First Impressions is a Wonder Woman fan film directed by Leo Kei Angelos and written by Angelos and George H. Ruiz. This short opens with a first date coming to an end, and quickly moves along to deliver some impressive Diana kick-assery.
There’s no denying that this short fan film targets the teen television drama audience, but it still holds together as a solid representation of Wonder Woman for the comic lover. There’s no reason something like this couldn’t hold up along side Smallville or Arrow. This example shows what can be done with a street-level, grounded Diana, something that the TV-watching demographic can connect with more easily.
Hailey Bright’s performance is playful when she’s “normal girl” Diana and switches to calculated warrior when the Amazon princess takes over. Physically, Bright is quite petite so that aspect makes it difficult to sell the Amazonian physicality — but that said, the majority of comic representations also do a terrible job of this.
Brian Azzarello’s representation of Wonder Woman in the New 52 comes the closest to embracing the Amazon/myth heritage, and Azzarello has made it clear to fans — and DC alike — that his vision and DC’s “clearly” don’t align. In Azzarello’s vision, Wonder Woman will never be perceived in a supporting role, she takes centre stage and has gone as far as to say Superman will never appear in the book as long as he’s writing it. Even in the comic world, there are few voices who fight to prove Wonder Woman can hold her own “if done right.” Introducing Wonder Woman to the big screen via a Justice League or Superman movie would be unfortunate, and here’s hoping Warner Bros. will figure something out.
Want to know what would help though? A ‘no underwear’ costume. That will always help. Always. Those who believe a woman running around the street, fighting crime and monsters in underwear and a bustier are likely part of a rapidly aging demographic who seem to think ’60s and ’70s live action aesthetics innocently skipped the whole grim and gritty era of ’80s comics, and more appropriately, can somehow contradict the expectations of a well-established visual aesthetics set as a standard in the big blockbuster superhero flicks of the last decade and a half. Underwear heroes won’t work. Not on TV, not in movies.
If getting Wonder Woman into costume involves portraying the character as a well-chiseled prime sample of the female form, there’s a way to do that without the star-spangled swimsuit silliness. Want to know how? Watch the next Wonder Woman fan film below…
What this short film lacks in street-level groundedness, it more than makes up for on the mythology. This Rainfall Films interpretation of Diana of Themyscira is directed by Sam Balcomb and stars Rileah Vanderbilt.
This Wonder Woman is bred of legend, she’s a force of nature, she’s a monster-killer. This is a Wonder Woman aimed to prove that a blockbuster film is indeed possible, especially when jam-packed with visual effects portraying apocalyptic scenarios mashed up with monstrous threats from Greek myth.
This is a sexy and powerful Wonder Woman… without the underwear costume. Align Wonder Woman’s costume with visual concepts found in Greek art and Spartan warrior gear, and one of the hurdles of selling this character to mass audiences can be overcome.
I’d even take the super-controversial pants redesign as an alternative, but only for a TV version of Wonder Woman. When it comes to the big screen, Wonder Woman needs to be the central figure of a modern Greek epic — imagine a Thor movie without mention or depiction of an Asgard — so in the big screen version, where the budget is grander, she needs to represent the mythology tied to her heritage. This requirement is especially true in her first movie, before she opts to pull out the star-spangled banner inspired swimsuit attire to represent her ambassador status with the States. Sigh… until the day comes when it’s standard practice for visiting ambassadors to walk around in underwear and an armoured bustier while visiting allied countries, there’s no argument in the world that will silence an audience’s internal cheesecake alarms.
A part of me can’t help think that these fan films make some of the WB exec non-believers feel ashamed — and rightfully so. Here’s to hoping more of these fan films come out to help set the bar of expectations so the big money studios can aim to one-up.