‘Wonder Woman’ Director Just Confessed Her Take on Superheroes: ‘None of Them Are Cool’

Wonder Woman 1984 might have been the blockbuster many fans were most anticipating. But director Patty Jenkins’ movie wasn’t as well-received as perhaps anyone hoped it would be. Many fans and critics were mixed on Jenkins’ follow-up to 2017’s Wonder Woman. However, the filmmaker’s distinctive thoughts on comics might some light on her approach.

A Wonder Woman backdrop at CCXP 2019 Sao Paulo
A Wonder Woman backdrop at CCXP 2019 Sao Paulo | Alexandre Schneider/Getty Images

‘Wonder Woman’ was the first real hit female-led superhero movie

Before Jenkins made Wonder Woman, female-led superheroes had a rough time connecting with audiences. Both Marvel and DC had adapted their characters into films such as Supergirl, Catwoman, and Elektra. But all of those movies earned harsh reviews and disappointing box office. In fact, they often seemed to completely miss what made the characters so enduring.

Perhaps it’s fitting then that it took a female filmmaker to finally crack the code of making a universally beloved female-led superhero movie. With Gal Gadot in the lead role, Jenkins crafted a rich, inspiring tale about Wonder Woman’s first encounter with humanity. And audiences responded better than anyone imagined, with the movie earning $822 million worldwide.

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Director Patty Jenkins brought a unique take on the source material

For many years, Warner Bros. hoped to develop a Wonder Woman movie. Meanwhile, Jenkins had grand ambitions about directing a superhero movie. She nearly helmed Thor: The Dark World for Marvel. But ultimately, she found herself gunning for the director’s chair on DC’s iconic hero. As Jenkins told Collider, she felt she understood how to adapt the hero for the screen. 

“I remember when I started saying I wanted to do Wonder Woman and someone said to me, ‘Well, how do we make her cool?’ And I was like, ‘Well, first of all, hire someone who already thinks she’s cool, like me.’ And number two, none of them are cool. Like none of these characters are cool on the page in the 1950s. We make them cool.”

Jenkins has a point. Many Marvel and DC heroes would feel silly if lifted directly from the page. What works in one medium doesn’t translate well into another. It’s why — much to purists’ dismay — so many characters undergo significant makeovers before making their big-screen debuts. And the mythological nature of Wonder Woman’s story certainly required such finesse. 

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Gal Gadot and Patty Jenkins are signed on for ‘Wonder Woman 3’

Although Wonder Woman 1984 didn’t please everyone, it’s clear now that Jenkins had just the right approach to the character. That first movie became a phenomenon in large part because of how Jenkins executed her vision of Diana, the Amazons, and Themiscyra. So fans let down by that sequel should bear in mind what Jenkins brought to the franchise in the first place.

Now Jenkins and Gadot are set to reunite for a third Wonder Woman movie. Right now, it’s far too early to guess what that film will entail. But there’s reason to hope it might mark a return to form for the series. Jenkins brings a distinctive perspective on Diana and comics in general. And there’s a reason she has become one of the best directors working in the genre.