After months of hearing nothing but praise for the new female-driven superhero movie Wonder Woman, it’s now out on DVD so I finally saw it. Needless to say, I went into it with pretty high hopes, given the massive praise I’d seen.
My verdict: The praise was mostly well-founded. Mostly. Because it is quite good, and definitely filling a very real gap in female-driven content. And yet, it still wasn’t as mind-blowingly amazing as I might have hoped.
I never actually watched any “Wonder Women” cartoons, so I knew very little of the premise, except that it’s about a hot chick kicking bad-guy butt. In a superficial way, that does kind of sum it up.
But there’s a bit more to the story in this film. Firstly, it’s a lead-in to connections between Wonder Women and the other DC superheros for the upcoming Justice League film, but this movie is mostly her origin story. We see Wonder Woman as a mini Wonder Girl, if you will, as she grows up on her island of all women warriors. Of course it’s fantasy, and we eventually learn that this class of warrior women is tied in with mythological gods and whatnot, but as my husband and I watched, we were like, “Where are the men? How are they reproducing? Why have they not died off??”
So we were kind of expecting it to go totally anti-man in its story, but it actually stayed mostly away from this pitfall. Instead, a guy from the outside world crash-lands on their island, escaping from Germans in World War I. Then ensues a grand adventure in which Wonder Woman sets off into the war-torn European continent, hoping to kill Ares, the god of war, and thus end the conflict.
For one, I continually found myself asking, “Could she possibly be any more bad-ass?” Honestly, it’s almost to a fault, but not quite. She is just that awesome as she kicks serious butt. The cool thing is also that, despite being such a b-a warrior, she is still a woman. She’s not hard or cold but instead has serious compassion and feeling when faced with the suffering of others. And, one of my favorite parts, she’s walking down a London street and is distracted by, “Oh! A baby!” Yes, you are a woman after all, aren’t you? Thank goodness.
Also, as I said, it really doesn’t fall into the trap of hating on men. Her male acquaintance, while not the main hero of the story, is also not merely a set piece and does do a pretty good job moving the story forward and being a hero at the end of the day.
And then there’s the issue of Wonder Woman’s hotness. Now obviously, skimpy clothes and whatnot. But I was pleasantly surprised to find that she isn’t really over-sexualized. I was half-expecting there to be frequent closeup shots of her various body parts, but I really only noticed one brief short-skirt butt shot of her and one of one of the other warrior women. Considering the norm, really not bad.
The biggest thing that sticks out in my mind is a conversation she has with the guy as they first set out from her island. She’s obviously a bit innocent of societal conventions, so they have a bit of confusion over whether he should or should not be sleeping right next to her in their boat. And she clarifies for him that she does know about sexuality from reading some ancient twelve volume treatise on human pleasure, which concluded that men are necessary only for procreation and not necessary for pleasure… Um, squeamy much? I expected this theme to be expounded upon, but really if anything it was later proven false as their relationship develops and she seems to develop feelings of some kind for him.
There is also an earlier scene in which she walks in on him while he’s naked. Nothing is quite shown, but it’s kind of extremely awkward and makes one wonder, why in the world are you people just standing here and not covering yourself/turning away?
Beyond that, there’s also violence, obviously, but nothing that pushed the PG-13 rating.
I would say the high points definitely outweigh its failings, and on the whole it was quite good. Probably at least a bit above your average superhero movie, and definitely a step in the right direction in regards to the need for more strong women characters in movies.
But I do think I was expecting a bit more amazingness, considering the hype. So while I definitely can recommend it, it’s not necessarily something I would jump to re-watch after already having seen it. After all, watching a woman be unbelievably bad-ass is cool for a while, but it can only take you so far.