Wonder Woman Review: Empower a Generation
Wonder Woman. Wow! What’s all the hype about, you ask? Well, let me tell you. It’s a superhero movie like one I’ve never seen before. However, before I continue, I want to make a suggestion of who you see it with if you’re a female. I went with Hungry and my parents and thoroughly enjoyed it. However, they weren’t affected in the same way I was because they aren’t up-and-coming women. This movie is subtly and in-your-face empowering all at the same time. To them, it may have been just another superhero action movie, but to me it was a lot more. I’m not saying they’re wrong, but I’m telling you why I believe myself and other females like me were more affected. Let me back up and give some context of what this movie was about.
This movie wasn’t really about Wonder Woman (I’m struggling to remember if they actually ever used that name in the movie), it was a story of the woman behind the superhero, Diana, coming to power. It was an awakening of empowerment and finding her place in the world. The movie begins by showing the beautiful island of Themyscira where the Amazons live and following the life of little Diana, daughter to the Queen. The Amazons are there to protect the world from Ares, God of War, and the audience feels there’s something the Queen isn’t telling us about Diana. Eventually, humans (Chris Pine as Steve Trevor, American love interest, and the Germans who chase him) come to Themyscira and bring news of a world war to the Amazons. This sets Diana off on her mission to stop WWI against the orders of her mother, the Queen, and to kill Ares, who she believes is behind it.
Before I get into empowerment, I want to tell you that the writing and acting are really good. You laugh throughout the film. Diana in a world full of humans is comical as she learns about this completely new society and its rules. I think that it was done really well. The visual effects and action are stunning. Please take me to that island and I will never leave. The romance between Gal Gadot (who kills this role so well) and Chris Pine is fulfilling and leaves you longing for more. The costumes are incredible and make me want to be Wonder Woman this Halloween.
The movie wasn’t perfect, of course, (though it did get a 93% on Rotten Tomatoes) and Hungry pointed out some flaws. For example, why would they pick Ares to be her enemy in this movie when he’s basically her archenemy? Shouldn’t they start off with someone smaller? Or maybe they’re not planning to make more movies which would certainly make me sad. My review has more to do with the movie than looking at how it was adapted from the comics.
Anyhow, onto how this movie made me feel. Again, if you’re an up-and-coming woman, see this movie with like-minded women. It will be that much more powerful as you hold your breath and clutch each other’s arms as Wonder Woman comes into her power. Let’s first start about how interesting it was to see a woman come from an all-woman island into a world that is dominated by men (more so than now as it was World War I). This outside perspective gives the audience a fresh new take on how ludicrous the prejudices people hold against women or people of color. It gives inequality no curtains to hide behind and shows it for what it really is: ugly and nonsensical. It felt great to laugh and scoff alongside Wonder Woman as she discovers the absurdities of not being allowed to speak her mind or be let into a room full of men.
My next point I believe has to do with the fact that the Director of this movie was a woman, Patty Jenkins. There was something so subtly empowering about this movie that didn’t have to do with Wonder Woman deflecting bullets. It was how Patty Jenkins made Wonder Woman a universal superhero–not just a hero for women, but one that all can love. There were subtle nuances throughout the whole film that made me think, “Wow, wouldn’t it be cool if all movies were like this?” Wonder Woman didn’t back down when men told her to stop talking or it wasn’t her place as they women so often do. Men looked to her for direction. There wasn’t that obnoxious annoyance of the movie constantly shouting that this woman should be treated differently because she’s a woman. It’s hard to describe. Jenkins did this so seamlessly that it’s the fact that you don’t realize it which makes it so incredible. It seemed normal for a woman to be in charge, that it wasn’t shocking, that she didn’t back down, and always stood for what she believed.
Now onto the not-so-subtle empowerment. I was amped up during this movie. It was exciting and exhilarating to watch a woman like Diana come into her power. It was emotional a lot of the time. I even teared up during a moment where Diana won’t back down from saving a village. It’s her first big step into becoming Wonder Woman. She didn’t listen to the men who told her she couldn’t save everyone, she clung so tightly (and perhaps with naivete) to her beliefs and stood strong for them. She left the trenches of the war and went into No-Man’s Land not as a man, but as a woman–and she was wonderful (I can’t help it). This moment was so powerful to me: my breath caught and my heart started racing. It was an awakening, just like the feeling (as Leah Cornish puts so well in this article— a must-read) when Rey ignites her saber for the first time. I felt overwhelmed and completely inspired.
For a lot of us, Wonder Woman represents what we feel so strongly. We feel we have a place that shouldn’t be waved away with annoyance, that we can stand up, and that we don’t need men to give us permission. It felt validating and, again, inspiring. Characters like Rey and Wonder Woman are so important to little girls across the world because it gives them a reflection of what they could someday be. It would be hard for people in different shoes to understand that, perhaps. I don’t think I did what I feel justice in what I wrote, but heck, I gave it a try. Art can be so paramount in inspiring people to become greater than they already are and move people to do great things. Don’t let that inspiration go! If you can’t tell, I definitely encourage everyone (not just women) to go see this movie! Also, great inspiration to working out hard to kick butt like Wonder Woman! And as always, stay hungry and fit!
TLDR; great movie, supes empowering.