I’m not generally into superhero films, but Wonder Woman felt like history being made, and it’d be good if it was the start of more rather than a lone film, so I was happy to get behind it. And having seen it, now I want to talk about it.
So, with thanks to my friend Hannah, who helped me to think of some of them, here are 15 thoughts on the new Wonder Woman movie. Also some spoilers.
- Strong, kind, brave, motivated by compassion, persistent. A great role model for girls, or you know, any human being.
- “I am the man who can!” Not because she is a man, but because he assumed only a man could.
- The first third in the Amazon world was unlike anything I have ever seen on film. The sheer number of women for a start, but also their physique – very little skinny fat, and lots of muscle. Beauty in every sense of the word.
- The fighting style of the Amazons is so collaborative. How they build one another up, make each other stronger. Same in their politics – even though there are differing views, and even disobedience, mutual respect remains pretty high. Again, not sure I can think of similar examples in popular film.
- Diana still has growing up to do in the Amazon world, and coming into her own. But there’s space for that exploration, and when she gets to our world there are a stack of things she hasn’t learned, like how to be demure, or to make her body take up less space. It’s striking how un-self-conscious she is, having come from that background.
- Costumes. Totally gorgeous. Plenty of femininity on view, but it didn’t feel sexualised to me even in the Amazon world, with boobs and bums in proportion and not focused on by the camera. And Diana herself spent a fair bit of the film in clothes with long elegant lines.
- For the second half of the film, you’ve got Diana and a bunch of blokes basically. (OK, there’s the bit with the secretary, some of the funniest lines there.) And some of the blokes are pretty bad at what they do. But they’re allowed to, because you can be a mediocre man. But women have to be extraordinary if they’re going to get screen time.
- I wanted to see more and find out more about Dr Maru (Dr Poison). She was compelling, and underdeveloped, especially since she is the only ‘evil’ female character.
- Umm, Diana basically falls for the first guy she meets. Problematic.
- And she sleeps with him. Which I assume is because he’s going to die, and their love wouldn’t be ‘real’ unless it was consummated, but sexual experience is consistently elevated in our society to be the highest and deepest form of experience or connection, which is bad for women for a myriad of reasons.
- Was the ‘it’s about what you believe’ thing weird? I thought she was going to say that humans are worth saving because they’re humans, inherently worthy because they’re children of Zeus (does this sound more like the biblical narrative than the Greek one to anyone else? Maybe I just don’t know enough Greek mythology.)
- The interplay between revenge, fighting back, and saving others reminded me of Luke Skywalkers’s temptation scene with the Emperor in Return of the Jedi! (but Hannah says the temptation of Jesus)
- How she absorbs Ares’ wrath and turns it back on him seems kind of Christus Victor-y to me. As in, evil throws everything at Jesus on the cross, and that’s the seeds of its own destruction, as Christ emerges victorious and vindicated. And like Him, only she could do it, but her big moment is not in a duel so much as in presence.
- The big (theological) take-home seemed to be the idea that humans are both good and evil, with the line running straight through the middle of the human heart as Solzhenitsyn wrote.
- Sir Patrick Morgan being Ares is a variation on the trope of ‘the mild-mannered butler did it’. Which is not as boring as it might first seem, because evil does often lurk in the banal and the legislative. But I wonder what it would have looked like if Ares was a woman this time?
Tamie Davis is an Aussie living in Tanzania, writing at meetjesusatuni.com.