Wonder Woman: Badassery, the F word, and the thirst for representation | Film Review

When the sexists said no, Wonder Woman said “What bietttchhhhhh”

Wonder Woman
Directed by Patty Jenkins
Written by Allan Heinberg

Music by Rupert Gregson-Williams
Cinematography by Matthew Jensen
Starring: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, Connie Nielsen, Elena Anaya, Ewen Bremner, Saïd Taghmaoui, Eugene Brave Rock as Chief, Lucy Davis.
Year:  2017

I used to want to save the world, this beautiful place. But the closer you get, the more you see the great darkness simmering within. I learnt this the hard way, a long, long time ago.- Diana

After the atrocity that was Man of Steel, and the mediocrity of  Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad, my hopes were not set very high for this, particularly because it still had Zack Snyder somewhere in the credits and I had no faith in anyone giving this bisexual-feminist-kickass- tiara wearing-Amazonian princess the story that she deserved after so many years of being sidelined for male counterparts. I mean, this is the only mayor film starting the best female superhero of all time. But I was surprised, and I’ve already seen the film over four times. It felt like I was watching Deadpool all over again, something so refreshing to the universe it was set in that I could not stop going back for more. 

After her short introduction in BvS, this film gives us her origin story, and how she went from Diana, Princess of Themyscira, Daughter of Hippolyta to Goddess of Truth.  Set in World War I, Diana goes on a quest to find and kill Ares, whom she thinks is the root cause of the hatred and war that plagues the world. As simplistic and repetitive this seems, the lack of any film stories centered around her, shows a new take on female empowerment and fantastic superheroes. Seventy-six years of history thrust upon us in no overwhelming way, all the while, giving us the simple tale we admired in Captain America: The First Avenger, a person wanting to save the world because it is the right thing to do, rather than because it is what they are told or raised to do. 

Now, what this film has done in comparison to recent DC films that separates it as one of the best to have ever been released, is the middle ground between the grittiness of the trenches, the death of loved ones, and the aura of fun. The jokes never feel misplaced, because there is a clear division between what is lighthearted and what will make our hearts clench, with the amazing soundtrack aiding us along the way. The inability to have this separation was one of the biggest issues I’ve had with recent DC films, where their lame attempts at jokes seem as out of place as Diana when she encounters London. 

Much like other films in this franchise, the cinematography is brilliant. Almost every scene is perfectly measured, with beautiful background, and alongside the music, fits perfectly with the story it tells. But the fight scenes were the best, particularly when we encounter the first fight scene and No Man’s Land. It shows that no one is safe from war, no matter how trained. 

Sameer: “I wanted to be an actor, but I am the wrong colour”

Now I must tackle the main issue that people that have not seen the film seem to have, that this is an anti-men and discriminatory film due to it being hailed as a feminist film. Now, the word feminism has always been hijacked, it did not always stand for equality for all, it lacked intersectionality, and even know it remains a polarizing word. There are people that share the values of feminism but do not consider themselves feminist because “they don’t hate men”, or “they don’t believe women are better than men”, none of which have anything to do with feminism, but more to do with the instilled hatred people have for it due to the outliers that are considered part of a “feminist monolith”, without realizing such a generalization is harmful.
For thousands of years, women have been treated as inferior, and the fact we live in a modern world does not diminish the struggles women are still facing. The same people accusing feminist of ruining society are the reason that women are so underrepresented, discriminated against, and the reason we need feminism in the first place. We do not live in a post-feminist society, we live in a world that devalues women, people of colour, minorities, sexualities, and to have a film starring a bisexual woman who is strong, intelligent, and fragile gives voice to many of those concerns. Just because a female stars in a movie in which she kicks butt does not mean that other men superheroes suck, but rather it introduces us to new stories to be told, while giving people representation, and representation matters.
Saying they’re not going to see this film because it is unrealistic to have a female character be so brutal and excellent, is just as ridiculous as those that claim people of colour in Star Trek space is unrealistic, as idiotic as those that pegged Rogue One as succumbing to the masses because it has women and people of colour in it. Just remember that the world is moving without you, and we have no qualms about leaving you behind. 

Easily one of the best films of the year, and one of the best in the superhero genre, period. 

★★★★½

Recommended reads:
Wonder Woman, Volume 1: Blood by Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang. But don’t red anything after volume 6 , the new writers ruined the series.
Wonder Woman By Greg Rucka. Basically anything he wrote of her as the main character.
Wonder Woman (Rebirth) by Greg Rucka and Liam Sharp. One of the best comics out right now. 

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