Wonder Woman: Tiny Doom Reviews

Photo credit: screenrant.com

Hopefully, you already saw Wonder Woman if you are reading this. If not, you may want to bookmark this for later because – spoilers.

Before I even get into the movie itself, it’s almost impossible not to talk about the discussion leading up to Wonder Woman. For women in Hollywood and women characters, there was a lot riding on this one film. That’s largely because the reality is that women don’t get the chance to fail like men do. One dude does a bad thing and it’s #notallmen, but women don’t get that luxury. If WW is considered a failure by the industry it’s “women heroes can’t carry a movie”, or “women can’t direct superhero movies.” Never mind the sub-par records of some other male-centric superhero movies (Batman v Superman, Daredevil, Punisher), these directors and characters all got second chances. I know I don’t feel confident that women are afforded the same luxury, so Diana and Patty Jenkins carried a lot of their shoulders. Thankfully I don’t think we have to test this theory with Wonder Woman. While I didn’t feel it was the best movie (I’m not sure anything can dethrone Fury Road for me), it was a good movie – you know, for a movie about a woman hero written entirely by men.

I haven’t been shy about the fact that largely the DC movies haven’t been for me. It’s a stylistic opinion, but I have generally felt these movies lack joy and color. Wonder Woman tries to buck that trend…at least at the beginning. Themyscira is beautiful, full of cool blues, crisp green, and shining gold. It’s the world of man that is drab, and drags us back into that standard DC color palette. The movie is essentially an origin story. As WW’s origin is less known than her male counterparts this makes sense. And as a character more steeped in traditional myth, this gives an opportunity to explore another part of the DC Universe, especially for those WW fans who don’t read comics.

Photo Credit: digitalspy

There was a lot that was good with this movie. First, the Amazons. My main disappointment with them was that they were only in a small part of the movie! While there could have been some more diversity, as someone who will soon be part of the over 40 set, it was nice to see that Themyscira was not filled with young waifs. Nor were the older women covered in overflowing gowns or caftans that hid their bodies. The Amazons were shown as strong, with scars, or marks out in the open.

Diana herself is very much a fish out of water for the majority of the film but remains self-assured and formidable. I’m not gonna lie, the No Man’s Land scene was powerful, and that’s because Diana looks powerful. I believed she was unmovable, and then able to move forward despite what was being hurled at her. It’s maybe a little heavy-handed in terms of metaphor, but I don’t care. For me, it worked. There were some other interesting takes on common tropes. As The Red Menace overheard two women in the bathroom discussing, the typical make-over scene was flipped on its head as Etta Candy (MORE ETTA!) is tasked with making a beautiful woman more dowdy, less distracting to men. You know, so they can continue planning the war and whatever. Thank God she wasn’t wearing yoga pants or leggings, society would have come to a standstill.

photo credit: The Grapevine

My biggest disappointment is the reveal that Diana’s strength is based in the power of love – here’s a trope I would like to see a lot less of! While I get what they are trying to say, having this reveal of her ultimate strength comes right on the heels of Steve Trevor’s death (yeah, he was totally fridged) made it feel more like romantic love, and an utter cliché. I felt the initial scene where Diana first reveals herself as an Amazon and crosses No Man’s Land (I see what you did there), is a much better characterization of her values. Diana’s strength lies in compassion and despite being a god, in her humanity. Compassion, of course, is a type of love, yes, and we see this play out in how Diana rescues a village no one else thinks is worth the time. But the moment where she “seizes the sword” of her own power was too wrapped up in her feelings for Steve, and given the romance angle, that he could be seen as an avatar for the human race gets overshadowed. Diana’s story and origin shouldn’t be based on her love for Steve, but rather in the fact that her compassion is what drives her decisions.

All that said, I think this movie is doing what it needs to do. It is proving that women heroes and directors (let’s get some women writers in there too) can carry a big budget movie. And more importantly how exciting is it for kids of all genders to have Diana be one of their first exposures to heroes? It’s pretty dang great.

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8 comments

  1. Bree Herne (@breeherne)

    My biggest beef with wonder woman was the colonialism and she came when the (white) world needed her.
    For a European war.

    Diana asks the Native American Smuggler “what happened to your people?” and the smuggler replies, “his people,” nodding to her love interest––referring to white people slaughtering them. Diana responds by saying nothing––literally shrugging off Indigenous genocide––and the film continues with her killing even more for her love interest’s people and cause with no reflection on that damning conversation.

    Then there is the tokenism: first (and only) women of color we see in Themyscira are a mammy figure, a silent brute (who is shown taking a powerful blow to the back and responding with only a grunt), and other silent or mostly silent, unnamed characters.

    My main beef really is the same beef I have with White Feminism.

    • mcmurray110

      I disagree about the lack of women of color among the Amazons. There were dozens. Director Patty Jenkins got help from her husband Sam Sheridan using his MMA ties to recruit various women fighters, stunt women, acrobats, etc. He even recruited Ann Wolfe to be Artemis! There was also Ann Ogbomo as Philippus, Florence Kasumba as Senator Acantha, Eleanor Matsuura as Epione, Jacqui-Lee Pryce as Niobe, and many more. I do agree that there could have been more screen time & dialogue with the Amazons before Diana leaves the island.
      Here’s a link to a photo album on my Facebook page of Amazons behind the scenes. You’ll see just how diverse they were.
      https://www.facebook.com/garthmcmurray/media_set?set=a.10209727807854368.1073741847.1305771672&type=3

      • Garth McMurray

        I stand corrected. I thought the Amazons had more lines, but upon viewing the movie again I noted just how many lines they have. Besides Diana, Queen Hippolyta, & General Antiope the other Amazons don’t have many lines. In the first 16 minutes before Steve Trevor & the Germans arrive on Themyscira the other Amazons only have 8 to 10 lines, after the battle with the Germans they only have 12 more lines before Diana & Steve leave the island 39 minutes in. It would have been nice to have a half hour or more with just the Amazons before Steve & the Germans arrive with more dialogue & history. I’d love to see a TV series or spin off movie just about the Amazons of Themyscira.

  2. Sal

    I don’t know…

    It seems to me that for what was a very segregated time the film wotked hard to be inclusive. It seems a bit sour to fault the film for that reason. I certainly don’t want that to happen for the upcoming ‘Black Panther’ film. WW is a giant leap forward for the film industry. Women. Women are the most important thing about this film. And, as you point out, not just ‘perfect’ women, but women of maturity and wisdom. That being said, it’s still a comic book film, and thus adaptation of the source material improves on nearly every element. I, also, didn’t think it was a perfect film. It plods through the final third, but at it’s heart, it HAS heart! And is the first super hero film with a true romance at its core. My goodness, they have sex! Chris Pine and Gal Godot have real chemistry and do a superb job making the mythical story believable. And the supporting characters were well thought out and memorable. Good review, Tiny Doom! Loved reading your thoughts.

    • tinydoom

      Thanks Sal! I guess where we differ in opinion is that I don’t want romantic love to be what helps her find her core strength. I had a similar discussion with a family member. He felt Diana was inspired by Steve’s sacrifice, which, would have been fine. But given all the sexual tension and banter, that’s not how it played out for me. I don’t think they developed Diana enough as an independent character (not in the context of Steve) for it not to play that way, which is disappointing.

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