It’s telling that Warner Bros. started their massive Saturday-opening Comic-Con International Hall H panel by showing off Wonder Woman. Starring Gal Gadot as Diana Prince and directed by Monster mastermind Patty Jenkins, it’ll be the first major comic book adaptation to hit theaters with a female superhero in the modern (i.e. post-Iron Man) era. And everyone knows it.
“I feel so fortunate to be the person here in this window [for movies with female superheroes],” Jenkins said after being introduced by moderator Conan O’Brien and asked about the responsibility of taking on such an iconic character. “It feels like the best time to make this movie. So I’m psyched.”
There’s a lot riding on Wonder Woman’s shoulders–and there will likely be just as much misogynist criticism she’ll need to deflect with her bracelets. Luckily, as seen in the massive first trailer Jenkins showed, Diana Prince’s big cinematic debut won’t be a letdown. Dark, but not trying to be “gritty,” funny but not trying to be “cute,” Jenkins’ movie feels very aware of the fact that it needs to tell a smart story. In the trailer’s kicker, Diana asks what a secretary is. When she’s told that a secretary goes to where she’s told and does what she’s told, Wonder Woman responds: “the word where I come from, that’s called slavery.”
Yes, Wonder Woman has a message as much as Wonder Woman does. And Jenkins knows this. During her movie’s panel she noted that the world now has tragedies almost daily and “needs love and forgiveness.” Touchy-feely? Yes, but also, at a base level, true. In its simplest form, a Wonder Woman movie will be escapism. On a more highfalutin level, the fact that we’re finally getting a superhero movie led by a female character shows that, as crappy as things are, change is possible. (Am I high on Hall H fumes for saying that? Probably. But it feels true.)
And the shoulders carrying this are the very capable ones of Gal Gadot. For those who don’t remember, last year at Comic-Con she stood up for a young boy who wanted to wear a Wonder Woman T-shirt–something that a fan brought up during her Q&A sessino today. For those who don’t remember Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (why would you?), she was that film’s savior. When her solo film drops next summer, she might save that, too. Judging by her performance in both the movie’s first trailer and its panel, it’s a responsibility she’ll wear well.
“It’s an honor and a privilege to be given the opportunity to play this character,” she said this morning. “Knowing how many people care for this character, I do feel that responsibility. … to portray this character in a way that everyone can relate to.”