I should preface this by saying I have been looking forward to the Wonder Woman film since it was announced so it was with no small amount of expectation that I entered the cinema. From the moment Gal Gadot appeared on screen as Diana until the moment the film ended – I absolutely loved it.
The fight scenes were exceptional. In particular when the Amazons fight the German soldiers on the hidden island of Themyscira, the skill and power of the women is spine tingling. When General Antiope leaps over a rock and shoots three arrows, killing three men – I actually wanted to stand and cheer. You rarely see so many powerful women in a Hollywood blockbuster so these scenes with the Amazons are overwhelming.
Diana is the daughter Queen Hippolyta and was raised on the hidden island of Themyscira, home to the Amazon race of warrior women created by the gods of Mount Olympus to protect humankind. One day a man falls from the sky and is saved from drowning by Diana. He is American Captain Steve Trevor, a spy for the British against the Germans in the First World War. Once he explains to the Amazons about the war, Diana decides to return with him to the front to protect humankind and kill Ares, God of War, who she feels is behind the destruction.
Aside from the epic fight scenes, the film is skilled at presenting thoughtful character development and an engaging narrative. I could have lived without the love story, which I feel is secondary to the actual story, but the film stays true to the comics in this respect. I did love the scene in which Steve turns to Diana as she is about to confront Ares, and says “I can’t let you do this”. She responds, “What I do is not up to you”. When she is told to stay put while the men go ahead, she doesn’t listen, proceeds anyway and ultimately saves them all. Ordinarily in cinema, when a woman disobeys a man, she ends up in trouble – captured or kidnapped – and the man has to save the day, being afforded the opportunity to say ‘I told you so’. Not the case in Wonder Woman. Here is a woman who does not need saving and it is about time.
When Diana is at the front, in the trenches, surrounded by men telling her she cannot cross no man’s land she simply turns to them and says “It is our sacred duty to defend the world, and it’s what I’m going to do”, climbs out of the trench and charges at the enemy. Deflecting bullets left and right with her wrist bands and shield, she paves the way for the men to fall in behind and they save the village. I actually got tingles during this scene and, I’m not going to lie, I teared up a bit. Actually seeing such strength and determination in a female superhero literally brought me to tears – what does that say about our society and their reluctance to make films like this. I do not think it is an overstatement to say this is the best superhero film of all time.
This is the film I’ve been waiting for since I was a child. For the first time I wasn’t the Lois Lane or the Vicki Vale – I wasn’t relegated to the “love interest” – I got to be the hero. Finally, a female protagonist girls and women can relate to and aspire to be like. Intelligent, funny, strong, powerful, compassionate, caring, resourceful, determined – this Wonder Woman for a new generation is inspiring, regardless of your age, and lets be honest, gender. There was only one moment which didn’t fly with me. When the town is liberated by Wonder Woman and they are celebrating, Steve turns to Diana and says “You did this”, and she replies, “No, we did”. In every other superhero film I’ve ever seen – Batman never shares the credit. You never see Superman turn to Lois and say – ‘Couldn’t have done it without you’ – but for some reason a woman can’t own her success. We see this in business all the time – I didn’t need to see it in a superhero film.
Overall, I absolutely loved this film. I’m delighted to hear there is another in the works. Gal Gadot is perfect as Wonder Woman, giving depth and strength to a character made iconic by Lynda Carter in the 1970s. Hopefully this is just the beginning of powerful female protagonists owning their own stories and paving their own path.