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One Important Lesson Wonder Woman Learned From The Indiana Jones Movies

Wonder Woman World War I Gal Gadot

Director Patty Jenkins never wanted Wonder Woman to be Rated-R... but that left her with a bit of a problem. After all, the movie is set during World War I, which is one of the bloodiest conflicts that our planet has ever seen - and it would have been a disservice to history and the atmosphere of the blockbuster to completely ignore it. Fortunately, Jenkins wound up finding the exact kind of cinematic inspiration she needed in Steven Spielberg's Indiana Jones films, and wound up applying that series' approach to violence in her first comic book feature. She recently told me,

I wanted to get the weight of real war, that we could get from a real war, which we got from World War I. But there was no reason to ever get graphic. And interestingly, one movie that I sat and I watched scenes of over and over again was Indiana Jones. Because there they are, they are just plowing down the Germans! They're just shooting people, but you would never think about Indiana Jones that way. You would never be like, 'Oh, cover their eyes!' They managed to do it in a way where you weren't emotionally going there, and that was what I worked very hard to do. I'm never looking in the face of somebody that she has to take down. Instead it's just you have to get through the people, and the focus is on how incredible she is instead of the glory in damage to another.

Like Wonder Woman, both Raiders of the Lost Ark and Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade are both period pieces that take place during war time, and while Harrison Ford's Dr. Jones does indeed take lives when he has to, it's true that you never really explicitly think of him as a killer. This observation wound up being surprisingly critical in the making of Wonder Woman, as I learned while sitting down with Patty Jenkins during her film's Los Angeles press day earlier this month. I had asked the filmmaker about her specific approach to the violent environment in which the new blockbuster is set, and she revealed the key inspiration that came from one of the greatest action-adventure franchises ever made.

To the director's credit, the approach very much works. Wonder Woman isn't completely without its intense moments, and also makes the horrors of war very real -- but it also never casts its titular warrior as a violent individual who is defined by bloodshed on the battlefield. Instead, the real take away is the fact that Diana (Gal Gadot) has a true passion for life and humanity, and is willing to act aggressively against any forces that stand against those values. So rather than counting bodies (as you would, say, in a Punisher movie), what the audience is left doing instead is counting acts of heroism.

You can watch Patty Jenkins discuss the inspiration of Indiana Jones on her Wonder Woman movie by clicking play on the video below!

Fans will have the opportunity to draw comparisons between Wonder Woman and Indiana Jones for themselves when the brand new comic book movie arrives in theaters everywhere on June 2nd... but meanwhile, be sure to stay tuned for more from my interviews with the film's cast and filmmakers!

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

NJ native who calls LA home and lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran who is endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.