Oy. Oyyyyyy. Okay, I’ll concede that a Wonder Woman movie is a tough prospect. What people like about the George Perez reboot—that it’s epic and mythological—could come off as complicated and confusing on screen. But if Lord of the Rings can spend ten lousy minutes on the backstory…

I’ll stop, I’ll stop. Now, the idea of a Wonder Woman movie has been kicking around for a long time. Today’s script actually dates back to July 2001, a year before Spider-Man kickstarted the present superhero movie craze. Producer Joel Silver knew he needed someone who could write strong female characters, streamline decades of comic book continuity, and present an entertaining story on top of it. So he hired Joss Whedon. In 2005. But back in 2001, Todd Alcott, writer of noted feminist treatise Antz, was hired.

They didn’t hire a director or anything, but Sandra Bullock was the frontrunner to play Wonder Woman. And you should’ve seen my face when I researched that. “Of fucking course.” It made so much sense! This is a Sandra Bullock movie, just one where she becomes a superhero instead of breaking up a wedding or dressing in drag. That’s because this Wonder Woman doesn’t wrestle with overwhelming responsibilities, or question her allegiance to mercurial gods, or wonder at her own humanity. No. She’s klutzy. In fact, to quote Mindy Kaling:

When a beautiful actress is cast in a movie, executives rack their brains to find some kind of flaw in the character she plays that will still allow her to be palatable. She can’t be overweight or not perfect-looking, because who would pay to see that? A female who is not one hundred per cent perfect-looking in every way? You might as well film a dead squid decaying on a beach somewhere for two hours.

So they make her a Klutz.

The hundred-per-cent-perfect-looking female is perfect in every way except that she constantly bonks her head on things. She trips and falls and spills soup on her affable date (Josh Lucas. Is that his name? I know it’s two first names. Josh George? Brad Mike? Fred Tom? Yes, it’s Fred Tom). The Klutz clangs into stop signs while riding her bike and knocks over giant displays of fine china in department stores. Despite being five feet nine and weighing a hundred and ten pounds, she is basically like a drunk buffalo who has never been a part of human society. But Fred Tom loves her anyway.

–Mindy Kaling, Flick Chicks

But we’ll get to that. Also joining me today to comment is tumblr commentator lettersfromtheattic, who runs the Themyscira blog dedicated to Wonder Woman. Let’s all be on our best behavior, kids.

So the script starts off in the Swiss Alps, where Wonder Woman… okay, sorry, sorry, gonna stop right there. As I said in my review of David E. Kelley’s Wonder Woman pilot, I think they’re assuming a familiarity with Wonder Woman on the part of general audiences that just doesn’t exist. Sure, the average joe knows the deal with Batman or Spider-Man, but Wonder Woman? They may mumble something about spinning around really fast or having a magic lasso, but that’s what Wonder Woman does, not who she is.

It just kinda bewilders me that with Spider-Man and Superman, movie companies will tell the origin story over and over again, but with Wonder Woman, they just go “yeah, sure, everyone knows about Wonder Woman, let’s just get in there.” But alright, fine, I’ll stop interjecting, on with the review.

In the Swiss Alps, thuggish Cyrus is making a trade with nerdy Scott. Cyrus puts ten million dollars into Scott’s account, while Scott gives Cyrus a canister full of glowing green metal. Is anything glowing green in the movies a net good? The Predator’s blood, Kryptonite, Ryan Reynolds’ costume in Green Lantern… seeing it always means something unspeakably evil is going to happen soon.

Lettersfromtheattic: yeah, i have a problem here too – we jump into a scene that’s all mysterious, kind of a typical action movie set up. But it’s with two random guys! I find it hilarious re: exhausting that even in a film with one of the most iconic female superheroes, who has an extensive female rogue gallery, we have to open the film and frame her introduction in relation to men

Kickpuncher: Oh God, you’re reading this for the first time. Save up your bitterness. I know you think you have an unlimited supply, but trust me, you’ll need it.

Lettersfromtheattic: I stayed off tumblr today to reserve my shade.

Kickpuncher: Do people still do that? Am I old?

Lettersfromtheattic: haha my friend julie does it all the time. I feel mid 20s is old in internet years, so I’m settling in for my e-retirement.

Kickpuncher: I’m 25. I’m the Murtaugh of the partnership.

Cyrus is leaving with “all the Nitronium in the world” when Wonder Woman flies down to intercept him. And here’s where I’ll introduce the Official Wonder Woman Script Review Drinking Game. Take a shot every time the script mentions how hot Wonder Woman is.

He turns back around to find himself face to face with DIANA PRINCE, 30, a tall, statuesque brunette with cascading raven-black hair, coal-black eyes and cupid’s bow lips. She wears a snug, fur-lined flight jacket over a black, form-fitting catsuit.

This is the only image Google could come up with featuring the same "look". Thanks, fuckyeah1980s!

Just for comparison, let’s look at how Superman is described when he first appears in Christopher Reeve form.

SUPERMAN stands in his classic outfit, arms folded, gazing intently back up at the CAMERA which represents JOR-EL. He is older now. A handsome, strong man, his intelligence, warmth, and compassion shining through his clear eyes as the final words of JOR-EL flow through him.

But, ya know, Wonder Woman has cupid’s bow lips. It’s really important that the audience know that.

 

Lettersfromtheattic: Yeah, the descriptions of the characters are really revealing – both the men get interesting characterizations “like a stick, twitchy” etc, where you just get this impression of Diana as a really lovely statue.

 

Cyrus, as it turns out, is a rogue agent of the intelligence agency Wonder Woman works for (yes, yes, I’ll get to that). Wondy is interrogating him about the case when Cyrus grabs a convenient little girl and throws her off an even more convenient cliff while he makes a break for it. Diana, naturally, saves the little girl. Cyrus jumps onto a high-tech prototype snowmobile while Diana returns the little girl to her family. Diana flies after Cyrus, pretty much just toying with him (keeping pace with him to say “Nice ride.”) until she ropes the snowmobile with her lasso and—lets herself be dragged behind it “as if water-skiing.” Cyrus tries to get away on a railway bridge, but gets his snowmobile destroyed by an oncoming train and almost falls to his death before Diana lassos him. She throws him against the mountain and pins him there with “HER HIGH-HEELED BOOT ON HIS CHEST.”

Lettersfromtheattic: Also: why is she wearing high heeled boots? Even when they show Diana with a heel in comics, it’s always a boot cut heel. ugh men

Kickpuncher: It’s like if the comic book Superman didn’t have red tights and they added that in for the movie.
Anyway, this an okay sequence—Wonder Woman isn’t really challenged or have to do anything neat to succeed other than, I don’t know, not text during the high-speed chase, but it’s alright. Then Wondy CRUSHES CYRUS’S HAND so she can take the handcuffed briefcase off him. Couldn’t she just break the chain? I know she’s upset over him putting a little kid in danger, but when a superhero’s whole character is tied up in how not a sadist she is, can we not introduce her as torturing someone for no reason?

And they did this in the David E. Kelley Wonder Woman too! Newsflash: Strong female character is not an euphemism for sadistic female character. A heroine can still be awesome even if she doesn’t needlessly Jack Bauer the bad guys. No one is going to go “oh, man, this chick is such a girl, she just brought that guy to justice without taking it on herself to cause him intense pain!”
And if they are, they’ve got four good Batman movies to watch. Jerk off to those.

 

Lettersfromtheattic: This was terrible AWFUL. You would never see Supes hurting a villain just for kicks.

Kickpuncher: Well, maybe in the DCnU.

Lettersfromtheattic: Let us not speak of the abomination

Kickpuncher: Yes. Tis a silly place.

Lettersfromtheattic: Diana would NEVER do this – the core of her character is that she is a warrior for peace. Yes, she has killed before, but only when she saw no other option to keep innocent people safe. Even then, she didn’t do it in a wanton act of violence manner, but quick and efficient. The breaking of that guy’s hand is hitting my rageometer

Kickpuncher: It’s that so many writers see “strong female character” as synomous with “jerk.” And since Wonder Woman was literally created to be the antithesis of that idea…

Lettersfromtheattic: I think it comes from the twisted thought process that if women were to possess superior strength to men that we’d be abusing it all the time, that violence is the only way to show strength, which is the opposite of what Diana does really.

Kickpuncher: That’s interesting, because Nicholas Winding-Refn has been talking about his proposed Wonder Woman movie and one of his conceits is examining the notion of a female culture with superior strength to men. And usually when that’s depicted, it’s as a matriarchy that is (of course) evil and tyrannical. So I’m hoping he’s going somewhere different than this script is (which isn’t in that direction, but is disappointing in its own way).

Lettersfromtheattic: Yes, a lot of writers conveniently ignore the fact that matriarchical societies have and do exist right now without subjugating men in barbaric ways. It’s like the Orions in Star Trek, if you’ll let me nerd out for a moment. A race of women who rule the synidicates – but only through their pheremones and sex. Violence and sex are the only ways that writers tend to explore female power. I’d much rather see a Xena treatment for Wondy, you know?

Kickpuncher: Or through joining Starfleet and being awesome. TEAM GAILA.

Lettersfromtheattic: She survived, this has to be a fact.

Kickpuncher: She was smiling. Meant she was on the Enterprise. No one smiles that much about being on the Farragut.

No one can smile this much after even hearing the word Farragut.

Moving on. Wonder Woman leaves Cyrus, “bound but alive,” in front of a police station and checks out the Nitronium by taking it out and running her fingers on it. Oh yeah, that’s smart. Why not just lick it, that’s a great way to identify glowing green metals.

Cut to Gateway City, “San Francisco’s evil twin” (NOT. ONE. WORD.). It’s basically Gotham City, this crime-ridden hellhole that needs a hero. Given later revelations about Wonder Woman, I’m not sure how this place can be in such a state. I mean, what’s she been doing all this time to fix up this city she wants to be in good condition? Shopping for high-heeled boots, I guess.

In Marston Tower (hey! I see what you did there!), Diana is meeting with fellow agent Trombly in her apartment.

Diana’s apartment is handsome, spacious and high-tone, but also dark, austere and sterile. Stone slabs, dark oak, brushed chrome, recessed lighting.

Oh. I get it. She’s on Trading Spaces with Batman. All the Bruce/Diana shippers will be thrilled.

Lettersfromtheattic: Yeoch, felt that right in the kisser, but on the real, they seem to be treating Diana as this unholy lovechild of Superman and Batman–superstrength and grimdark.

Anyway, the “two old soldiers” commiserate over Cyrus’s betrayal, with Diana pushing “her sumptuous black mane of hair up off her forehead.”

TROMBLY
So you tell me: is the world sailin’ down the crapper or was it always this bad?

DIANA
Well, I have to say, the world was in pretty bad shape when I first got here.

Trombly looks at a PHOTO on one wall. It shows Diana posing before the Eiffel Tower with a handsome man in his sixties.

TROMBLY
Major Trevor musta been some guy.

DIANA
Yes. He was.

TROMBLY
Still, all this time, all this government work, all in the dark, no thanks, no glory, husband gone; y’ever think a getting’ out, takin’ off, goin’ home?

This seems to touch a nerve. Diana looks down, shakes her head, avoids Trombly’s eyes.

DIANA
Trombly—

TROMBLY
Okay, okay, never mind, I forgot, “don’t ask the lady about her personal life.”

Lettersfromtheattic: Her dialogue so far is pretty modern/sarcastic, which is throwing me off–like I’m not a diehard purist needing GREAT HERAs all over the place, but I tend to expect Diana to speak a little more formally.

Kickpuncher: What, you don’t want an A-list actress to say “Suffering Sappho!” in a big-budget blockbuster? I doubt your commitment to Wondy.

Trombly shakes her hand, but it’s a trick. Diana’s hands are covered in a gray putty. This counts as binding her, which means she loses her powers. Which seems like a really odd weakness to give her. I know it’s from the comics, but wasn’t that mostly discredited? It’d be like if in the Ryan Reynolds Green Lantern movie, he was allergic to wood or the color yellow, when clearly it was decent writing he was afraid of.

Anyway, to its credit, there follows a decent action scene where the depowered and bound Wonder Woman kicks the armed Trombly’s ass.

TROMBLY
But—I thought—

DIANA
(through her teeth)
No, you had it right. Cuffs make me into a normal woman

Lettersfromtheattic: I like the mention of Steve Trevor here, but I resent the fact that they got married. does that make sense? I think Steve’s pretty integral to Wondy’s story, but I much prefer where they’re friends.

Kickpuncher: Diana/Steve did work out on Earth-1. It comes down to personal preference. It’s way less of a deal-breaker than the handcrushing, for me.

Lettersfromtheattic: I have a weakness for Steve/Etta Candy. I thought it was very sweet.

Kickpuncher: BTW, I came up with a great fan-cast for Etta Candy. Catherine Tate.

Lettersfromtheattic: Perfection. Ok I like this action scene, because it shows that Wondy’s capable of kicking ass even without her powers.

Kickpuncher: And yeah, going by Superman Returns, at this point Kal-El’s response would be to get down on the floor and hope someone mistakes him for a red rug.

"Please, God, send a preadolescent boy and Kate Bosworth to save me!"

They end up dangling out the window, with Trombly begging Diana to pull him up. “I might be able to if some idiot hadn’t glued my hands together,” she replies. But they both end up taking the fall. How can Diana possibly get out of this one?

Well, she doesn’t.

Cut to Donna Troy, the same age as Diana with a striking resemblance to her, waking up from a nightmare.

Wait. I’m confused too. It’s a Wonder Woman movie… where Wonder Woman dies on page 16. I am not following this. It’s just a very odd structure. We don’t see Diana’s origin, we pick up in media res with her having been a superhero for literally decades. But then, instead of following her on a fun adventure, she gets killed off and we go straight to another origin, one which tells us nothing about Diana’s character or motivations. In fact, I actually thought for a while that this was meant to be an update to the old Lynda Carter TV show, like the Drew Barrymore Charlie’s Angels was.

Lettersfromtheattic: Can’t decide if i’m pleased or terrified.

Kickpuncher: Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Lettersfromtheattic: Oh. Oh No.

I’m serious. The script’s Donna Troy has nothing to do with Amazons, a mission of peace, or Man’s World. She’s kind of an ugly precursor to the JMS reboot of Diana, in fact. And we’re going to spend a lot of time on her origin. So this structure takes the negative aspects of an origin story—we have to spend a lot of time on world-building crap before we get to the fun stuff—and blends it with the negative aspects of an in media res story, like a TV show on season seven suddenly introducing a new character to liven things up. It’s a Brady Bunch movie focusing on Cousin Oliver. I don’t want to see Cousin Oliver in a Brady Bunch movie. I want to see Marsha. MARSHA MARSHA MARSHA!

Lettersfromtheattic: I just want to burn it all to the ground.

Kickpuncher: I heard Liz Lemon saying that.

She looks around her bedroom. Her undersized, overstuffed, lived-in bedroom. There’s a certain amount of arrested development on display. While Donna is not without taste, she has nevertheless decorated her apartment in the manner of a rather staid college girl, with frilly drapes, stuffed animals, a framed poster from a museum show.

And Donna was on Trading Spaces with Selina Kyle from Batman Returns! Wow, that show must be really popular in the DC universe.

Donna splashes herself with water in the bathroom—do people really do that?—as she remembers the dream, which was of Diana’s death, with a first-person POV of Trombly attacking her. So, when one Wonder Woman dies, the next one gets superpowers and has dreams about the other one dying. No wonder they hired Joss Whedon later on; they were already ripping off his Buffy The Vampire Slayer.

Lettersfromtheattic: BAZINGA. This is a train wreck.

Kickpuncher: Admittedly, Faith does equal Artemis in this equation. And now I want that fanfic.

Lettersfromtheattic: That would be such a good crossover.

Kickpuncher: Faith: Let’s learn you how to dance, Red. Artemis: We’re not going anywhere until you can hold a sword properly, pup.

Lettersfromtheattic: Artemis/Diana is one of my all time favorite relationships in Wondy’s books. Is she ruined by this script? Warn me now.

Kickpuncher: I’m more Diana/Io, but then, I’m also of the opinion that Diana is totally poly. And don’t fret, Artemis doesn’t show up to be ruined. She’s free. Free!

Lettersfromtheattic: Thank God.

Wearing “thick horned-rim glasses,” Donna goes out to find a commotion at the plaza of Marston Tower. Detectives Mike Schorr and Dan Raspler are looking over Trombly’s body, but Diana is nowhere to be found. Yeah, don’t get your hopes up. The investigation is a joke aside from Mike, who—what, really, we’re going with Mike Schorr as a love interest? I mean, God knows I don’t want to see Terry Long on-screen, I’m not some kind of freak (although Donna as a grieving widow/mother would at least give her character some gumption). But didn’t the Halle Berry Catwoman have a superhero-investigating cop who fell for her civilian identity too?

Why do superhero movies always have these cops-investigating-vigilantes subplots? They’re always the same. “Looks like we’ve got a nut running around in tights!”, a scene of the cop picking through a battleground and learning what we saw for ourselves ten minutes ago, then at the end he goes “You’re not so bad” to the vigilante and lets him go. No one who watches a superhero movie is concerned with the police response to vigilantism. Stop casting middle-aged character actors in these parts!

Lettersfromtheattic: This whole movie is like a bizarre cut and paste between a bond film and a superhero flick.

Kickpuncher: I have a theory on that coming up.

Anyway, Donna sees the crime scene, Mike finds the Nitronium, and our villain for the evening arrives.

Out of the rear of the car steps DR. PETER SYCHOPOLOUS, 50. He has an extremely high forehead, an aquiline profile and PIERCING, PROTRUDING EYES. His alarming looks have earned him the nickname of DR. PSYCHO, although, of course, never, NEVER to his face. He wears an extremely expensive suit of the most haute of couture.

Now, in the comics, Dr. Psycho is a perverted little person with a hatred of women and psychic powers. You might say he’s a real… sinful dwarf.

And with that joke, I've won Pop Culture Bingo.

He’s also named Edgar Cizko, but whatever. The script’s Sychopolous is a man of average height who works as a defense contractor and wants to sell a doomsday weapon to a Russian despot. Basically, all he shares with the comic book Dr. Psycho is the name, and c’mon… it’s a pretty silly name.

By the way, you’d think a Wonder Woman story about a plot to bring about war and slaughter would feature Ares. You’d think.

Lettersfromtheattic: Soooo Dr. Psycho isn’t making a crazy plot against women in this film? He’s just insertsupervillain here? Boring.

Kickpuncher: On the one hand, it’s nice to have a female superhero movie where the villain’s plan has nothing to do with misogyny. On the other hand… it has nothing to do with much of anything.

Lettersfromtheattic: Why bother calling this Wonder Woman, they should just make up a superheroine, like Fantasticlass or something mindnumbingly beige.

Oh, and Psycho provided Cyrus with the snowmobile.     Frustrated writer’s note: Shouldn’t the snowmobile have been able to fly or shoot missiles or something to make it more of a match for Wonder Woman?

Perhaps turn into a Decepticon?

Donna goes home and accidentally breaks her doorknob with her new superstrength, meaning we’re in for some tiresome “discovering the powers” scenes. This was written before Spider-Man came out in 2002, but I’m sure both movies were in development for a while. And the stuff that comes later, like Donna no longer needing her glasses, seems to fit nerdy Peter Parker a lot better than frickin’ Wonder Woman, I mean come on. But basically, out of all the criticism you can make of a script where Wonder Woman is a spy, how about the fact that we don’t get to see her doing any cool spy stuff? It’s all this dumb stuff, which is seriously giving me trauma flashbacks to Catwoman. Keep reading, it is like 1:1. I guess while great minds think alike, crappy scripts think exactly the same.

Lettersfromtheattic: Yeah, it’s like they’re briefly flirting with Wondy’s white jumpsuit era, but without anything that made it interesting or tied back into her origins

Kickpuncher: Is Gloria Steinem still alive? I’m sure she’d have some choice words for that.

In Diana’s apartment, Mike finds a picture of Diana and Steve, figuring that she’s the missing person since Trombly had some hair off the “lissome beauty” in his hand. Just then, the Defense Intelligence Agency shows up to take over. They take the canister from Mike.

Lettersfromtheattic: Sweet baby Batman “lissome beauty.” Gag.

Kickpuncher: Take a shot.

Lettersfromtheattic: Who says stuff like this? Does anyone in Hollywood actually talk to other people anymore? NO ONE USES THESE ADJECTIVES.

Sweet baby batman, in case you were wondering where we got our ideas from.

And Donna goes to her job, EarthWorks, an environmentally friendly company that treats its employees to a very poor workspace. I guess that must be what the playwrights call… anthropomorphization? Something like that.

As she walks through the cubicle maze, people don’t give her a second glance. Employees repeatedly bump into her and brush by her while talking on cell phones.

She’s basically goddamn Mia Thermopolis from The Princess Diaries. That movie was aimed at kids, man. And again, exact same character as Patience Philips in Catwoman. I think Hollywood has a generic female superhero script they just Ctrl-F every time they have to put out a movie about a superheroine. “Alright, so in the comics, Platinum is a robot superhero who can stretch and flatten. But what if… we turned her into a put-upon office worker who gets magic superpowers, discovers she’s part of a long line of female action heroes, dresses like a biker chick, and becomes really hot? IMAGINATION!”

Lettersfromtheattic: Exactly! I need all these shots just to haze myself into reading more of the script.

Donna’s work-husband, Jeff, who is described as both “genial” and “affable,” shoots down Donna’s attempt to get the company to sell shower curtains from “HempRight.” Then she accidentally breaks the coffee pot and the water tap. She and Jeff are dunzo. “I won’t be working up the mild apathy to ask you out anymore!”

He goes. Donna looks gutshot.

DONNA
I hate Mondays.

Hang in there, kitten.

Then she uses her superspeed to catch the elevator and oh God, by this point in Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol: Too Many Colons, Tom Cruise is hanging off Dubai.

Lettersfromtheattic: Oh goody, another potshot about how men can’t handle strong women. Har har har I would be trying to suffocate myself in my popcorn by this scene. The only way this could be more cliche is if they were on a first date and these shenanigans were happening.

Kickpuncher: Like, if she had to twirl into Wonder Woman to stop muggings and things? And save cats from trees? That I could see being fun, in a trite sort of way. Like a Taylor Swift song. This is just… bad.

Lettersfromtheattic: This is terrible. They’ve ruined Diana, they’ve ruined Donna. W H Y. This is making the tv pilot look relatively good in comparison.

And make way, now it’s time for the exposition! In one huge chunk, we learn that Dr. Psycho plans to sell a robot jet to Dimitri Zarkova. No, the robot jet doesn’t turn out to be the invisible jet that Diana famously uses. That would actually be clever. The robot jet will instead deliver “the Wave Bomb” (why it’s called that when they specify that it doesn’t have a shockwave, I don’t know). Zarkova, an ousted dictator, will purge Moscow and take over once again. Everybody got that?

Yeah, we have four pages to spend on this total cliché of a plot, but no time to say what an Amazon is in a 112-page script. What and ever. “Dr. P. Sycho” (oh, god) gets a report that their third traitor in the DIA (you’d think an organization with access to a magical truth-telling lasso would have less moles) took the Nitronium from Mike, but it was shampoo. Diana gave Trombly a fake.

Lettersfromtheattic: Also we hit cliche action movie bingo by having evil Russians and trying to destroy Paris. What did the eiffel tower ever do to Hollywood?

Kickpuncher: Crap, my card has “large sassy black woman who won’t tolerate any shenanigans.” I was THIS close. If this were Armageddon, I would’ve won.

Lettersfromtheattic: I’m sure they’ll find a way to ruin the Wall too.

Kickpuncher: They did. It was called Green Lantern.

Lettersfromtheattic: Badoom swish.

I’m not a screenwriter, but it seems odd that the script spends a lot of words on just how crappy the scenery is.

Mike trudges down a hallway somewhere deep within precinct headquarters, grinding his teeth. The police, like all other government services in Gateway City, are severely underfunded, and the design shows it. The building hasn’t been updated in at least fifty years. Everything is in bad repair and woefully out-of-date. The walls are stained and cracked, the pale beige walls patched and repainted, the scuffed linoleum tiles worn through in high-traffic spots. The grimy overhead fluorescents hum and buzz. Half the asbestos ceiling tiles are missing, the other half are covered with brown water stains. Exposed pipe and ducts everywhere, with asbestos insulation hanging down like jungle snakes.

Whew! I think the writer is less concerned with feminism than he is with the importance of building maintenance.

Lettersfromtheattic: Seriously, is this Gotham?

Kickpuncher: It wishes. It’s not even Bludhaven.

Lettersfromtheattic: Can Harley and Ivy show up, then this movie would be interesting.

Kickpuncher: They need to be saved for a BOP movie.

Lettersfromtheattic: I just hit THE REVEAL scene where they talk about Diana’s wacky genetics. I mean clearly, she’s the last son of krypton, it’s the only explanation.

Kickpuncher: Oh, the origin stuff in this script is just…It makes Morlun look good.

"Remember me? I'm the only supervillain whose head Spider-Man had eaten!"

Anyway, Mike goes to the forensics lab, where we learn things we already know. Wonder Woman’s hair shows she isn’t quite human (wow! How shocking!) and Nitronium is something really weird and strange (my god! Stop shocking me! I may faint!). We have time for that scene, but not Amazons.

Okay, I spoke too soon. Donna dreams about Themyscira; flashes of dramatically lit BEAUTIFUL YOUNG WOMEN in curvaceous, bizarre armor, holding weapons both ancient and advanced in design. Take a shot.

They tell her to wake up and she goes, her eyes glazed over, tearing up her apartment. Item after item flies out, frilly dresses, frumpy sweaters, flowing skirts. Yes! Become a stronger, more prepossessed woman! Dress sexier!

Lettersfromtheattic: Oh boo we have a makeover scene in this too?

Kickpuncher: I wish. Could you imagine something like Diana Krueger in Inglorious Bastards? But with armor? At least it’d be a little clever. The music’s going MAKEOVER MAKEOVER MAKEOVER MAKEOVER MAKEOVER while Diana’s tooling up.

Lettersfromtheattic: I wish they had run Diana’s DNA and been all “my god, it’s all clay!” that would have been a bit more satisfying.

By the way, we’re thirty pages in and I’m not counting this as Wonder Woman showing up, since she’s in a trance here. This entire sequence has no effect on her character. You could’ve skipped over it to have her waking up post-crimefighting and it’d do nothing to the script.

But anyway, Donna goes to Diana’s apartment, where she enters a secret vault…

Elsewhere, there’s a hostage situation in a church. Terrorists have taken a bunch of six-year-olds hostage and are threatening to use “EZ-12” (?) to blow up the building. The situation is about to blow when Batman… sorry… Donna Troy drops through the skylight.

She is almost unrecognizable. No glasses, no goofy threads, no gawky reticence. Her eyes are milky grey, her hair is slicked back and fixed with a leather strap, she’s dressed in a form-fitting black catsuit. Silver wrists gauntlets, golden lasso on her hip. She is a fierce, focused, terrifying warrior of the night.

Oh. Right. This is about the same time that Jon Peters wanted Superman to wear a black trenchcoat or something, right?

Lettersfromtheattic: MY ALTER EGO/SISTER IS DEAAAAAAAAAD.

Kickpuncher: Instead of posing with gargoyles, Diana would pose with, like, women statues? Like, on the prow of a boat or something.

Lettersfromtheattic: And she’d pout those cupid bow lips because sexism is over!

Kickpuncher: Or with store mannequins.

Lettersfromtheattic: Just chillin in a Macy’s window.

Kickpuncher: Brooding while popping her hip. THIS FEATHER BOA GOES GREAT WITH ANGST.

But we really should stop being... so... ridi... cu... lous...

Lettersfromtheattic: By this point in Batman’s origin movie he had already had a sick fight with Liam Neeson and started strategizing with Morgan Freeman about how to be a badass.

Kickpuncher: It’s trying to be a spy movie, though. But by this point in Casino Royale, Bond had already killed five people.

Lettersfromtheattic: This is a terrible spy movie, this is like the I Spy of spy movies.

Kickpuncher: No, I Spy has Famke Jannsen. I love Miss Congeniality, but Bullock is no Jannsen. Jannsen for Artemis!

Lettersfromtheattic: She’s done way more drama and comedy than action movies recently, I can’t see Bullock in this role. I mean, 10 years ago, I don’t know how I would have felt.

Kickpuncher: Ummm… I think Speed?

Lettersfromtheattic: Probably would have pushed for Lucy Lawless at that point in my life.

Kickpuncher: Even back then, she was really too much of an everywoman.

Lettersfromtheattic: Yeah, that was more her helping out Keanu.

Kickpuncher: Which is what they’re pushing for here, but not who Wonder Woman is. It’d be like Tom Hanks as Batman.

Lettersfromtheattic: That’s what bugs me about this script, I don’t get why they’re bothering to call this a Wonder Woman film there is next to nothing that ties to her comic, except that she’s super strong and has bracers and a lasso.

Kickpuncher: Just you wait…

Anyway, in a rather long sequence, Donna kicks the asses of a bunch of Muggles while never being in any real danger. They don’t even shoot bullets; they have guns that shoot the putty used to bind Diana (one, that’s a really goofy visual, and two, given that Dr. Psycho thinks Diana escaped and has set up this situation as a trap, why would he think the putty is effective?).

Frustrated writer’s note: This could’ve been a chance to place Donna in jeopardy by emphasizing how inexperienced she is with her powers, like the scene in Captain America where a freshly-popped Steve has to chase down a Nazi spy, but by putting Donna in Avatar State, there’s no suspense whatsoever to this action scene. It’s a god-like warrior knocking down tenpins.

Oh, and the hostages are never in trouble, so even that can’t liven things up. But they do comment on the action, showing how down the author is with youth culture.

Up on the altar, the children are plainly stunned.

CHILD
That girl is wack.

CHILD 2
No she ain’t, she’s dope.

What did children ever do to you, Todd Alcott, that you would try to force two of them to say that?

Lettersfromtheattic: Even for 2001 that dialogue sucks. That’s like… early 90s slang–bad early 90s slang.

Kickpuncher: Tim Drake early 90s slang.

Lettersfromtheattic: This is like when your parents try to talk to you “on your level.”

Or tell you not to smoke.

This goes on for five pages. Afterwards, Mike and his lovingly-described crap computer check out Nitronium. It’s a “lost element” that was created in the 19th century by scientists who died before they could make notes about the process. I’m glad to see that note-taking in the comics hasn’t improved any over the last hundred years.

Suddenly, Mike’s partner turns on the news to, of course, Donna Troy saving the day and being named “Wonder Woman” by one of the kids. Because that’s a phrase a kid would use. I guess “Power Ranger Lady” was taken.

Lettersfromtheattic: I kinda love when they have to explain character names–like when Lois has to go “oh, what a super man. Wait a tic, super… man…. SUPERMAN.”

Kickpuncher: They should just have J. Jonah Jameson name every character ever. MEANWHILE, IN NEW YORK, AT THE DAILY BUGLE…

Lettersfromtheattic: And everyone else in the universe is all “yeah that name is super cool and not lame at all.”

Kickpuncher: Hey, would you argue with Lois Lane?

Lettersfromtheattic: I would make out with Lois Lane.

Kickpuncher: All the more reason for her name to go through.

Lettersfromtheattic: Haha thats her secret. No one tells her the name is lame because she gives them the stare down and/or makes out with them.

Kickpuncher “Lois, Superman, really?” “Shut up and take it, Clark. Take the name.”

Dr. Psycho, who’s been watching from his car the whole time, reveals he set up the hostage situation to draw Wonder Woman out. He plots to use facial-recognition software to find her. If only she’d worn Frank Miller’s tiara with the funky nose-guard.

Lettersfromtheattic: Oh goody, the villain just called Donna “sweetheart.” I’m taking a shot because that’s my number one pet peeve. I love being patronized by men I don’t know!

Kickpuncher: Just once, I’d like an evil overlord who respects women. “Yeah, I could be misogynistic, I’m evil, it comes to the territory, but you know what? Fuck you, fanboys, I love ladies!”

Lettersfromtheattic: We’d have to find a writer who respects women first.

Kickpuncher: “Ma’am, I fully intend to beat you up so I can continue with my bank heist, but I’d like to apologize for my henchman calling you the B-word. THIS IS WHY WE HAVE SENSITIVITY TRAINING, PEOPLE.”

Lettersfromtheattic: Lmao. God, Todd, you always do this. Reporting you to the Minion’s League.

Kickpuncher: And he’d throw so much shade at Dr. Light.

Lettersfromtheattic: That’s a villain who never ever needs to come back EVER.

Kickpuncher: “I just tie women up so they won’t interfere with my fiendish plans. But thanks to SOME PEOPLE, it has negative connotations. Do you know how hard it is to tie someone up so it won’t appeal to a bondage fetishist? Hard! Ask that Grayson kid.”

Lettersfromtheattic: Lmao. You know if Dick Grayson’s butt made an appearance, I could stomach this movie.

Kickpuncher: He’s trying to carry Starfire to the gladiatorial combat she’ll be forced to fight in, but there’s really no good way to carry a woman in that outfit. “Steve, get me a blanket. I’m just gonna wrap her up first. A thick blanket. Look, I want to force her to fight Superboy to the death for my viewing pleasure, but she still deserves her dignity as a person.”

Lettersfromtheattic: Lmao. He’d give workshops when he’s locked up to the other villains.

Kickpuncher: “Mad Hatter, no. No. Do you want a woman to like you for you or for your hypnotic hat?”

"The Joker did WHAT to Batgirl? He... did... WHAT!?"

Donna wakes up naked and bloody in her trashed apartment. Empowering! She goes to the bathroom to wash up.

She studies her face: a startling new kind of beauty has invaded her features. What once was mousy now has the cast of the gladiator. She has, somehow, overnight, gained a kind of confidence, force and animal grace.

Take a shot!

Realizing she’s Wonder Woman, Donna goes to work and hides the McGuffin in her office. Her co-workers are talking about Wonder Woman, with the men dismissing her and the women going on about how great she is. Gender politics!

MALE WORKER
Ah, it’s just the media, you know—

JEFF
Last year it was Survivor, this year it’s Wonder Woman.

Okay, I don’t think anyone in the world is so sexist that they wouldn’t be impressed by a woman smashing into a hostage situation, knocking out multiple terrorists, and then flying away. “Yeah, that was okay, but let’s see her pee standing up!”

Lettersfromtheattic: It’s totally unbelievable, but I also think Jeff is a colossal douche, so this adds to that.

Suddenly, everyone stops to notice how hot Donna is now and Jeff even asks her out on a date. She leaves, going to the church where she runs into Mike again. They flirt and he gives her his card. I’m not sure the Official Hollywood Female Superhero Script was tuned enough, it seems especially generic here.

DONNA
What do you want from me?

Mike shrugs and smiles.

MIKE
I’m just looking for some answers.

DONNA
Who isn’t.

Name one movie in the last ten years that exchange couldn’t have come from.

Lettersfromtheattic: This is what annoyed me about the Odyssey storyline in the comics. I liked Diana because she wasn’t constantly angsting about who she was boohoo fortress of solitude bat crys, she was looking for ways to make the world more peaceful. I liked that she was focused on her mission for most of volume 2 and 3. The trend of whiny superheroes is so lame for me – there’s only so many existential crises I want to shell out 12 bucks for, you know.

Kickpuncher: At least Captain America had angst about being in a musical number. That was novel. But you could tell he was into it. If this writer was doing it, he’d be TORN BETWEEN TWO WORLDS.

Lettersfromtheattic: Exactly.

"I guess a superhero would have to be crazy to want to be a Broadway star..."

Lettersfromtheattic: I half expect Donna to go swanning around singing Not a Girl, Not Yet a Wonder Woman. Jeez.

Donna leaves and the DIA, knowing that Mike has kept investigating, forces the chief to suspend him. He turns in his gun and his badge. “You can’t take me off the case, chief! This one goes all the way to the top! The biggest cocaine shipment in this city’s history is coming in tonight! And he has my daughter!”

Dr. Psycho has uncovered Wonder Woman’s identity, so he sends three men to get her. Because the six guys in the church fared so well, I’m sure half their number will do even better! They break into her apartment as she’s… bathsturbating?

She visibly relaxes as the warm water hits her. Audibly moans, melts. She slides down, down, down, until her head disappears beneath the suds. Her moans can still be heard warbling as the bubbles of her breath hit the surface.

Uh, Todd? Todd, you still with me? The script, Todd? Snap out of it!

Oh, and the assassins are armed with putty guns, because that stuff worked so well the other two times. What, does Psycho have a bulk discount? Look, she deflects bullets with her bracelets. Doesn’t that imply she’s vulnerable to bullets? Just shoot her.

Donna escapes through the window, but falls off the fire escape and takes flight with all the grace of Pumaman. You know, crashing into stuff, hitting flagpoles, scaring old ladies through windows. It all seems a little familiar…

Lettersfromtheattic: Lmao.

Kickpuncher: That might be a little too old. I need a nice, contemporary Puma Man reference.

Lettersfromtheattic: This just reminds me of when the Fantastic Four are all exchanging powers. Wacky hijinks! Yawn.

She lands, stepping on a piece of glass with her bare foot. Ummm… was that supposed to be funny? Because it’s kinda gross. Also, if she can take a punch from Superman, shouldn’t her skin be too tough for glass to puncture? She runs to her office, where she finds that Jeff has been shot and killed (no! Who will she settle for now?) but the baddies haven’t found her stash. She takes the McGuffin and goes to Mike for some comforting clichés.

DONNA
What is happening to me?

MIKE
In my professional opinion, I have no idea. I’m not even on this case anymore. I could lose my job just for talking to you. You’re messed up in some industrial-strength weirdness.

Well. I’m glad to see years of policework have prepared him for comforting a woman who comes to his door hysterical and injured wearing nothing more than a bathrobe. But he eventually comes around and agrees to help her, going with her to Diana’s apartment.

Donna still wears some of Mike’s clothes. They look unexpectedly sexy on her.

Take a shot. But since Mike’s on suspension, it’ll take some canny tricks to get inside.

Mike and Donna stride through the lobby. The young, snippy DOORMAN approaches them.

DOORMAN
Can I help you gentlemen?

MIKE
Get lost, we’re cops.

Lettersfromtheattic: Really? REALLY?

Kickpuncher: Hey, Gateway City may be home to the scum of the earth, but if there’s one thing they respect, it’s the humble peace officer.

There’s a new lock on the door. Mike tries to pick it, but when he can’t, Donna bashes it open. They go to the secret vault.

It is a softly lit room with recessed lighting, ten by ten. It does not look like the secret room of a wealthy eccentric; it looks like the secret room of a space alien. There is not a single straight line in the place: it undulates, curves and flows.

There are stacked racks of clothes, unusual outfits made from unusual material, unlike any fashion of this world. They are the outfits of a future warrior, a huntress, designed for maximum practicality, mobility, durability. We recognize elements of the design from the flashes in Donna’s visions.

Donna pulls a dress out of the rack and looks at it: it is a fetching number covered with insanely intricate weavings and decorations, including an abstracted EAGLE design across the breasts. It has hip-high slits in the legs, a neckline that does down to the sternum, a woven metal belt with built-in compartments for knives, arrows and daggers, and a high-tech futuristic CROSSBOW mounted on the right sleeve.

So Wonder Woman doesn’t have a superhero costume in this, but she does have a dress. Great.

The feather boa of angst! I'm a visionary!

Lettersfromtheattic: I think the crossbow is what’s giving me a massive migraine.

Kickpuncher: For me, it’s tiara or nothing. I mean, c’mon, a boomerang tiara. That’s just greatness.

Lettersfromtheattic: I’m so glad that this never came to be. This is hurting my soul. I didn’t think anything after the JMS run could hurt me like this.

While making jokes about Diana’s arsenal (“Slices, dices, makes Julienne fries.”), Donna finds pictures of Diana with Steve, showing him aging but Diana staying the same age. Donna puts on one of the bracelets and is mentally transported to Themyscira for a talk with Hippolyta.

After an, of course, long description of Themysciran architecture, the Amazons fly down to greet Donna.

They wear beautiful, form-fitting outfits made of the same kind of fabric that we saw in the vault; they are practical, striking and dead sexy.

Bartender, another round. And leave the bottle this time. I have a feeling we’re going to need it.

Lettersfromtheattic: This guy must be really into buildings. Ted Mosby, is that you?

They are each stunning in the way that any pure warrior is stunning;

Their beauty is fresh and natural, fearsome in its simplicity. None looks older than thirty.

Donna, naturally, banters out some nervous one-liners because she has no personality. “Nice place you’ve got here.” Bruce Campbell she ain’t.

HIPPOLYTA, their leader, a particularly tall, statuesque Amazon in a particularly elaborate, smashing ensemble drops down behind her and alights, regal and poised.

No, no, stop drinking. I’m taking the bottle away. I think you have a problem, man.

Donna starts talking about how she just wants to be normal and she wants Hippolyta to give her her life back, because that’s what people do in these scripts, even if the script made a point of how their life sucked. Donna admits that she can fly.

HIPPOLYTA
Silly. A woman can’t fly. What you have is a finely tuned sense of balance. When you have that, you can balance on the smallest wisp of air.

Lettersfromtheattic: Believe it or not, i’m balancing on air–give me that bottle back.

Why are you drinking? No one said anything about being hot.

Well, we’re sixty-seven pages in, the script is halfway over… time for some backstory!

HIPPOLYTA
The Amazons were once enslaved by the Greek general Heracles. Our wrists were bound, unspeakable deeds were acted upon us. It took the blood of hundreds to win us our freedom. We wear our gauntlets, made from silver given us by Gaea, to remind us of the preciousness of our freedom. If an Amazon allows her wrists to be bound by a man, she loses her powers until she is again unbound.

Okay, script. Don’t tell us anything about who the Amazons are, why they were created, or what they believe in. Don’t even tell us about Diana herself and how she came to be, or who she is. Just mention that they were all raped. Fantastic.

Donna, for some reason, is having none of this, trying to leave because “people don’t really believe in the Greek gods anymore.” Really? Strange visions, mysterious powers, a secret civilization alien to the world of man? You don’t wanna hear about any of this? What, do you have tickets to a Lakers game? Sit down and shut up, this is important. Hippolyta goes on to say that Diana, “always a soft touch for a hard luck story,”

Lettersfromtheattic: I’m really glad that Hippolyta can watch her film noir out on Themyscira.

went with Steve to fight the Nazis after his plane crashed on Themyscira. Wow. That sounds really interesting. Too bad we couldn’t see that movie. Hippolyta continues that the lasso was created by “Hephestus the thunder god” to be unbreakable, always be accurate, and compel men to tell the truth, in case you were wondering what its deal was.

Lettersfromtheattic: HEPHESTUS THE THUNDER GOD. Oh man, I think I just had a rage aneurysm.

Now it’s up to Donna to rescue Diana, since the Amazons can’t leave Themyscira… except for Diana, who… no, no, I’m not engaging.

Oh, and Diana is Donna’s mother.

HIPPOLYTA
But don’t you know? In Man’s World, the only way an Amazon Daughter gains power is when her mother loses hers.

What, but why… who… Did Diana get her powers from the goddesses? Why would they transfer to Donna? Has Diana ever been bound in the thirty years Donna’s been alive? Wouldn’t Donna have noticed suddenly getting superstrength? Why hasn’t there been any foreshadowing that Diana is an orphan, or adopted, or anything like that?

WHY WOULD ANYTHING WORK LIKE THIS?

You know what this is? This entire thing? They want to do a generic action movie with the Wonder Woman name on it, but they don’t want “all that feminism, peace talk,” so they came up with this elaborate non-origin origin story just to exclude that. It’s bullshit, it’s crazy. This script has less fucking feminist commentary than Sucker Punch. THINK ABOUT THAT.

Lettersfromtheattic: I’m glad that your rage is my rage. She’s Diana’s daughter, oh ok then…W H A T!

Kickpuncher: That actually is an okay quick ‘n’ ugly Troia origin, but God, the way it’s implemented.

Lettersfromtheattic: This is seriously making my brain ache.

By the way, one of the lesser-discussed aspects of Wonder Woman is that she’s a very large figure, in-universe, in the public consciousness. In Perez’s reboot, she has her own advertising firm managing her image to help her promote causes. She’s a Big Deal. When Rucka comes along, he gives her a whole embassy as support staff. Even in David E. Kelley’s version, she has a corporation. She is consistently a mover and shaker at the highest level.

Well, not here.

DONNA
Well, but think about it. You’re a woman, you can fly, you have super-strength, you can force men to tell the truth, and you’re in love with a mortal navy pilot. You can’t draw attention to yourself, you can’t be a spectacle, the only way you can get anything done is to work in secret.

You know. Like Superman. Or Batman. Or… no male superhero ever. I don’t know, I think the whole ‘urban legend’ thing in superhero fiction is done to death anyway, and takes something away from the entire superhero concept. If you’re not trying to make an impression on the public at large, why even wear a costume? Just put on a ski mask and be done with it. But it’s especially ill-suited to Wonder Woman. She’s one of the Big Three! And here, she’s reduced to being a spook.

Imagine a Batman story where Bruce Wayne gets all his training and then comes back to Gotham to become a cop, or a Superman story where Kal-El becomes a fireman. That’s pretty much what’s happening here. Moreover, Diana isn’t running around on some generic “fight evil” quest. She’s trying to rid the world of war. Look, I love America, but speaking from a character perspective, I don’t see how Diana taking sides in what’s (to her) none of her business would bring about peace. What was she doing during Vietnam? Or during the Cold War? Wouldn’t the Soviets figure out her existence (Dr. Psycho sure did!)? Wouldn’t it make tensions between East and West run higher, like in Watchmen? Wouldn’t she have more of an impact by trying to educate the public consciousness and raise awareness of issues than by just mindlessly following orders?

And if she lives in Gateway City, why is it such a shithole? You’re telling me over sixty years, she did nothing to improve the place where she and her powerless daughter lived?

"Yeah, this looks like a great place for our daughter to be raised. Call out if you see a nun, Steve, I don't want to make another trip to drop her off."

Lettersfromtheattic: This whole movie is a logical inconsistency. She’s a bizarre amalgam of every other superhero with like a dash of wonder woman for flavor.

Oh, and now we get a chase scene. In a superhero movie. Mike is driving a car and the bad guys are driving a car and they all go really fast. This is just so much less interesting than the origin story they skipped over. We could be seeing Diana fighting mythological beasts and zombies and shit; instead we’re watching Donna sit in the passenger seat while her boyfriend drives her away from danger. Fuck.

After they’ve lost their pursuers, Donna forces Mike to stop the car by opening the door and driving her foot into the road, then gets out and tells him to go home because it’s Too Dangerous. She also suits up for the final confrontation.

She TAKES OFF her big man’s shirt: she has a BLACK TANK-TOP on underneath. […] She TEARS OFF THE LEGS of her men’s trousers, creating an impromptu pair of bicycle shorts. She’s suiting up for battle. […] She tears off a strip of fabric to tie back her hair. She takes out the golden lasso and attaches to her belt with the leather strap that would ordinarily hold Mike’s cell phone.

Please say something about that, because I’ve got nothing.

Lettersfromtheattic: MORTAL KOMBAT. I just had a mental image of Liu Kang, sorry this is bullshit. They just found the batcave with all the warrior outfits. Hell, Donna had that stuff back at her place. She can fly and she doesn’t go somewhere to get a better outfit? Really?

Kickpuncher: Also, no Wonder Woman twirl? I mean, you might as well at this point.

The bad guys catch up to them and there’s a fight between three non-powered assassins, one non-powered cop, and one god-like superhero. For some reason, this takes four pages. Donna puts the lasso on one of the victims.

MIKE
Who are you working for?

CARLIN
Dr. Sych, Sycho—

DONNA
Dr. Psycho? What kind of a name is that?

Look, script, you’re the one who created an entirely new character and named him Dr. Psycho. You don’t have room for a post-modern ironic “aren’t comics silly?” quip. You could’ve named him Fred if you wanted to. No one would’ve said “That was clearly Dr. Psycho, why are you calling him Fred?”

Lettersfromtheattic: Trying to hand a lampshade on your own invention is so weird.

Kickpuncher: Unless you’ve invented a lamp, of course.

Mike calls in the cops—I guess you can’t do that before you pull over to confront the assassins chasing you—and learns they’ve found a woman matching Diana’s description. They go to an awful hospital—okay, what’s the point of Gateway City being such a shithole, seriously now, what does it have to do with the plot? Wonder Woman isn’t such a dark character that she needs to live in Detroit.

They find Diana, who is conveniently delirious. Even more conveniently, the hospital can’t remove the putty from her hands (so… what happened to all the thugs Donna’s puttied with their own guns over the course of the script? Some of them got hit in the face. Did they die?).

Donna GOES TO HER AND TAKES HER FACE IN HER HANDS, TILTS IT TOWARD HER. DIANA, although ill, is STILL BREATHTAKINGLY BEAUTIFUL.

Take a shot.

Lettersfromtheattic: Are they both played by Bullock, I’m a little confused. I thought Donna was supposed to be like a carbon copy of Diana in this film.

Kickpuncher: Knowing the WB, they’d probably cast someone awesome as Diana, just to rub it in. “Enjoy your five minutes of Wonder Xena, noobs!”

Lettersfromtheattic: And I would cry into my pop like a little girl.

Donna frees Diana, who comes to and, recognizing Donna, starts apologizing for abandoning her.

DIANA
Why? Because of this. We gave you up, your father and I, hardest thing we ever did. But we wanted you to have a good, safe, normal life. And now—
(her voice breaks)
I’m sorry—

Yeah, you should be. After all, she did grow up to work at a crappy job in a cesspool of a city, for no reason. Where exactly would she be safer than with a superhero and a Navy pilot? Wonder Woman isn’t even a thing in this universe. Diana’s identity isn’t just secret, it’s super-secret. Christ. Also, you’d think an Amazon would be better about birth control, let alone abortion.

Lettersfromtheattic: I hate that they have her give up her kid. That would totally not happen. Why not take her to Themyscira? Or raise her themselves? I don’t get it.

Kickpuncher: Because… HEY, LOOK OVER THERE! No, I think the script’s about to do that.

Lettersfromtheattic: *sigh*

But before we can get into this INSANELY DRAMATIC TURN OF EVENTS, Mike reminds the girls that they have work to do. So, more exposition about the Nitronium and shit. They go to get the McGuffin Bomb, but Dr. Psycho has already broken into Mike’s apartment and stolen it. With his plan coming to fruition, he shoots his assistant, because he’s evil.

Team Wonder goes to register their displeasure.

DIANA
I guess they’re closed.

Donna TUGS ON THE DOOR HANDLE. The door COMES OFF ITS HINGES AND SHATTERS ON THE SIDEWALK.

DONNA
Now they’re open.

Shouldn’t this exchange be the other way around? What would Diana do if Donna hadn’t been there? “I guess they’re closed… better head home…”

Lettersfromtheattic: Lmao. Gotta love the wanton destruction of property.

Kickpuncher: “Bill it to Paradise Island, assclowns.”

Lettersfromtheattic: Beaton’s Wondy would be soooooo good.

"Moron! I hate everyone!"

They head inside.

MIKE
Shouldn’t take long? This guy manufactures top secret classified weapons systems, why do you think you can just hack into his system?

DIANA
(that Amazon smile)
What, you think because I’m an immortal Amazon warrior I don’t know anything about computers?

She throws Donna a wink as they head to the elevators, unaware of the RED BLINKING LIGHT above the front door, indicating a break-in.

I love that. It makes it sound like they would be shocked if they knew that the man developing top-secret weapons has a security system that can detect ‘kicking the fucking door open.’ They find out about the evil Soda Popinski and his plot to take over Russia—which we learned about sixty-four pages ago, so thanks for catching up. This is insane; the title character’s backstory is a mystery for an hour, but we know about the bad guy’s plot first thing.

Lettersfromtheattic: This movie is ass backwards.

Kickpuncher: I do like Wondy hacking. Even in this movie, Wonder Woman can pump gas, contrary to some writers’ beliefs.

Lettersfromtheattic: I also like the diana/donna team up, where they figure everything out
moves the pace faster, lets donna seem more intelligent than the klutzoid she was in the first half.

Kickpuncher: Although I’m not sure where Donna got all her knowledge of geopolitics. It’s a little late to handwave that.

Lettersfromtheattic: Would have made more sense if she worked in government instead of you know, the hippiecorp

Kickpuncher: She’s Leslie Knope.

Lettersfromtheattic: Hahaha.

Kickpuncher: Don’t laugh, that movie would be better. Ann could be the damsel in distress. Imagine the subtext! Just imagine! “Leslie, you can stop carrying me now, I’m safe. Leslie, there are reporters. Leslie, are you giving an interview while you’re holding me?”

Lettersfromtheattic: Haha Ann would be geeking out in delight. “Leslie, I just dropped a can of pop, it’s not – put me down Leslie, I’m FINE” and all their problems would happen at the pit.

Kickpuncher: Leslie would break up with Ann to protect her for everything.

Lettersfromtheattic: Except it would be The Pit.

Kickpuncher: “It’s too dangerous for us to be together. I can’t go shopping with you. I really wanted to.” “If my enemies knew we were both getting gelatos, they would try to get to me through you.”

Lettersfromtheattic: Lawd. They should do an episode like this, it would be fabulous. Possible alternate scenario for Diana and Donna : Wizards of Waverly Place style showdown for powers.

Kickpuncher: Ron as Professor X.

Lettersfromtheattic: I would believe that more than this crap.

Kickpuncher: “Mentor me, Ron!” “Teach me the difference between vengeance and justice!”

Lettersfromtheattic: Lmao does that make April Cyclops? Like a sarcastic hateful Cyclops?

Kickpuncher: Jean-Ralpho, OMG. “DANCE UP ON ME, MY X-MEN.” He’d be Emma.

Lettersfromtheattic: This movie is so bad that we’re creating crossover fanfic just to escape it. Like our IM jokes are better material than this script.

This is the closest I could get to Leslie Knope as a superhero. The alternative is Ron Swanson as Wolverine, of which there are a disturbing amount of Photoshops...

Kickpuncher: Rage in 3… 2… 1…

Diana calls Gaines and tells him to send in the Marines—which apparently you can’t do before the villain has fired up his death-plane—but Psycho’s cavalry has already arrived. Along with Mike’s partner, whathisface. Oh no, not him! We trusted you!

There’s a big tensionless fight between two superpowered women and the guards. Just wondering—how powerful is Wonder Woman in this? She’s mentioned as being able to send a limo flying by kicking it; how are “dozens” of guards a problem? For two of her?! Why can’t there be a superpowered bad guy, or a tank, or jets, or something, like in every other superhero movie ever? You don’t see Iron Man just slapping around guys in ski masks. He fights other robot people! Superman fights other Kryptonians! It’s no fun to watch someone play a videogame on God Mode.

And how can Donna have powers if Diana got her powers back? I thought it was a straight transition. If it’s like a watershed thing, why would it happen when Diana gets bound and is thus in the poorest possible state to teach Donna about her powers? Why wouldn’t Donna just get powers when she turns 30? At least that would explain why Donna and Diana happen to be the same age.

Anyway, blah blah, they fight, Diana starts limping and getting wounded, Mike kneecaps a bunch of guys (because why would stopping a WMD from being detonated necessitate lethal force?), then Mike gets shot and Diana sacrifices herself to save him.
Yup. Wonder Woman movie. Wonder Woman dies. That makes perfect sense. There’s not even any drama in this. Donna’s known this woman for five minutes. We’ve known her for ten! And we’ve never seen any longing on Donna’s part for a mother, or family, or anything like that.

So. Most famous superheroine of all time. Dies to save a boy. I’ve heard this script compared to The Mask of Zorro, where the elder Zorro dies and the younger Zorro takes over, but in that movie, Anthony Hopkins was always in the story. He didn’t just disappear for the entire middle. He was there, teaching Antonio Banderas, letting us get to know him. When he died, we felt something. Here, Wonder Woman is just a cameo in her own movie. She’s a less important character than the male love interest. God forbid a Wonder Woman movie pass the Bechdel Test for more than ten minutes. No, you just keep showing a man and a woman falling in love, we’ve never seen that before. Who would want to see a mother-daughter relationship between two superheroes when we can see a tough cop fall in love!!! I just don’t see how this could get any worse.

Donna lays Diana’s body down on a low counter. Even in death, she look stunning.

Of course.

Lettersfromtheattic: Uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuugh. I’m so glad there’s only like 15 pages left of this drivel. I want my imaginary money back.

Kickpuncher: Actually, as an usher, I can tell you that at this point in the movie, you can’t get a refund. After the half-mark. “I want a refund, I don’t like this movie!” “You liked the first half well enough.”

Lettersfromtheattic: I probably would have left in the first 10 minutes.

Literally angry with rage, Donna flies to Psycho’s bunker and doesn’t bother to knock.

PSYCHO
Good evening. Pardon, are you Diana Princes, or Donna Troy?

DONNA
You can call me Wonder Woman. And I’ll call you Dr. Psycho.

Oy vey. No, scratch that, I actually don’t know enough Yiddish to convey how awful that line was.

Lettersfromtheattic: Ayyyy dios mios. I hate that they’re setting up Dr. Psycho as the big bad for Wondy. There are so many awesome villains and you go with this one? Lamesauce.

As Dr. Psycho explains, he’s reprogrammed the jet to bomb Gateway City, so Donna can either capture him or stop the bomb. Or knock him out and stop the bomb. Or kill him and stop the bomb. Or tie him up and stop the bomb. Or bend some metal around him with her superstrength and stop the bomb.

But anyway, she chooses to literally let him walk away while she goes to stop the missile, as the audiences thrill to see a hero try to stop a doomsday weapon armed only with superstrength and the power of flight… in Superman: The Movie, which came out over twenty years earlier. Donna succeeds, naturally, and flies back to confront Psycho.

Deadly accuracy. The lasso catches him. He falls face down in the sand. She’s on him like a duck on a junebug.

Huh?

Lettersfromtheattic: Hahaha oh my God. Is she gonna call him a yella bellied varmint? Are we just spitballing vaguely folksy sayings?

Kickpuncher: Maybe he just saw a duck eat a junebug and thought “I can use this.” LIFE EXPERIENCE!

Lettersfromtheattic: I don’t even know what a junebug is. I’m guessing its a beetley thing or a cockroachy thing.

Kickpuncher: It’s like if a ladybug were a drag queen.

Don't be a drag, just be a queen.

With the lasso on him, Dr. Psycho has no choice but to admit to his innermost motivations (oh, right, characters are supposed to have those. Makes them do stuff). And he did it all because… he’s a greedy nihilist. Okay. I do have to wonder; if you’re running a successful defense company, why would you agree to sell a WMD to a terrorist? Yeah, it’d make a lot of money, but you’d also be hunted for the rest of your life. I mean, how much money can one man spend (especially while in hiding)? Is there that much a difference between ‘more money than God’ and ‘a lot more money than God’?

Lettersfromtheattic: Shhhhhhh don’t think too much about motivation, the writer certainly didn’t.

Well. I guess that about does it. The villain’s caught, his plan was foiled, there’s nothing left to do now but—

He WHIPS OUT A SET OF HANDCUFFS and slaps them on her wrists.

Seriously?

Donna is stunned. Her powers are gone.

We’re really doing this?

Psycho throws her off of him, gets up, shrugs off the lasso and KICKS HER HARD IN THE STOMACH.

Christ.

Lettersfromtheattic: Can’t let her have a buildup to triumph, gotta undercut it with TENSION

So they fight around the helicopter Psycho was trying to escape in. He tries to push her into the rotors, but she uses them to cut her bonds instead. Psycho runs for it, getting into the helicopter and taking off—okay, how fast is this guy? Does he get, like, a bajillion free actions as a perk for taking the name ‘Peter Sychopoulos’?

Anyway, he tries to get away, Donna grabs the chopper with the lasso, he crashes, and he’s hoist by his own petard, seeing as how he emphatically didn’t have a fear of dying in a helicopter crash brought about by a vengeful Amazon with a golden lasso.

"Thank God it wasn't a police car!"

Lettersfromtheattic: This ending is more of a mess than the middle of the script, and that’s saying something.

Donna returns to Mike to find that Diana’s body is gone—okay, for real now. Post-game wrap-up. Mike gets an offer to join the DIA as Donna’s handler, and an offer from Donna to handle her. And they ponder what was up with Diana’s body vanishing, I mean seriously.

DONNA
Hippolyta said that an Amazon loves to wander, but she always comes home.

Well. That explains everything.

Lettersfromtheattic: LAAAAAAAAAAAME. Ugh this script man, TERRIBLE. I’m completely unsatisfied. Why did we have this with Donna and Storr when we could have had a very similar movie with Diana and Steve?

Kickpuncher: You know how Salt started out as a movie about a guy and then they changed it to be about a woman? I feel like this happened here. They took a spy movie script, and added on some superhero bits. All of which were pretty generic. She breaks through a skylight like Batman. She chases down a missile like Superman.

Lettersfromtheattic: It’s like putting all the action movie cliches you have into a grab bag and pulling out tiles like scrabble.

Kickpuncher: I’m cool with canon changes that add to the thematic nature of a character, like… Tony Stark having a robot butler. But this was just… What was the point of doing this? There’s no love for the character here.

Lettersfromtheattic: At least Jarvis being a program kinda works with Tony being a tech genius
but there is so little thematic tie to Wonder Woman I just feel cheated. Like telling me I’m watching Superman, but giving him Spider-Man’s origin story and turning him into a barista or something. Why? What’s the point? People already have trouble “getting into” Wonder Woman, which I call BS on but whatever DC. Why would you muck it up by slapping a million genres on top of her superhero story? I’m super glad this wasn’t made into a film.

Kickpuncher: They just wanna add the name recognition to a generic movie.

Lettersfromtheattic: I’m kinda mad that execs seem so willing to futz around with Wondy’s stories, but seem to stick to the mythos for male superheroes like Bats and Supes. I mean Superman’s an alien who was raised by farmers – that’s a wacky story for people to swallow before you get into it. Wondy’s a warrior on a mission to bring peace to the world – at least she has ties to our own history. Ugh serious migraines happening.

Kickpuncher: Green Lantern’s backstory is 90% drug use and 5% misanthropy.

Three percent abs, two percent toe socks.

Lettersfromtheattic: The whole point of Diana was that she was supposed to be untouched by patriarchal norms, I hate when writers try to stuff her into cliche gender roles, or have her go through a makeover or angst over the love of a man. This script is a hodgepodge of things that will send Wondy fans into a rage – and even ignoring that, it’s just a terrible movie. The plot seems very contrived, the characters have unrealistic motivations. It’s a hot mess.

Kickpuncher: It’s a hodgepodge of stuff that’s done later, better on. The Spider-Man stuff, the rare doomsday element, it doesn’t work here, but in the hands of people who know what they’re doing…

Lettersfromtheattic: It would be interesting to see a Wondy script come out now, after the success of Thor and Captain America. Where it’s been proven that you can stick with the core of characters without modernizing them too much

Kickpuncher: And if Haywire is a success, there aren’t that many objections left. Final thoughts?

Lettersfromtheattic: This script was written a decade ago, without the benefit of the recent wave of superhero films that really developed the genre and set the audience up for suspension of disbelief and absorption of complex origins, so I was trying to give it the benefit of the doubt. But it really lacks coherency and heart – Wonder Woman isn’t written in a way that grabs the emotion of the audience, and has so little tie to the iconic character that I doubt diehard fans would bother to give this film a glance. It’s like My Super Ex Girlfriend with Wondy flavour, and it’s just terrible.

I hope that the success of the Marvel franchise and the Nolanverse Batman will give DC the thought to incorporate Wondy into the movie fold. I guess we’ll see how Supes does this next year.

Kickpuncher: Right, have fun with your paper. I will edit this together and see about making us look witty and urbane.

Instead of dorking about Deborah Ann Woll as Mary Jane Watson.

But how great would she be, c’mon.

Lettersfromtheattic: So awesome. I would watch a film that was just delightful redheads. Shut up Hollywood, take my money.

Kickpuncher: Poison Ivy, Batwoman, and Oracle in…

GINGER RAGE.

Lettersfromtheattic: Kori can come too.

Kickpuncher: With Karen Gillan as Starfire!

Lettersfromtheattic: Like a much better version of Red Hood and the Outlaws.

Kickpuncher: Cystic fibrosis is a better version of Red Hood and the Outlaws.

I'm not sure how to end this article, so here's 'Batman' from the same fashion show that gave us a Wonder Woman dress. Are you happy now, Joel Schumacher? ARE YOU HAPPY NOW?

[Comics Alliance]