now I get to do whatever I want, Mom!'"[240] Jenkins thus notes that it is this upbringing which has led her to question a feminist critique of Wonder Woman's costume.[242] When she was working on her own version of Wonder Woman's "Gladiator" re-design of the outfit (in the 2016 film Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice)[243] Jenkins decided that Wonder Woman (as well as the other Amazons) "shouldn't be dressed in armor like men ... It should be different ... I, as a woman, want Wonder Woman to be hot as hell, fight badass, and look great at the same time—the same way men want Superman to have huge pecs and an impractically big body."[17] Jenkins also notes that she is "frustrated" by the critique of Wonder Woman's appearance, stating "when people get super critical about her outfit, who's the one getting crazy about what a woman wears? That's who she is; that's Wonder Woman."[241] Gal Gadot concurred with Jenkins, arguing that the character "is a feminist"[244] as "feminism is about equality and choice and freedom. And the writers, Patty and myself all figured that the best way to show that is to show Diana as having no awareness of social roles. She has no gender boundaries. To her, everyone is equal."[245]
After Darkseid and Grail's retreat, they returned to a base in the Amazon Rainforest, where Darkseid was setting his mysterious plans into motion. He tasked his loyal Female Furies with tracking down a godly relic he needed, but they were unable to do so thanks to the intervention of Steve Trevor and his A.R.G.U.S. forces. Meanwhile, Wonder Woman fought a number of villains that had been recruited by Veronica Cale: Zara of the Crimson Flame, Blue Snowman and Anglette. As Diana caught up with Steve at A.R.G.U.S. HQ, Jason returned wearing a suit of armor gifted to him by the gods, but with no knowledge of its purpose.[96] As news came in of an attack by Grail, Wonder Woman and Jason immediately responded just in time to prevent Grail from killing another demigod. Wonder Woman bound Grail in the Lasso of Truth and forced her to reveal Darkseid's plans. Grail explained that Darkseid was looking to build himself an army of Amazons. Due to her half-Amazon blood, Grail was able to break free from the Lasso's grip and retreated.[97]

Her level of super strength (as granted to her by Demeter) is comparable to that of the Earth itself (as this is where she derives her powers). She is on the same strength level with the strongest other DC’s characters including Superman and Captain Marvel. Thus, she is capable of lifting/carrying thousands of tons with minimal effort. It is generally accepted that she is a notch below Superman. Wonder Woman was even able to take on Powergirl in a hand to hand fight while trying to free her from mind-control. Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel were an even match when they fought. On one occasion she even used her massive strength to move the Earth (though this was under duress and aided by Superman and the Martian Manhunter.) With the launch of the new 52 Wonder Woman showed a new strength level while fighting a God, she removes her bracelets and goes into a "berzerker rage" of power, which originally allegorical to a person losing control to their destructive Ego. We then find out that Wonder Woman's bracelets are what protects her opponents from her intense power. Wonder Woman had a quick match with Supergirl where we found out that they are close in strength, Wonder Woman over powered Supergirl with her bracelets still on.


The "Diana Prince" identity has been part of Wonder Woman's history since her comics debut in 1941. In the early Golden Age stories, Wonder Woman served as a military secretary during World War II, using Prince as her cover. Later occupations Wonder Woman performed as Prince included translator at the United Nations, Air Force captain and ambassador, and in the '70s TV series, Lynda Carter's Wonder Woman used Prince to serve as an agent of the Inter-Agency Defense Command. In the DC Extended Universe, Prince works as curator for the Department of Antiquities[56] at the extremely prestigious Louvre Museum and is held in very high esteem by the curator of the Gotham City Museum of Antiquities. Her tremendously long life span, accumulation of immense amount of knowledge and exceptional perceptiveness makes Diana Prince the wisest and most emotionally-intelligent member of the Justice League.[57][58]

A day before Whedon's departure from Wonder Woman, Warner Bros. and Silver Pictures purchased a spec script for the film written by Matthew Jennison and Brent Strickland. Set during World War II, the script impressed executives at Silver Pictures.[77] However, Silver stated that he had purchased the script because he did not want the rights reverting; while stating the script had good ideas, Silver did not want the film to be a period piece.[81] By April 2008, Silver hired Jennison and Strickland to write a new script set in contemporary times that would not depict Wonder Woman's origin, but explore Paradise Island's history.[82]
Gaines decided he needed another expert. He turned to Lauretta Bender, an associate professor of psychiatry at New York University’s medical school and a senior psychiatrist at Bellevue Hospital, where she was director of the children’s ward, an expert on aggression. She’d long been interested in comics but her interest had grown in 1940, after her husband, Paul Schilder, was killed by a car while walking home from visiting Bender and their 8-day-old daughter in the hospital. Bender, left with three children under the age of 3, soon became painfully interested in studying how children cope with trauma. In 1940, she conducted a study with Reginald Lourie, a medical resident under her supervision, investigating the effect of comics on four children brought to Bellevue Hospital for behavioral problems. Tessie, 12, had witnessed her father, a convicted murderer, kill himself. She insisted on calling herself Shiera, after a comic-book girl who is always rescued at the last minute by the Flash. Kenneth, 11, had been raped. He was frantic unless medicated or “wearing a Superman cape.” He felt safe in it—he could fly away if he wanted to—and “he felt that the cape protected him from an assault.” Bender and Lourie concluded the comic books were “the folklore of this age,” and worked, culturally, the same way fables and fairy tales did.
Earning a total of $103.3 million on its opening weekend, the film recorded a number of records: the biggest domestic opening of all time for a female director (surpassing previous record holder Fifty Shades of Grey), the biggest DC Comics release without Batman or Superman (ahead of Constantine), the sixth-biggest non-sequel comic book superhero debut ever, as well as the sixth-biggest June debut weekend.[184] Its three-day opening alone made it the highest-grossing woman-led comic book superhero film ever (surpassing Ghost in the Shell).[185] It was also the 16th superhero film to cross $100 million in its domestic box office launch.[186] About 9% ($9 million) of the opening weekend came from IMAX screenings from 343 theaters.[187] In its second week the film grossed $58.5 million, again topping the box office. It marked a 43.3% drop for its second weekend at the box office, better than the average 50–60% decline superhero films tend to see, and was a better second weekend than Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice ($51.3 million) and Suicide Squad ($43.5 million).[188] In its third weekend it grossed $40.8 million, finishing second behind newcomer Cars 3 ($53.5 million). It was the second-best third weekend ever for Warner Bros. and was nearly double what Batman v Superman ($23.3 million), Suicide Squad ($20.9 million) and Man of Steel ($20.7 million) made in their third weekends. It earned $24.9 million and $15.7 million in its fourth and fifth weekends, respectively, dropping just 39% and 36% despite facing rough competition from opening films Transformers: The Last Knight and Despicable Me 3.[189] It eventually became the highest-grossing film directed by a woman, surpassing the previous records of Jennifer Yuh Nelson's Kung Fu Panda 2 and Phyllida Lloyd's Mamma Mia!.[9] By August 8, the film had garnered $400 million in ticket sales, becoming the second female-fueled film (after Disney's Beauty and the Beast), Warner Bros.' third-biggest movie (after Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises), holding the record of the highest-earning superhero origin film, replacing the previous record held by Spider-Man (2002). It also becoming the highest-earning film with a female director in terms of domestic earnings—surpassing Frozen (2013).[190][191][192]
Pérez and Potter wrote Wonder Woman as a feminist character, and Pérez's research into Greek mythology provided Wonder Woman's world with depth and verisimilitude missing from her previous incarnation.[35][36] The incorporation of Greek gods and sharply characterized villains added a richness to Wonder Woman's Amazon heritage and set her apart from other DC heroes.[9]
“Anniversary, which we forgot entirely,” Olive Byrne wrote in her secret diary in 1936. (The diary remains in family hands.) During the years when she lived with Marston and Holloway, she wore, instead of a wedding ring, a pair of bracelets. Wonder Woman wears those same cuffs. Byrne died in 1990, at the age of 86. She and Holloway had been living together in an apartment in Tampa. While Byrne was in the hospital, dying, Holloway fell and broke her hip; she was admitted to the same hospital. They were in separate rooms. They’d lived together for 64 years. When Holloway, in her hospital bed, was told that Byrne had died, she sang a poem by Tennyson: “Sunset and the evening star, / And one clear call for me! / And may there be no moaning of the bar, / When I put out to sea.” No newspaper ran an obituary.
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