Kristen Wiig was rumoured to be in talks to play Wonder Woman villain, Cheetah, for a few days before it became official yesterday.
As expected, this led to a lot of discussion online and it appears that most of the supporters of this decision were either rabid Wiig fans or people who appealed to the “Heath Ledger” argument. When Heath Ledger was cast as The Joker many people, myself included, were very skeptical of the decision. Ledger then went on to blow most people away and deliver my favourite portrayal of The Joker.
What people need to realize is that Ledger was the exception to the rule. He is one of the very few questionable casting decisions that turned out to be a wise choice. For every Ledger Joker, we also get Jared Leto Joker (which has not aged well in my opinion).
Another issue is that some actors or actresses are not suited for certain roles. Colin Firth is a great actor but I don’t think he’d make a good choice for Wolverine, or Jack Reacher. Wiig may have the acting chops for a serious role but that still does not mean that this is a good role for her.
I will hold out some hope for this casting since I thought Gal Gadot would fail to carry a movie as the lead. However, I am not going to jump on the bandwagon and put blind faith in this casting decision working out perfectly.
Reviews have started pouring in and Wonder Woman looks like it is the DC Extended Universe’s (DCEU’s) first critical darling.
I have never been one to follow critics blindly, but this is still news that I am happy to hear. In my opinion, Man of Steel was a decent (7/10) film hampered by some weak acting and some pacing issues. Batman v Superman came across as a rushed buildup to the Justice League, with a terrible portrayal of Lex Luthor and a weak third act. Suicide Squad… let’s just move on.
Box office success is always imprtant to fans since a film is more likely to spawn a franchise if it is financially successful. If a film is not intended to be a franchise, financial success can still be good for fans since it is validation that other people watched something they enjoy. This is easy to understand but people often seem confused about why fans care abor critics. While the reviews may not impact my own enjoyment of a single film, they can have implications for a franchise. Batman v Superman nearly grossed one billion dollars but was still considered a box office disappointment rellative to expectations. Suicide Squad was a success financially but was critically panned. A string of films like this can cause studios to lose faith in directors or an entire film universe e.g. all the fanboys crying for the X-Men rights to back to Marvel after X:Men Apocalypse.
Wonder Woman is a chance to prove that a female led superhero film can be a critical and financial success, and that the DCEU ship can right itself. People who may have lost interest in the DCEU before, will be more likely to see Wonder Woman. If they like Wonder Woman, they’ll be more likely to see The Justice League, and so on. The DCEU can’t really be considered a failure prior to Wonder Woman, but it didn’t appear to be headed in the right direction.
One of my worries is that the good reviews are attributed SOLELY to the lighter tone. Wonder Woman‘s “fish out of water elements lend itselt to comedy; and Steve Trevor has always been depicted as comic relief as well. I have no problem with humour, but hate when it becomes part of a formula that ultimately waters down an entire world. The mentality that the DCEU films just need more “fun” is rampant online. Even The Rock expressed this mentality when discussing bringing Black Adam to the big screen. “Fun” does not fit Black Adam at all, so now we’ll likely get a bastardized version of the character. MOS and BvS are always criticized for their “depressing” tone but let’s not forget that the lighter Suicide Squad was an even worse film (according to RT). “Fun” is not the only ingredient for good, and also does not have to be an ingredient for good. The Justice League trailers feature some humour that comes across as a cheesy response to all the MOS and BvS criticisms: “We added jokes. People will love it now.” Let’s hope the desire to add “fun” doesn’t overshadow other issues the previous DCEU films had. There is a tendency now to tie unrelated elements of the writing back to “fun”. “Fun” becomes the root that all quality springs from in some people’s minds.
With that said, I am eager to see if Wonder Woman lives up to its hype.