There's no shortage of people who want figures of heroes and monsters from their favorite movies. The figures of foreign heroes in the BANDAI SPIRITS collectible series TAMASHII NATIONS decisively fill this need. Here I'd like to talk about them from the standpoint of a film critic.
In this column, I'm going to focus on the upcoming figure of Wonder Woman, as seen in the 2020 film Wonder Woman 1984.
The figure captures the heroine as portrayed by actress Gal Gadot. This marks the fourth time she's played the part; the first being 2016's Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, the second being the 2017 Wonder Woman, and the third that same year's Justice League.
In Wonder Woman we learned of Diana's origin story as a warrior-princess of the Amazonians and saw her battle against a possessed German army in World War I. Effectively immortal, she lives among humans while hiding her true nature, waiting until the current day (2016) to emerge as a hero. We saw this thrilling development play out in Batman vs Superman and Justice League.
Now the upcoming Wonder Woman 1984 is set, as the title implies in 1984. It tells Diana's story as it played out between World War I and the events of Batman vs Superman. As is befitting one of the most famous characters in the DC Comics universe.
Wonder Woman debuted on the American marketplace in 1941. (For comparison, Superman arrived in 1938, and Batman the following year.) This was a period known as the Golden Age of comic books in the United States. At the time, Superman was the hero to which all others were compared and conceived. In contrast to the extraterrestrial, colorful Superman was the dark, all too human Batman. In contrast to Superman who could fly was Aquaman who swam through the seas. In contrast to the multi-talented Superman was the Flash, whose lone ability was speed. And keeping with this model, Wonder Woman was in many ways a female version of Superman. When I first encountered her as a reader I was struck by the revealing nature of her costume, which led me to believe she was a product of the “male gaze,” but in fact a reading of materials from the era shows this not to be the case.
In an effort to improve the quality of their lineup, DC Comics turned to the American psychologist and writer William Moulton Marston. Marson wanted to captivate female readers with a hero who combined both strength and feminine allure. Wonder Woman was the result. It is said Marston was a very forward-thinking sort for his era, a man who believed in equal rights and thought deeply about the lives of women in society. She came to represent one of DC's “trinity” alongside Superman and Batman. Yet in spite of the fact both Superman and Batman were made into films many times, Wonder Woman never made it to the big screen.
Superman enjoyed great success in a 1950s TV drama and then as a blockbuster 1978 film. Batman's 1960s television adventures were followed by a megahit 1989 movie. Wonder Woman enjoyed a successful run on television in the 1970s, and given the success of her compatriots you might expect she'd have gotten her own movie in the 1990s, but in fact her first theatrical appearance was in 2016's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
There are many reasons why things happened this way, but it is a testament to how DC comics struggled with the concept of how best to bring Wonder Woman to the screen. However, in the early 2000s, as the Marvel Universe swept theaters and DC breathed new life into Batman with the Dark Knight series of films, a decision was finally made to bring her to the screen. Personally, I think DC made the right move in introducing her in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. It established her as the equal to Batman and Superman. It portrayed her not as an idol but rather a hero in her own right.
S.H.Figuarts Wonder Woman（JUSTICE LEAGUE）
Now On Sale
S.H.Figuarts Wonder Woman (WW84)
On Sale August 2020
*Indicated release date is based on Japan release schedule.
In her solo debut, set in World War I Europe, Wonder Woman dressed in more understated tones, but this time she's in all of her colorful glory. The colors really do pop. The previous Wonder Woman figure was designed to pose with an included shield and sword, but this time one of the hooks is the ability to put the figure in all sorts of dynamic poses. And let's not forget her trademark Lasso of Truth, which forces anyone bound by it to speak no lies. (In fact, in real life Marston also played a key role in inventing the polygraph machine.) This figure is designed to look great with the lasso.
The facial sculpting beautifully captures Gal Gadot's unmistakable features, so well in fact that it makes me think of it as a “Gal Gadot's Portrayal of Wonder Woman” figure even more than the character itself.
I actually display action figures in the entryway of my house, and I am planning to leave Wonder Woman, in her traditional crossed-arm pose, there for a while. Talk about a great way to tell viruses to stay out! I look forward to having her watch over my home.
Text: Sugiyama Supi Yutaka
S.H.Figuarts Wonder Woman (WW84)
On Sale August 2020
MSRP 6,600 yen (tax inc.)
Available online and in stores.