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Wonder Woman

Batman v. Superman
by yo go re

BvS had a lot of problems, but it wasn't all garbage. I mean, sure, Lex Luthor was a pale imitation of Heath Ledger, everything involving Lois Lane was a trainwreck, the scenes at the Daily Planet had less journalistic authenticity than Michael Bay's TMNT, Ma Kent proudly picked up her dead husband's "humans? Eh, *$^@ 'em" standard like Denzel in Glory... basically, all the Superman-related parts of this Superman movie were bad.

But "being a quality sequel" was only one of the film's goals: it may have failed at that, but it succeeded in getting the audience to embrace a Batman who wasn't Christian Bale, and it definitely succeeded in getting everybody hyped for Wonder Woman.

Possibly too hyped. Batman v. Stiviano came out so long ago that there have been two more comic films that opened since, and Wondy is still nearly impossible to find (proving yet again that anyone who says female toys don't sell is either a liar or a fool). It's another prime example of classic Mattel decision-making: "The one thing in this out-of-control dumpster fire that everybody agrees is great is Wonder Woman. Should we maybe not shortpack her? No, let's over stock the shelves with Batmen and Supermen no one will ever want to buy. Let's set up distribution so that the four secret final figures and the two unannounced exclusives all get onto store shelves before Wonder Woman." Thanks as always, Mattel!

The first image we saw of Wonder Woman's costume was, for some reason, almost entirely brown. It's possible it's a case like Deadpool (where the first image Ryan Reynolds shared of the official mask was in black-and-white, because the material was pink and he knew people would complain) and the suit wasn't painted yet, but in that case, why rush the photo out? A public display of the costumes at the Licensing Expo revealed that her suit was, indeed, in color, and the toy is even brighter still.

The design of the suit is based on Greek warriors and Roman gladiators, with a top that looks like strips of metal and a skirt that appears to be leather. An eagle symbol is on her chest, and the belt looks like a W. She pairs her silver bracers with brown leather hand wraps, and what at first glance sppear to be boots are actually greaves that strap onto her shins - there's a thin gap of skin visible all the way down her leg between the front and back halves of the armor. Showing that she's been in many a battle, her outfit is scratched and nicked all over. It's really nice!

But then things start going Mattel-shaped. (It's like going pear-shaped, but predictably worse.) The head and the hair are molded as one solid piece, meaning both that the hair prevents the head from turning, and that the face ends up too wide. If you put her under a strong, direct light, you can make out the likeness of Gal Gadot, but under normal light? This doesn't look anything like anyone specific.

The head may not move, but the rest of the articulation is okay. She has swivel/hinge shoulders and elbows, swivel biceps, wrists, waist and thighs, and hinged knees and ankles. Only having a swivel waist is disappointing, but Aquaman was the same way. Odder is the choice to have swivels in the bicep and elbow and wrist - one of those three was completely unnecessary. And just like Flash and Reverse-Flash, they failed to properly paint the ankle joints.

Her accessories are made nicely, but belie Mattel's usual halfassed work. The sword has three deep grooves on each side, and a symbol of a bird near the hilt. The shield is large and well-textured, with a hammered metal brace to hold it on the arm, the Amazon's large eagle symbol in the center, and engraved text all around the rim (it allegedly says "life is killing life all the time and so the goddess kills herself in the sacrifice of her own animal," but if it does, it's in a made-up language, not real Ancient Greek). So all that stuff is the good. What's the bad?

Let's begin with the obvious: she holds them both in the wrong hands! There's a loop on the left side of her belt where the sword hangs (despite the actual costume strapping the sword to her back), meaning that she'd draw and wield it with her right hand. Okay, fine. But the orientation of the bird on the shield - which, for the record, was not on the film prop - reveals that it was also designed to be held in her right hand, not the left. So you can either have her carrying her shield upside down, or fighting with the wrong hand. Thanks again, Mattel! You're always a treasure.

She comes with a piece of the Grapnel Gun build-a-prop. Sort of. It's a chunk of the display base and a clear stand to hold the gun up. What a rip-off! At least you won't be missing anything important when you can't find the figure.

Wonder Woman is a mediocre figure that could have been quite nice if not for a few flaws that could have been easily corrected before her production. Maybe they'll do a better job when it comes time for her solo movie. Though it will be interesting to see how they manage to make her hard to find when she's the star.

-- 06/09/16

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