DC stole the show at Comic Con last week with its presentation of the first footage from Batman v Superman and this image of the new Wonder Woman.
There was a collective internet explosion at the release of this pic and the updated outfit. Then, there was a kind of collective thought: ‘uhm, why is Wonder Woman dressed like a Xena clone?’ And that’s exactly what she looks like above, whether we like it or not, folks.
And so there continues to rage a massive internet argument over the outfit, with one side defending it as updated, less goofy, and closer to the origin story of the character. The other side claims it’s generic, Xena-like, and colorless. Personally, I fall into the latter.
Interestingly, though, there are pictures popping up on the internet that indicate that all may not be as it seems. Fans are claiming that the image is heavily red-filtered. They say that, with reduced filtering, the uniform should look more like the right side (image via Philly.com):
While the picture on the right may or may not reflect the true look of Diana’s new outfit (it’s still questionable), it certainly has color and contrast to it. With brighter reds, the addition of blues and the contrasts in her bracelets, skirt, and possibly her boots, she looks a lot less like Xena and a lot more like an updated Wonder Woman.
If this is true, why release this misleading, coppery-tinged picture as the audience’s first look? This sounds like a terrible plan, unless one wants to create controversy that never needed to happen. Which is possible, I suppose.
Zack Snyder is notoriously a fan of filters and very specific color styles. Sometimes he seems to hate color. Colors in Man of Steel were at times so washed out as to make people and their surroundings look pasty – even Supes. Other times he hits you over the head with it, as in 300 or Watchmen.
So Snyder is clearly an all-or-nothing kinda guy. And Batman v Superman, apparently, is falling into the ‘nothing’ category when it comes to color so far.
I should make it clear up front that my issues with DC’s approach don’t really have anything to do with the actors chosen, the storyline, or even the idea of a ‘darker’ take on superheroes than other studios are doing. (I do have other gripes, but that’s a different discussion.) My current issues are with the way its being portrayed and marketed to the masses. Because that’s all we have to work with right now, for certain.
And based on that marketing so far, Wonder Woman’s debut single-color look is just one more piece in the oddly-colored puzzle that currently is Batman v. Superman. The advertising has done its level best to remove color and variety from images. First we had Dark Grey Batman. Or, as I like to call him, Sad Batman. Sad Batman even became an internet meme, showing up to look depressed in various photos. He looks like he hates his job, frankly. And who doesn’t want to spend time with a superhero who appears to hate his job?
But I’ll forgive black-and-white Batman. Batman is the Dark Knight, after all, and the movie is generally considered reminiscent of “The Dark Knight Returns”. Black-and-white is an intentional aesthetic choice and it cleverly hides details from the rabid, slavering fanboys. It wouldn’t all be in black-and-white, right?
We also got a logo. That’s exciting! Kind of. It’s a passable logo, but it’s still a nearly dark, sad, static logo. Unlike many fan creations full of life and color and excitement, our official logo seems afraid to revel in its own magnificent idea — black weighs everything down, with only hints of faded reds managing to squeeze through (just in case we didn’t know that Snyder loves red!). For a movie with the word ‘dawn’ in the title, there’s precious little actual light in our movie so far.
Just to ensure that we all understand that this project is To Be Taken Seriously, Dammit(!), Snyder and Co. then gave us a grim and annoyed Superman. The trademark, gorgeous colors of the Big Boy Scout are so washed out as to nearly fall into the grey, dull generic background. He stands angrily in the rain for no apparent reason in what appears to be that most depressing city, Gotham. Perhaps those are just the tears of WB for letting Man of Steel dare end on a positive note?
And, now we have a monochromatic Wonder Woman to add to the trio, either intentionally stripped of her famous colors or altered for marketing reasons I fail to grasp.
I understand that this is all a tonal choice. DC really wants to set its universe apart from what Marvel (and everyone else) is doing. They want to be ‘dark’ and ‘serious’. Somehow, for them, this translates into literal darkness and robbing images of color that might possibly hint at any fun. Because This Is a Serious Movie, People(!).
What it has ended up being, for me, is visually dull. Boring, even. A two-tone color palette, red and greyish-black, repeated over and over again.
That’s right, I just called the images from Batman v Superman ‘visually dull’ and ‘boring’. You may commence the assault, fanboys!
I’d like to see a fuller color palette. No one says that Snyder and WB have to make everything in vivid technicolor, but I’d like to actually see my superheroes rather than just their outlines, please. I’d like to see this movie show a little vibrancy and life.
Seriously, I want this movie to excite me. I want to eagerly await my opportunity to spend 2 hours with its characters. I want to want to rewatch it over and over again, thrilled by adventures and moved by characters I love. I want to be excited about the budding DC Universe.
But so far, the marketing does none of that for me. In the end, I am more enticed by images that embrace the beautiful and expressive variety offered by the medium’s comic book origins, such as these…
…than by something that takes probably the most iconic superhero of them all – a costume that is visually brilliant and intentionally inspiring – and makes him look like he needs a laxative, a dry cleaner, and a bath.