Well, Zack Snyder has done it again. Forget finding truth in historical inspiration and get ready to sex up the big screen.
As if his costumed portrayal of King Leonidas and his army of Spartan warriors in 300 wasn’t bad enough, Snyder’s vision has dismantled the Amazonian armor that Wonder Woman had masterfully crafted. Snyder shared the Justice League version of the Amazon warriors on social media to furious uproar from fans.
In case you wonder: Here’s a picture of how the Amazons looked in Wonder Woman…next to pic how they look in Justice League. First designed by Lindy Hemming, second by Michael Wilkinson.
Some steps backwards, methinks. pic.twitter.com/IVqeX7PBso
— Atte Timonen (@Rosgakori) November 12, 2017
Wonder Woman’s costume designer, Lindy Hemming, clearly spent a lot of time researching Greco-Roman armor in order to adequately craft the Amazonian fighting aesthetic. Hemming’s costumes straddle the line between function and form. Her approach is a breath of fresh air in the midst of the tired status quo of “sex sells.” But Snyder’s approach, much like his vision for 300, fetishized the armor, instead of treating it like a necessary tool for battle.
It would be one thing if Justice League had come out before Wonder Woman and Wonder Woman’s Amazons had been an iterative improvement. But according to the Golden Lasso, “The Amazons’ design was finalized and most of the costumes completed while Justice League was still in pre-production.” Justice League decided to reject the finished armor design in favor of showing more skin, instead.
It isn’t just about Snyder opting to show more skin. Instead, this flies in the face of what Wonder Woman accomplished by choosing to straddle the line between historical accuracy and aesthetics. The Amazons in Wonder Woman are undeniably beautiful, but it’s not their only definition. By day, they can walk around in flowing dresses and leather bikinis, but when it comes time to fight, the Amazons don their armor with reverence and pride. Each of them found their grace in their armor and it’s crystal clear as they fight together on the Themysciran beaches.
But based on the strong Amazonian personalities that we’ve seen in Wonder Woman, each of them would laugh at the armor presented in Justice League. The same could be said of the Spartan warriors in 300 — Snyder could have opted for a more traditional, albeit still stylized, version of Spartan armor, but he opted for sex appeal. This isn’t a problem exclusive to Justice League, but it’s exacerbated by a better alternative elsewhere in the DC Extended Universe.
It’s a troubling step backward after the cinematic triumphs that Wonder Woman brought to the struggling DCEU. The unstoppable power of the Amazons may not be snuffed out in Justice League, but it will lack the conviction and confidence that Wonder Woman offered. Fans aren’t alone in their distaste for this design choice. The Amazons themselves would turn their noses up at wearing bikinis into battle.