I’m just going to launch straight into this one. I saw Wonder Woman, I loved it, and yes I got emotional watching it. I’m not talking weeping at a sad film’-emotional, I’m talking a strange blend of joy and empowerment mixed with some residual feminist frustration. I’m twenty-six. That’s the length of time I’ve been waiting to see a heroine of this calibre. Growing up I had April O’Neill in Ninja Turtles, I had the pink and yellow Power Rangers occasionally saying a few lines on screen, and then rarely being made into action figures. I didn’t have this Diana and her fellow Amazons fearlessly taking on invading soldiers, and simply just being heroic figures. To finally have this and know that other girls (and heck, boys too) will grow up with this version of Wonder Woman is amazing. At the same time, it is frustrating- it’s 2017 and this is the first and only time I can recall going to a cinema and seeing a film shot for me and my gaze, and not a heterosexual male gaze in need of some masturbation material. Basically? We need more of this, and never mind it being for the DCEU, we need it generally too.
But I’ll get off my soapbox and put away my feminist theory. I want to celebrate this film- Patty Jenkins has created a masterpiece. It’s a film where the female characters shine, and it’s hard not to feel inspired. The fighting scenes are some of the most stunningly choreographed I have ever seen. Jenkins and the cast really give the viewer a genuine sense of the women’s power and ability, and it’s awe-inspiring. Gal Gadot’s final fight scenes in particular are second to none, and any scepticism I once had towards the costume or the use of the lasso are long gone.
I’d also note that the violence wasn’t gratuitous either. Although we see scenes of death, and soldiers returning from the Front, Jenkins doesn’t glorify or linger on grisly wounds. Again, the fact that it’s refreshing to not see death or dismemberment sexualised speaks volumes.
Then there’s Wonder Woman herself, a breath of fresh air in the dark and gritty DCEU, and I think Gadot’s Diana really evokes some of the best portrayals and qualities of the character found in the comic books (especially early Marston, and Gail Simone’s amazing run from a few years ago). We are given a woman who simply is a hero, and finds joy in helping and supporting others. She is fierce, intelligent, and, crucially for me, empathetic- a trait which is rightly portrayed as a strength, and again, harks back to the best comic book incarnations of Wonder Woman. The fact she’s focused on her goal and Chris Pine’s handsomeness is lower on her list of priorities? Bonus- and about bloody time.
This film isn’t perfect; there are aspects which others have rightly suggested could have been done better- and no, I’m not referring to male-only screenings or the mess that is the script Joss Whedon thankfully never got off the ground in the early 00’s. However, this Wonder Woman comes bloody close to perfect for me. I didn’t know how much I needed it until I saw it, and believe me, I’ll be seeing it again. I hope that those making future films take note.