A Tale of Two Worlds: ‘Wonder Woman’ and the Use of Color

Color me impressed.
By  · Published on July 5th, 2017

Color me impressed.

Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman – besides being an undisputed critical, commercial, and social grand slam – has been called one of the most effective superhero films to date, due to its multi-dimensionality, the way it plumbs into the meaning and ramifications of being a heroine in a hero’s world. Where Diana comes from, Themyscira, there are no men and as a result – directly or indirectly – it is a literal paradise, a lush and vibrant, temperate, natural wonderland. By contrast, in London and the real world in general, where Diana adopts her Wonder Woman persona, the sky always seems to be overcast, the shadows always seem to standout inside the colors, and the atmosphere, physical and emotional, is gray. This is a juxtaposition that goes unsaid thanks to Jenkins’ use of color to differentiate between her film’s two halves: in Themyscira, all is bright; in our world, all is dark.

This, of course, is a nutshell explanation of what’s going on, so for a more detailed account we turn to video essayist Patrick H. Willems who takes a plunge into Wonder Woman’s color scheme as a storytelling device. It’s a balance as masterful as it is purposeful, and for a DC film in particular, which are often condemned for their overly-dark palettes, it’s a welcome ray of light.

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Novelist, Screenwriter, Video Essayist