This year marked the long overdue full-film, live-action, cinematic debut of one of the greatest creations in all of DC Comics lore. Indeed, DC does seem like, to quote The Lego Batman Movie, “the house that Batman built” but this year, the princess of the DCEU landed in the fray of her own origin story and the results were spectacular. Applauded by critics and audiences alike, Wonder Woman is being called a refreshing turning point for female characters in the superhero sub-genre but why exactly was it successful? There are a multitude of answers to that question but one of them is most strikingly evident in Sharon Gosling’s beautiful Wonder Woman: The Art and Making of the Film.
Starting off with a brief but heartfelt foreword by Patty Jenkins, this gorgeous looking book, really shows just how much of the director and her crew’s original visions made it to the big screen. So often are these books filled with “what could have been” but in this case you cannot help but think that the end result could not have been any better than what we got and that is a - here’s that word again - refreshing feeling. From the art of a young Diana giddily running through Themyscira to a gorgeous Greek god painting-like visual parable to a rendering of the film’s incredible ‘No Man’s Land’ scene, all these images remind of what we saw in the motion picture and while there are some differences (the fiery silhouette of the movie’s ultimate big bad in an explosive piece of art), this book really shows the tireless work that went into putting this initial impression successfully on the silver screen.
The art is plentiful, with some lovely double page spreads, while the props, characters, costumes and construction of key scenes are all showcased across 192 concise but interesting pages. Gosling’s prose does not impede on the art, so much as accompany it and while the history of Wonder Woman as a character is not given a big meaty dissection, the real point of the book is not as a historical peice (though it has elements of that within) but instead to celebrate the work, the look and the making of the movie and that it does...and then some. You get insight into the creation of action sequences (sets, CGI and green screen), the passion of the talented individuals working on the film and, most importantly, the hope that seemed to permeate throughout the project (see the book’s chapters, designated by words like ‘Courage’, ‘Wisdom’ and ‘Confidence’). This book feels celebratory in nature, which is appropriate, as this was a film of many firsts, the first big budget superhero film directed by a woman, the biggest box office gross for a female directed film and the first film where someone is put through a wall with a scissors kick...apparently!
Overall Wonder Woman: The Art and Making of the Film is the perfect kind of art book, accessible but not lazy, informative but not overly wordy, artistic but with a balance between the concept artwork, set photography, character images and storyboards. The presentation is excellent and this is the accompaniment the majestic movie deserves, and that’s not even considering those lavish limited edition versions of the book that come signed by Wondy herself Gal Gadot (ours didn’t sadly) or that fan pleasing extra at the back of every edition...an extra which already has found pride of place on this writer’s wall.
WONDER WOMAN: THE ART AND MAKING OF THE FILM / AUTHOR: SHARON GOSLING / PUBLISHER: TITAN BOOKS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW