I saw Wonder Woman yesterday, grudgingly. It’s not that I haven’t been waiting for a super-woman movie, I really have. For ages. I had been secretly hoping for a Black Widow movie from Marvel ever since the first Avengers. And then I saw the trailers for Wonder Woman.
I hesitated, not only because of the bad reputation of the previous DC films, but also because of the other superhero movie set in the 20th-century past (Captain America) which I did not care much for. There is always something disconcerting about American superhero portrayals of the Great Wars of the 20th century, as if they these horrifying events were only created for our entertainment. If only Captain America had been present, none of those people would have died. It’s just that human beings are surprisingly useless and incompetent , compared to superheroes and have a tendency to be mortal. Indeed, I know some people think that Wonder Woman was slightly disrespectful and perhaps there is a little truth in that.
But honestly? These are reflections that, at least for me, came after the movie. When I was watching it, I was too excited appreciating a heroine who saved the world instead of waiting to be saved.
It’s riveting to watch Diana, as 5-year old girl, practicing punches and wanting to be taught how to fight. I was used to the Spiderman origin-story, the Superman origin-story…. and I never realized how I was so used to all these superheroes being boys. It was so exciting to see those aspirations in a girl. To see a girl train to be a fighter. For the camera not to glance over her muscles as if they were merely side-effects of her keeping her weight, but actually the reason she can kick, run, jump, push, hit and stab the way she does. Diana (the stunningly beautiful Gal Gadot) is not petite in any sense of the word. And the movie does not try to make her frail– I suspect we have the director, Patty Jenkins, a woman, to thank for that. Wonder Woman’s revealing outfits are there to attract the male gaze of the cinema audience (as the tight lycra outfits of Superman and Captain America do too), but they do not restrict her movements – her reaction to a long skirt is disgust : how does a woman fight in that?
My only knit-picking with regards to her outfit is the fact that she wears her hair loose – trust me, long hair only gets in the way in a fight. In fact, Diana wears her hair tied in a plait behind her back among the Amazons, and only loosens it in the human world when men are present. You can read as much into that as you like.
For those of you who are not acquainted with Wonder Woman, (I was not, I refused to see the DC film Batman vs Superman in which she appeared, and I had never heard of the TV series), here’s a short introduction.
Diana is a child who is brought up by the Amazons as one of their own on an island separated from the rest of the world. One day, a British spy, Steve, (Chris Pine) escaping from German soldiers lands on the island and speaks of the war to end all wars (World War I, in this case). Diana is convinced that this war has been started by the evil god Ares, and decides to join Steve and save the human world.
Steve, the pragmatic spy and Diana, the idealistic superheroine, make an amusing couple and there is definitely chemistry between them.
I will not go into the details of the plot, but suffice it to say, it is a superhero(ine) movie. There are goodies (they are beautiful), there are baddies (they are ugly) and there are a lot of fighting and explosions going on. There’s a lot of playing fast and loose with Greek mythology and modern history. It’s not everyone’s thing.
But I loved it. And if you’re a girl who loves superhero movies, there’s a really good chance you will love it too. It’s not a work of feminist philosophy/ a historical documentary, it’s a superhero movie with a woman as its protagonist. Accept it for what it is. And then you will have fun.
How is it possible that the God of War got killed before WWII even started? Seriously, script-writers? You can’t do better than that?