In the midst of all the testosterone-filled superhero movies being released, between DC and Marvel it seemed the female power was seriously lacking. With only black widow in The Avengers and the strong female characters in the X-men, the men seemed to be doing most of the work. However, now, resurrected from the 1970s, Wonder Woman is here to show the world that us gals go just as hard, if not harder than the boys. So these are my ten thoughts on Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman.
1. Straight from the myth.
For an ancient history buff, like me, the use of mythological (potentially historical) figures, such as Hippolyta and Antiope is really exciting. DC could have made up names for the Amazonians, but by taking the characters straight from mythology brings an authenticity to the plot that many shall appreciate. Also, the involvement of Ares and Zeus (through Diana) brings a new element to the superhero universe. The use of greco-roman gods and goddesses works as a parallel to Thor’s origin in Marvel’s Avengers. Diana could be up there with Hercules and Achilles. This divine plotline offers many opportunities for the writers of the following DC movies to explore.
2. No breast shots, no underwear shots.
One word to describe this movie is tasteful. A plot including an island full of women and a young, powerful female protagonist is prone to fall into a realm of sleaze. But this is not true of Wonder Woman. Jenkins cast the Amazons incredibly well, including all shapes, sizes, ages and races. This inclusion gave a more realistic recreation of a society. Hippolyta and Antiope were beautifully cast by women of an appropriate age. It is so refreshing to see strong, powerful characters portrayed by women over the age of 35. The costume department also did wonders, not only with Amazons, but with Diana. You cannot take away her short skirt, or bodice. But they managed to keep the classic outfit and keep it tasteful. This subtle take on female superheroes was a breath of fresh air.
3. Diana the rock climber
I don’t think I understood the magnitude of Diana’s power until this scene. There seemed something so primitive, so powerful about her hands pummeling into the stone and Diana being able to pull herself up to the top of the tower. Her skills are second to none in the female superhero department (sorry Black Widow). Her powers were shown off to their full potential, in some stunning cinematography.
4. Delicate humour, if I’ve ever seen it.
The humour in this movie was light hearted and fun. Diana’s first involvement with a man, her obvious curiosity, concerning his anatomy and his response (above average, eh?) The inclusion of the light, witty jokes, such as Diana’s mention of her books of pleasure and Steve attempting to explain marriage to Diana brought up the tone of a movie, that without it, would have been pretty dark and dismal.
5. Keeping things historically accurate.
Although it does make a modern girl like me cringe hearing men so uncomfortable at the sight of a woman in a meeting, I am glad that Jenkins chose to stick with the opinion of the time, that women were not as smart, nor as important as men. I think it is important to show these casually sexist opinions, because Diana’s complete confusion and disregard of them shows how ridiculous it was and how far we have come. Also, the mention of Sameer’s being “too dark” to be an actor highlights the obvious racism in acting that many people pass over when looking at the history of film.
6. Two demigods, an American, an actor and a Scotsman walk into a bar…
What a refreshing band of sidekicks. First of all, failed actor and language connoisseur: Sameer, that we have spoken about. Charlie, who shows signs of PTSD and adds a raw edge to the movie, a real man going through the real after effects of war. And perhaps the most interesting character in the gang: Chief AKA Napi. The inclusion of a native American character (played by a native American, no less) allowed for the colonisation of America to be discussed in an important conversation between Chief and Diana. However, after a little research, I have found out that Chief is not just a sweet Native America, but also a demigod. His godly status as the Blackfoot demigod: Napi opens up many opportunities for DC to explore yet another culture and mythology. Props for the diversity, DC.
7. There goes the plot, twisting on me.
Just when I thought that I had the plot figured out, it twisted on me again. Patrick Morgan would have been my last guess as to who was Ares, but I suppose that is what makes it a solid plot twist. Sending Diana off to see how awful humans can be was a clever move by Morgan and Thewlis’ impressive performance made me truly hate him by the time that the movie reached its climax. There is nothing more infuriating than someone who only sees black and white, no in between and that pretty much sums up Morgan’s problem. It seems he is gone for now. But it would not surprise me if he sprang up again at some point, along with other Greek Gods, for Gods very rarely die.
8. Love doesn’t last forever.
Once again, we have a comparison to a Marvel superhero. Captain America lost his love in a war, finally seeing her again in Captain America: Winter Soldier. The death of Trevor was tragic. But very similarly to how I felt about Peggy Carter losing Steve. It seems more heroic for them to lose their love early, rather than live a long life, one slowly growing old and one remaining the same, forever. It seems hard for humans to have relationships with superheroes, especially the immortal ones. I wonder if Diane will gain a love interest in the movies that are yet to come.
9. Where was the post credits scene?
I don’t know whether Marvel has spoilt me. But now, I always stay to the end of the credits, expecting an extra scene for the money I paid to see the movie. However, once the final credits rolled, the lights came on and everyone left, feeling slightly deflated. Perhaps it is because I have become too accustom to a teaser at the end of my movies that I felt disappointed at the lack of content after the credits of Wonder Woman. I think it would have taken away more food for thought if DC had taken a page out of Marvel’s comic book and placed a little teaser for us at the end. There are enough plotlines and characters for them to have thought of something to leave their viewers with. I shall definitely be checking online if there are any post credits scenes in DC movies to follow, to save me waiting for ten minutes for nothing, if not admiring the names of all of the people involved and realising why it took so much money to make.
10. I hope there’s more where that came from.
The era of strong female leads is here. Wonder Woman proved that a superhero film can be lead by a female protagonist, instead of having her as decoration. The in-depth character exploration portrayed in this movie opens up a new genre of superhero movie, a genre where the girls are the heroes. I think it is important for young girls to see that women can be superheroes, just like men and that they can fight as hard and be as bad ass. It is uplifting to know that Wonder Woman will have shown many women and men that women do not have to be the sidekicks or the girlfriends, that they can be at the centre of the action and kick ass as well as any man. Girl power!
I think this movie was a triumph for the DC franchise and I believe that they have bought themselves many more viewers of the Justice League movies that are to follow. Having a strong, powerful woman, with a detailed backstory is a necessity in any superhero team nowadays. The diversity and tact shown in this movie shows high promise for the DC movies of the future.
I give Patty Jenkin’s Wonder Woman 4.5 out of 5. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie and hope that its success will prompt more female led superhero movies.
Tell me, what did you think?