In this — the age of the Hollywood Heroine — we are making effervescent strides on our journey to unanimous feminism. People are waking up to the idea that maybe, just maybe, women are of equal value and importance to men. What a concept! That is why we need female leads to ditch the damsel in distress role and charge headlong into the fray.
Now, more than ever, women have stopped taking “no” for an answer. Wonder Woman could not have come at a better time, but the ball has been catastrophically dropped. The subject matter of the comics reflects the era in which they were created. That should have been updated for the times, and it wasn’t. I’ll explain later.
Diana, AKA Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) was sculpted from clay and given life from Zeus, the God of Sky and Thunder. As a little girl living on Themyscira — an island secreted away for the protection of its inhabitants — Diana spends her days admiring the combat skills of her fellow Amazons. Her mother, Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielson), has forbidden her to have any formal training, but aunts are around to spoil kids with things their mothers won’t let them have. General Antiope (Robin Wright) is not only a cool aunt, but she sees the necessity for Diana to learn how to defend not only herself, but their pristine paradisiacal home from the ever-present threat of Ares, the God of War.
When a German plane plows through their force field and into the crystal clear water below carrying a dashing pilot by the name of Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), Diana rushes to his aid. He only has moments to marvel at her perfect face before German soldiers burst their bubble and storm the beach.
Steve fights with the Amazons to ward off the onslaught only to be left the subject of an interrogation.
After a thorough Lasso-of-Truthing, he reveals the nature of his business and Diana learns of World War I and decides she’s going to end it. Together, the two venture to London where Steve will deliver highly sensitive information to the Supreme War Council that could save thousands of lives. With Supreme War Councilman Sir Patrick Morgan’s (David Thewlis) monetary blessing and his recruits — a spy named Sameer and a marksman named Charlie (Saïd Taghmaoui and Ewen Bremner, respectively) — Steve and Diana will work together to stop apocalyptic events from unfolding.
I mentioned earlier that the source material that the movie is based on is wildly outdated. I’ve voiced my concerns to comic book traditionalists who’ve explained to me that movies rarely deviate from their origins. However, I feel this movie could have greatly benefited from doing so.
Starting with the gratuitous focus on how beautiful Diana is. Yes, she is breathtakingly lovely, but that should not be so ubiquitous. Everyone she meets is just taken with her. I hear that’s how it was in the comics, but it becomes pretty tedious. It mimics Barbie culture in that it projects a beauty standard that is nearly impossible to live up to.
One particularly wretch-worthy scene in which Steve is buying her an outfit to, and I quote, “make her less… distracting,” he searches the shop for an item that will help her appear more homely. He ultimately reaches for a pair of glasses.
I understand that Clark Kent wore glasses as a disguise and it’s supposedly a nod to that. I vehemently disagree. She wears them for a total of about 2 minutes before they fly off and are smashed by her boot in combat. Utterly pointless and likely heartbreaking to any bespectacled kids.
I also didn’t need Chris Pine completely nude, cupping his junk. I wanted to take my 13-year-old niece to see this and I’m relieved that I didn’t. Call me prude, but these movies draw a younger audience. I certainly could have done without the love story as well. It felt wholly unnecessary. So much of this felt like filler in place of what could have been a more substantial plot.
The argument has been made to me over and over again, when I’ve expressed my disdain for Wonder Woman, that people were simply aghast at this movie because so many other DC movies, well, suck. So is all of the hype legitimate? Or are fans just happy because this movie was better than certain other DC films? Is Wonder Woman a great film… in comparison to crappier pictures?
As a cinephile, a woman, and a non-comic book reader, I am underwhelmed
Ultimately, the message of the movie is that love conquers all. I don’t mean to be a wet blanket and bum everybody out, but there are tragically missed opportunities here. This is new territory — a female superhero film — and the waters are choppy. Perhaps, given some time, the franchise will move in a more progressive direction. For now, I’ll just be over here wearin’ glasses and kickin’ ass.