Oh Yes, Wonder Woman Is Everything You’re Hoping It Will Be
There are a lot of hopes and dreams that have been pinned on Wonder Woman, practically since its announcement, or maybe much longer. The movie has come for so many to represent what female superheroes can do onscreen and off, what an entire gender of women filmmakers can do. Somehow, the movie manages not to disappoint. Is it the perfect movie? No, of course not. But just because it’s had the unreasonable burden of being the modern woman-centric Citizen Kane-meets–literally every great movie of every genre imaginable (if you’ve been listening to the internet, at least), that doesn’t mean it’s not the exact movie you want it to be.
I don’t want to devote too much time (I didn’t want to devote any time at all, really) to that subsect of men who have attempted to and, to some degree, succeeded in claiming the movie’s narrative for themselves. But know that when I say this movie is whatever you want it to be, that extends to if that *you* is a horrible man-child who assumes this is all feminist propaganda with a woman shooting and saving all the men and empowering women to believe in themselves and other women. If that’s what you’re rallying against, then yeah, I super hate to inform you that that’s what this movie is.
Okay, now that we’ve cleared the room of those dummies, oh wow, is this movie great. Even before the movie began, I was surrounded by fans of all types–I’d guess that a full third of the (fully packed) audience was in some sort of costume or fan gear. Women and men both were sporting not just Wonder Woman tributes, but any number of comic book-themed outfits. Green Lantern and Flash shirts were represented well. And if what you’re looking for is another superhero movie, this not only meets expectations, it will for sure exceed them.
The movie follows the same basic hero’s journey as any installment in the genre, but nearly every element feels like infinitely more care was taken than with its equivalent in the vast majority of comic book movies. Patty Jenkins can direct the hell out of a fight sequence, just as well as a bit of physical comedy. The world-building here, of Themyscira especially, but also of a somewhat supernatural WWI-era Europe, is spectacular, starting with the uniquely beautiful origin set-up sequence.
The drama and action are balanced with just the right amount of silliness, especially from the reportedly loosely scripted scenes between Gal Gadot and Chris Pine. (Speaking of Pine, anyone that saw Into the Woods or even his perfectly fine episode of SNL knows the comedy he’s capable of. He really shines here.)
If you’re looking for a comic book movie, this is a supremely great one. But if you’re hoping that this movie lives up to the unreasonable burden of proving a woman can lead a blockbuster action-packed comic book movie, this is it. I can’t undersell the satisfaction of how this movie embraces womanhood wholeheartedly. When Diana first meets and rescues Steve Trevor, it feels like a nearly shot-for-shot Little Mermaid homage, but then Ariel goes and kicks so much ass. This movie not just allows, but revels in its female lead being romantic, and funny, and naive, and so strong, while remaining, at her core, rooted in kindness. Have no doubt, this movie does Wonder Woman justice, as well as her fans.
(image: Warner Bros)
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