From the moment Wonder Woman begins, one of the most notable facets of the film is just how different it feels from the rest of the DC Universe.
Director Patty Jenkins has spoken at length about how she wanted to make a different movie and how she found the creative freedom to do so at Warner Bros. Part of the film’s success, however, is due to director of photography, Matt Jensen. The aesthetic of Wonder Woman is undeniably different than Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad, and Jensen told Polygon he never felt any pressure from the studio to make it feel similar to the aforementioned titles.
“There weren't any guidelines given to me,” Jensen said. “As far as I was concerned, I was making the movie that Patty wanted to make and Patty always wanted to make a colorful movie.”
Jensen explained that because Wonder Woman is so inherently different from Superman and Batman, he wanted to be able to give her a different look to distinguish that. She comes from an island based on paradise, where she lived within a vibrant community of strong Amazonian women who were known for being some of the fiercest warriors ever. Wonder Woman, according to Jensen, deserved to have her own movie that could easily be set apart from other titles in the DCU.
“I knew that we had to have a lot of color,” Jensen explained. “She has a different look. I was just following the story Patty gave when it came to designing the look of the movie.”
Despite that, however, Jensen admitted he didn’t want to stray too far from the look of the universe that director Zack Snyder largely helped create. David Ayer, the director of Suicide Squad, also helped contribute to that world, but as Jensen said, it has been Snyder’s world for quite some time. There’s a sense of respect, the cinematographer continued, with working in another creator’s world that he wanted to ensure he kept in his mind.
“I didn't want it to leap in a totally different direction of the other movies because I'm a fan of the look that Zack does and I'm a fan of the Christopher Nolan movies,” Jensen said. “It did filter into some of the scenes that you see in the movie ... the fight sequences and that sort of thing. And I think it dealt with the way I handled contrast. It's sort of helped contribute to that overall look.”
With Wonder Woman being celebrated for its differences, including everything from tone and direction to style, one of the remaining questions is how this will affect future DCU movies. When asked if he was worried Justice League and the tone Snyder wanted to go with would change the look he and Jenkins gave to the character, Jensen was adamant the difference would be a good thing.
“What we did was different,” Jensen said. “I consider what we did with Wonder Woman a stand-alone movie; it’s a period movie, it's in her past. Justice League is a more modern film in terms of Diana becoming a different character. She'll be more worldly and more hardened by her experience as a warrior.
“So there are different interpretations and different looks that you can give a character and story. All you have to do is look at comics books these movies are based on and you can see the different ways a character can be drawn and interpreted.”
After Justice League, however, Wonder Woman will be getting a sequel. When asked for any details Jensen might know about what the movie will look like — will it be another period piece or will it be more modern? — Jensen laughed, admitting that he didn’t know much about the movie or if he’ll be involved.
“If I'm lucky enough to be involved, the only approach I will take is ensuring the movie will be that much better in order to please the fans,” Jensen said.
The DCU continues this November with Justice League. The movie will be released on Nov. 17.