At the beginning, I really wanted to like Wonder Woman. As the movie continued, I worried that I would be disappointed, but as the end credits started playing I found that I had gotten my wish. I’m not really a superhero movie person. The Dark Knight seemed never ending and as Marvel strives to create the most intricate franchise ever franchised, the quality of storytelling in their films has suffered, plus senseless fight scenes aren’t really my thing. For these reasons, I’ve built up a sort of skepticism when it comes to superhero films. That being said, the powerful themes communicated by a powerful character in Wonder Woman gave me an uncharacteristic appreciation for the film.
That doesn’t mean there weren’t several aspects of the film I dislike and feel were detrimental to the overall experience. Wonder Woman, or Diana, raised on her isolated island certainly wasn’t familiar with the culture of the twenties, but even after her character demonstrated an ability to understand complex themes, Chris Pine’s character, Steve Trevor, failed to answer her numerous questions about propriety and never explained her missteps, leaving her to blunder around as a nearly comic relief character in her own film. Furthermore, although in the end we see her at her worst in the climactic fight scene, for the vast majority of the film she seems perfect: strong, intelligent, strong-minded, clear-headed, compassionate, beautiful, and on the right side of every argument. This perfection lasted so long that I feared her character wasn’t arching at all.
Although to me, the most redeeming scene in the film was the climactic fight scene where all the themes tie together, that’s not to say that I didn’t appreciate other parts of the film. The beginning scenes on the island of Themyscira showcase the Amazons. In addition to other reasons, these scenes are awesome because it is just so much fun to watch these chicks fight. They look powerful and they use cool moves and seem so wholly competent and strong that even watching them train fills you with a very satisfied feeling. In 2017 we expect the first film featuring an independent female superhero to be appropriately feminist, and these scenes starts strong by showcasing right off the bat that women can be strong and powerful and fully independent. In fact, in the story Hippolyta tells to Diana, it seems that men are the ones who need women, or at least the Amazons.
The feminist attitude carries through the film by following a strong female character who has never had a man tell her no, and thus sees no reason to listen when they try. This coupled with the immense sense of power communicated in all of Diana’s fight scenes is definitely a step forward for the super heroines we’ve been waiting to see. I also think it’s important to note that although her outfit might not be school-appropriate, rather than sexualizing her, it only seems to add to her strength. Part of this comes from her complete lack of inhibitions. It is only thanks to a very concerned Chris Pine that she doesn’t sport her supersuit in the streets of 1920s Britain, even though she herself sees no issue with this. She sees no reason for her body to be sexualized, and thus, it is not.
As I said previously though, for me, the most powerful scenes came at the very end. The juxtaposition of Diana’s conflict with Aries and Steve’s conflict within the war create the perfect scenario to express themes about humanity, war, and love. While it may be disappointing for some that romance is such an integral aspect to the plot of the first film featuring an independent female superhero, the themes about love and the parallels between Diana’s story and the mythology introduced at the beginning of the film serve only to make the film more meaningful.
Ultimately, by pairing powerful themes about how humanity can be a beautiful thing despite our imperfections, with a character who can deflect grenades with a shield and a lot of loud noise, Wonder Woman is a wonderful movie, despite its imperfections.
Alex Houdeshell, Staff Writer
Senior Alex Houdeshell is the Editor-in-Chief of the 2016-2017 Horizons yearbook. In addition to running cross country, indoor track, and track and field, she is the President of Operation Smile. In her spare time, she enjoys playing hackey sack or ultimate frisbee, reading Time magazine, and making a lot of milkshakes.