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Wonder Woman was perhaps the best super hero movie I’ve seen since…. Avengers. The first one. From beginning to almost-end, this movie was a beautiful, satisfying, epic ride. It was highly enjoyable.
It was one of the first movies I’ve seen in a long time where I felt like every character was truly likable, which was a nice change. It was also fun to see Robin Wright in a movie again. And while she played a very different character than the one she plays in my all-time favorite movie, for the short time she was on-screen she was compelling.
Also, I just really get a kick out of this meme with regards to recent movie-events:
Movies that make my nerdy little heart sing just because of their nerdy aspect are the best. But enough about that.
1. Young Diana is SO. CUTE! This point might be helped out a bit by the fact that young Diana could be my niece’s twin: not just in looks, but in feisty personality. But, wow. She is adorable. And a very believable young Diana. I would have watched a whole movie about young Diana, she was that good.
2. I am not a fan of movies that are all about “girl power.” It just doesn’t thrill me. Probably because those movies are generally filled with militant, abrasive, unattractive personalities. I very much appreciated that Wonder Woman was NOT one of those movies. Despite being about a superhero female set in the actually male-dominated early 1900s of World War I, this movie did not feel like it had any sort of agenda. It showed that there were inequalities back then, but did not make a big point out of them. And Diana never came across as abrasive or man-hating. I actually liked the twist that made the Amazons of Themyscira seem more like a race of super-humans, than an island of macho women who hate men. I felt that the underlying theme of Wonder Woman was not that there is a problem with “men” but with “humanity” as a whole. Perhaps that wasn’t the movie-makers’ intent, but that’s how it came across. I loved that Diana was extremely capable due to her training, but I also loved that she got all gushy when she saw a baby and wanted to go look at it, I loved that she saw the suffering of those living near the front lines and couldn’t refrain from helping, I loved her awkwardness and her innocence. I guess I should admit that Wonder Woman has never really been a favorite super hero of mine. I was always more of a Batman fan (and the only thing Wonder Woman had going for her until recently in my opinion was that she was also a fan of Batman (referencing the Justice League and Justice League Unlimited cartoons)). haha. But Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman has changed my opinion of her. If she continues to stay true to this version of the character, well, she’s turned me into a fan.
3. The relationship between Steve and Diana was really cute. From the awkward moments to the “I find you attractive” moments to the moments of mutual respect for each other’s separate strengths… I just really liked how the relationship was built.
4. The funny. If you’ve read my blog for any amount of time, you know that I need a little humor in my stories in order to really fall in love with them. This movie did a good job of blending laugh-out-loud humor with sweet humor, but keeping those themes in the background. Nothing about World War I was funny, and I also appreciated the serious tone of the movie that was the running underscore.
5. The heart-wrenching. I found myself choked up in several places throughout the movie. This one did a good job pulling at my heartstrings without doing any obvious “emotion manipulating” which I tend to dislike. The moments that made me tear up were authentic and deeply moving.
6. Moments of truth. One thing I just really love is when a secular movie or book accidentally displays a message of Truth. These moments are beautiful and poignant, and all the more powerful for knowing that they got into the script unintentionally. There were two such beautiful moments in the movie Wonder Woman. Diana spends most of the movie on a quest to find Ares, the Greek god of war, because she’s convinced that something like “the war to end all wars” could not possibly happen without his influence. She believes that if she finds and kills him, the war will end and humanity will be freed from his spell and grab hands and sing campfire songs of love and friendship forever. Steve, swept along in her quest, tries to explain to her that she is being naive, but she refuses to believe him. Then comes the moment of truth. And this line from Steve: “You don’t think I wish I could tell you that there is one bad guy out there? … Maybe we are all to blame.”
Gave me shivers. Because it was the argument for human depravity, a depravity we cannot blame on Satan, laid out in a blockbuster film that never intended to give any sort of Biblical message. All truth is God’s truth, my friends.
And then, a few minutes later… this moment:
Diana: They [humanity] are everything you say, but so much more… you’re wrong about them.
Ares: They do not deserve your protection.
Diana: It’s not about what you deserve. It’s about what you believe. And I believe in love. Only love will truly save the world.
And right there, in a few simple lines, a bit of the Gospel message. Christ’s love. Christ’s sacrifice for a fallen, sinful world that didn’t deserve His forgiveness, is the only path to salvation and a right relationship with God. Oh, I know that’s not what the script-writers meant. But it doesn’t make it any less true. Love is the only thing that will save the world… but not our love, and not the love of a fictional superhero. No. Love from God himself, sent to earth on our behalf, though we did not deserve Him.
Overall, I thought the movie was beautiful and epic, a fun ride punctuated by moments of sheer sweetness. The only thing I wasn’t a fan of… was the ending. And there were a few moments of awkward that crossed or came close to crossing the line: Steve is naked at one point… and his nakedness was mostly implied, it still felt inappropriate. There was also a rather awkward conversation, which was handled well, but still seemed to go a bit too far into the area of unnecessary. For those reasons, I would not recommend this as a movie to take your young kids to, and I would definitely recommend that parents of teenagers go see it first before deciding whether or not your child can handle it.
And now I’ve come to the end of the “spoiler free” part of the review. And for my thoughts on what I didn’t like, you’ll have to go through River Song…
There were things I loved about it, and things I really hated about it. I have a post about the super-hero-movie-verse in general spinning around in my head, and maybe I’ll get around to writing it next week. But really, the only thing that bothered me at all about the movie Wonder Woman was the same thing that has annoyed me about every super hero movie since Avengers 1….
The lameness or ease of defeat of the super villain.
I understand the struggle. I really do. These movies are based on comic books and cartoons that had the luxury of taking YEARS to set up super-villains… and the movies have to not only introduce you to characters and worlds you might not be familiar with, but also set up a compelling villain and then have him get defeated in less than 3 hours. Also, the movie makers don’t know if they’ll get the money for a sequel, so they seem to feel that any kind of BIG loose end or un-tied up thread is absolutely forbidden.
It’s a tough thing to do.
Pretty nearly impossible, it appears… as there hasn’t been a great villain in the Marvel universe since Loki.
But I was enjoying that DC was doing things a bit differently. With Batman V Superman setting up a truly compelling Lex Luthor, and letting him survive to scheme another day (because seriously, when has going to prison ever stopped LEX LUTHOR?) and Suicide Squad, which did a phenomenal job of setting up both Amanda Waller and the Joker as future villains that could actually give the Justice League some competition, I have been enjoying seeing the bad guys actually seem like they might pose a bit of a problem that will take longer than a couple of hours (and a lot of running and punching) to defeat.
And then that’s exactly how they ended Wonder Woman. A massive fist-fight that manages to somehow KILL ARES? Really?
It just all seems too easy, which makes for a not very satisfying ending.
But they could have fixed it in one of two ways… and one of those ways would have cost them nothing.
The more complicated way would be to show Diana dragging a defeated (but alive) Ares back to Themyscira and having the Amazons lock him up behind the door to Tartarus (which they guard in various iterations of the comic/cartoon) and then either be reminded of her “banishment” or choose to leave again and remain in the “real world.”
That would have been satisfying, and made it fairly obvious that Ares is a threat that could rise again. It also would have given the Amazons a compelling and non-cowardly-or-selfish-seeming reason to remain on Themyscira.
However, an even easier way to do it, that would have cost absolutely NOTHING would have been this:
As Diana walks away from the crater, have the camera pan up and over the crater, showing a VERY DEEP… seemingly bottomless hole. This would have made people unfamiliar with the mythology think, “Wow, she made a really big hole when she punched Ares in the face.” And they still would have walked away with a warm, fuzzy, “that was nicely wrapped up” sort of feeling. Already-fans, however, would have been given the hope of a sequel… and would have gone home speculating that Diana had pummeled Ares back into Tartarus… and he might rise again someday.
So easy. It would have been SO EASY to make the ending feel a lot more perfect.
I know this is getting long, but can I just take a minute to sob a little about Steve dying? I wanted him to survive SO BADLY. SO MUCH SADNESS!
But then the movie ends with Bruce sending Diana the original picture and *GASP FLAIL FANGIRL SCREAM* it reminded me that I totally ship Batman and Wonder Woman… and all the feels that go along with the hints in that final scene that they are perfect for each other!!!!
Okay, teenager moment done. Along with my review.
Did you see Wonder Woman yet? What did you think?