My Soul Looks Back and Wonders: A Critical Examination of the Wonder Woman Movie

[IMAGE DESCRIPTION: Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. She’s seen from the knees up, in Wonder Woman armor, wielding the magic lasso which is twirled around her.]

Earlier this week, writer, film critic, activist, and blerd Valerie Complex reached out to me on Twitter to find out my opinion on the new Wonder Woman film, since I had not had any public discussion of the film after viewing it. I suggested that she and I engage in a dialogue about it, much like Lawrence Ware and I did with the Get Out film. Complex was down and so she and I went to work on the very sensitive matter of looking critically at a film and a character that means so very much to the both of us.

This dialogue contains spoilers. Proceed at your own risk.

Valerie Complex: And the conversation starts — NOW.

I knew better than to be shocked at what I saw in Wonder Woman. I prepared myself and yet here I am, still surprised. I have been reading a lot of think pieces and I have noticed that the opinions of white folks vs. people of color (PoC) — and men vs. women — are drastically different, at least in the media. I shouldn’t expect them to be woke to intersectionality issues. But again, here I am wondering what they saw that I did not.

Robert Jones, Jr.: LISTEN. I have been a fan of Wonder Woman for more than 40 years. She is the very second superhero that I ever loved. The first was Valerie from Josie and the Pussycats. Yeah, I know Valerie’s not a superhero in the traditional sense, but she, with her enormous intellect and musical talent, was always a superhero to me. But I digress.

I have been waiting for a Wonder Woman film for my entire life. I was pumped. I had read all the reviews: cheered at the good ones and side-eyed the few bad ones. I wasn’t going to let random critics that knew nothing about Wonder Woman ruin my mood. I bought tickets weeks in advance. I dragged my partner to the theater. I sat comfortably in my seat, behind some wonderful black women with Wonder Woman t-shirts on, and in front of a little white boy who seemed incredibly excited to see Wonder Woman. Then the movie started and one of the first things I saw pissed me the fuck off: One of the Amazons of color was Diana’s caretaker/instructor, chasing precocious little Diana around an island as Diana tries to escape her so that she can watch her Aunt Antiope train other Amazons in the ways of the warrior. I thought to myself: “Shit. They have Mammies on Paradise Island, too? Who’s paradise is this exactly?”

VC: Oh shit! I just screamed out loud in the 6 train!

RJJ: LOL!

VC: I saw that as well and gave it the side eye. I thought to myself, “When we said representation, this wasn’t what we were referring to.”

RJJ: Preach!

But we have to be very specific with white people. When we say “diversity,” we mean it. We mean on equal footing with white people. We mean in equal numbers as white people. We mean in equal positions as white people. But when white people say “diversity,” they mean “tokenism.” They mean “Sure, just as long as you don’t outnumber and outshine the white people. Just as long as we can present you in the ways in which we feel comfortable presenting you,” which usually means relying on some type of black stereotype.

VC: I had my reservations with speaking out out my issues. I have written about representation so much I felt like a broken record. But I think it’s important to exam this. Even as Hollywood slowly gets better in representing black folks, it is still an uphill battle with other marginalized communities. Unfortunately, many may say I am nitpicking, but if that is what it takes for studios, writers, producers, whomever to get this shit right, then I have to keep speaking up. These muthafuckas are remedial and they need guidance on what visibility means versus what representation means.

[IMAGE DESCRIPTION: Ann Ogbomo as Philippus, Jacqui-Lee Pryce as Niobe, and ??? dressed in Amazon warrior gear, looking at the camera with serious/grimacing faces.]

RJJ: You are not lying. So I was like, “Okay, you gave us a Mammy and weren’t even low-key about it. But you can fix this. You can now give us a dimensional black Amazon. Instead, of the two other black Amazons I remember seeing, one was portrayed as though she were a “brute.” Another Amazon strikes her on her back very hard with a stick and this Amazon, who I think was named Artemis, is unfazed, bringing us back to the white supremacist stereotypes about black women’s lack of femininity and womanhood, the hypermasculinization of black women, the inability of black women (or black people in general) to feel pain or be considered dainty, demure, or vulnerable, and, therefore, worthwhile targets of abuse. This pathology was used to justify all sorts of horrors committed against black bodies, including chattel slavery. To add insult to injury, in the comic books, Artemis is an Amazon from a “savage,” treacherous, darker-skinned, Middle Eastern/North African tribe of Amazons who are portrayed as needing to be “civilized” by the decidedly whiter Amazons of Themyscira. Ugh.

(EDIT: And let me clarify for those individuals who, out of outrage that I dared criticize something they enjoyed, have begun to conflate Ann Wolfe, the athlete and actor who played Artemis, with the character of Artemis:

The “brute” critique has nothing to do with who Wolfe is or what her stature happens to be, and everything to do with how she’s portrayed as having a white Amazon beat her across the back with a staff and not be fazed by it, which falls directly in line with hundreds of years of white supremacist stereotypes about black people’s inability to feel pain, justifying the abuse of black people. “Brute” is the term used in race theory to describe this pathology and it only sometimes refers to the black person’s physique and almost always refers to the tolerance for pain and abuse. And that would apply whether the black person is 6'7" and 300 lbs or 5'0" and 90 lbs.)

Then the other Amazon is a senator who can’t even finish a sentence before being cut off by Princess Diana, with Diana’s apologies, of course.

VC: Chile, look: We got duped. During the promotional run, black women where like “Where are the PoC?!” And then they announced that Ann Wolfe and Florence Kumbyasha were cast. I got hype! Then to hear Philippus was going to be in it — I just knew this was gonna be the superhero film we’ve been waiting for.

Then, I had to take a step back. I know better and knew better not to fall for that PR stunt. Then, when reviews rolled around with all this glowing praise from white female critics, I knew something was off.

RJJ: After witnessing what they did with those Amazons of color, all I kept thinking about was black women’s complaints about white feminism and how white feminism lacks an adequate lens through which to dismantle white supremacy, among other things.

What do you make of the suggestion that Gal Gadot is not actually “white” in the classic sense — that because she is Jewish, she may be inherently other, and more a person of color than a white person?

[IMAGE DESCRIPTION: A Wonder Woman movie poster in which Wonder Woman is lifting a tank above her head.]

VC: I don’t know if this is going to win me any fans, but being inserted into the white women circle of film critics has taught me a lot and it has taught me about what they know and what they don’t know, and that they want me to give them the information that is lacking. Because, of course, they don’t see it like I do and I am hesitant to bring up the issues because I don’t want to seem like I’m being defensive or antagonistic. As for Gal Gadot being a person of color, well I knew that was nonsense. But I was so glad to see people of the Jewish faith step up and make clear that the actress is not a person of color: She is white a white woman. Do you think that Gal Gadot would have gotten the approval of white people if they thought she was Middle Eastern? Come on, son….

RJJ: Agreed. Part of Whiteness is being regarded as white whether you identify as such or not, being afforded the benefits of white supremacy whether you identify as white or not. Part of it is aesthetic and phenotypical, and if you look like you can pass for a white person, with or without a slight tan, then you are, at least in the racial landscape of the United States, for the most part, white. Otherwise, Lupita Nyong’o would have had just as much as a chance to play Wonder Woman as Gadot.

Sometimes, in some social contexts, “not black” is all the qualification one needs to be considered white or white adjacent.

VC: The way women of color were marketed really bugged me. There were no Asians that I saw, did you see them?

RJJ: None that I noticed. In the comics, an Asian woman, Euboea, is Diana’s best friend on Themyscira. IMDB indicates that Euboea was, indeed, cast, and played by a Chinese-Canadian actor named Samantha Jo. But I don’t remember seeing her in the film. I’m pretty sure she didn’t have any lines.

VC: Do you feel like we’re being nitpicky for expressing our concerns here? I don’t know why there’s a part of me that actually feels bad about discussing this. Shouldn’t we be satisfied that this is finally happening, that women everywhere can rejoice and I finally have a superhero to look up to? The movie is good (until the third act), but the representation is really bugging me. So little time was spent on the island, which I feel should have been the focus of the first film. The idea that Patty Jenkins, Zack Snyder, and the whole DC crew want to fast forward the narrative really trips me out. Steve Trevor had too much on screen time for a love interest, yet I’ve seen people comment that when the women somehow manages to subvert gender tropes. No, it didn’t subvert anything. It just masked them under the guise of “feminism.”

How significant is Trevor in the comics? Would he normally take up so much time? I feel like he was in at least 2 hours of the 2.5 hour ordeal which also left me feeling kinda sour.

RJJ: We are being critical of the art we digest. I don’t find a single thing wrong with that. If some wish to characterize this as nitpicking, I find that dismissive, but that is their right. I adore Wonder Woman. I’m ecstatic that this film was finally made and that it’s doing fantastic at the box office. There are things about this film that I thought were amazing. Almost every fight scene was fantastic. I, too, wish they spent more time on Themyscira. Outside of the fight scenes, the scenes on Themyscira is where the film felt most unique and alive. Outside of the racial stereotypes on Themyscira, I enjoyed those scenes the most.

But the minute she leaves the island, she loses any chance at sisterhood.

Wait a minute: We never really get to see Diana’s engagement in sisterhood on Themyscira, either. When she’s there, she’s either being mothered or trained in the ways of war. We have no idea what her friendships or romantic relationships are like on the island.

In regard to Steve Trevor, I felt like the film was trying to assure those in the audience with fragile masculinity that no matter how powerful Wonder Woman is, Trevor can “take care of himself and be heroic too!” So much time was spent on Trevor. Lois Lane NEVER got that much time and focus in Superman. I feel like the filmmakers were buying into the audience’s perceived sexism, splitting the screen time between Wonder Woman and Trevor so that the dudebros in the audience didn’t feel “emasculated by the feminist agenda.” I would argue that, no, Trevor is not this essential in the comics, and never really had been except during this weird period in 1950s America, when the comic was used as propaganda to help men convince women that their role as housewives was the only one that mattered.

You know why Trevor had to die heroically at the end, right? Two reasons: One: A noble effort. I think, to some measure, they were trying to subvert the stereotype of women dying to give men their heroic arc by flipping it and having the man die to give the woman her heroic arc. But what I think happens is: Two, it comes across like he has to die heroically to redeem his “emasculation” by being saved by a woman earlier (even though he “saves” her immediately following her rescuing him).

[IMAGE DESCRIPTION: Chris Pine as Steve Trevor looking at Wonder Woman as she dances with him.]

VC: I was not okay with that. Once Steve died and Diana had that montage epiphany and realized that Steve’s love gave her the power to defeat Ares — like, a man’s love, not the love of those who raised her, or the love of her sisters. Huh?! And the idea that they went straight to sex was weird. She just met him. She is just adjusting to the world of man and she is gonna let some stranger stick his penis in her vagina? NOT REALISTIC.

Also, the production could stand to be WITHOUT Zack Snyder. I say add more women, specifically women of color (WoC) writers for the sequel. Snyder helped write the script, and you can see so much of his influence especially in the third act. I’d like to see a DC film without his name being attached anywhere.

Snyder is notorious for producing works in which women experience some type of abuse or die. That makes me think about the Amazons. You train your whole life as a warrior, you have fought the gods on Olympus, but your crew can’t take out 10 people with guns? Maybe I am being a bitch about that. But it didn’t translate well on screen to me.

RJJ: Everything you said about Diana’s final epiphany and motivation is right on point. One of the most curious things about the film was Antiope’s death. Diana mourned her for like .03 seconds and then was off to flirt with Trevor while he was taking a bath. And then, after just knowing him for a few days, when Trevor dies, Diana goes through such a traumatic mourning and loses it to the point at which she almost kills Dr. Poison, another woman. Yo. Your aunt, who you’ve known all of your life, just took a bullet for you and you ain’t really trip like that. But this dude you’ve known for a good 36 minutes blows himself up and you are steam pressed and go buck? Help me understand.

It’s easy to tell that a woman directed this film because the camera choices reflect that (women are never sexually objectified, ogled, or dissected by the lens). But you call tell that men wrote it because of how dominant the male voices, perspectives, and explaining are. And I don’t care what nobody says: Snyder’s hand is all over that third act, with its weird CGI choices and its grandiose, over-the-top, fire-and-brimstone religious dogma. Snyder is the white Tyler Perry.

I can see it in the script now:

“And the D is so good that the thought of losing it drives Diana into a murderous rage, until she remembers the highlights of Trevor’s mansplaining and calms the fuck down and does like her man instructed her to.

AND SCENE!”

VC: Sounds just like a Snyder sound bite. LOL!

[IMAGE DESCRIPTION: A gif of Antiope (Robyn Wright) leaping into the air and shooting arrows.]

You see his influence is throughout, especially in the third act — which is atrocious. @ me bitch. @ me! And you can tell the directorial differences between Patty Jenkins and Zack Snyder if you look at the difference between Sucker Punch and Wonder Woman. I think in order to get a clean film the way we want it, Synder has to be gone from the slate.

Antiope’s death even hit me hard. Robyn Wright always puts 1000% into her performances. And to see her, and even Connie Neilsen, wasted so that Diana could explore the world with this strange man just leaves me exhausted. Again, this film doesn’t circumvent anything; people just didn’t look hard enough. And I get it, it’s easy to get swept up in the moment because there has never been a live-action Wonder Woman.

But can we talk about Gal Gadot for a minute?

I was a naysayer at first. I didn’t think she was the right fit. I wanted actress Lynn Collins for the role. I figured since Ben Affleck had been cast as Bruce Wayne, they would get a more seasoned-looking woman. But Gal kinda won me over, but not because her performance per se, but I dunno there is something about her on-screen presence I dug. And then the controversy of her being a Zionist came up, and that threw me.

[IMAGE DESCRIPTION: Gif of Wonder Woman picking up a tank and throwing it into a building.]

RJJ: Gal Gadot won me over completely. I think her performance was magnificent. She was the driving force of this film no matter how hard the script tried to make Trevor a hero equal to Wonder Woman. But at the same time, I feel guilty and hypocritical because of Gadot’s anti-Palestinian beliefs.

As I told a friend: I saw the film even though I knew about her beliefs. Why? Because as problematic as her position is, as dangerous a philosophy as a particular strain of Zionism is to perpetuate because such a philosophy leads to real-life discrimination, domination, and destruction, her words differ for me, for example, from someone doing direct physical harm — like say R. Kelly, who actually raped dozens of black girls. And let me be clear: That’s also me making up a false distinction to justify going to see a movie I really wanted to see. That’s really me saying, “Since her bigotry doesn’t affect me directly, I can make an exception.” Because I know, for a fact, that if Gadot was on the record for hating black people, there’s no way on Earth I’d be going to see this movie. But since I’m not Palestinian, I’m exercising, arrogantly, my Western, American privilege. And I will have to sit with that bigotry, complicity, dishonesty, dissonance, and hypocrisy for a long while as people die in my name and I pretend like I have nothing to do with it.

Like you, I never intended to say any critical shit about this film publicly because I want and need it to succeed. As problematic as this film is, it’s positioned to break down walls and shatter ceilings. And I didn’t want to ruin anyone else’s celebration and enjoyment by being That Guy.

But at the same time, it’s hard to ignore the flaws in its identity politics in the name of identity politics. Particularly since the film dropped the ball and shut down dialogues before they even had a chance to happen. When the First Nation Chief (yo, the legit call him “The Chief” like that’s not anti-First Nation racism) tells Wonder Woman about what happened to his people and how Trevor’s people were responsible, she gives a sympathetic look and then…nothing. Not even a “Yo, Steve: Is this shit true?”

The argument about whether or not Wonder Woman is white is pretty much settled right then and there.

VC: Ooh that stings. But that really bothered me. Why didn’t she seem to give a fuck? Isn’t giving a fuck what Wonder Woman is all about? Truth and justice. It appears like it was written in as a comedic moment, as opposed to something they actually planned to examine. I wished that white writers wouldn’t do that. It doesn’t make you seem progressive or woke. It just makes me distrust your judgement.

I’m so mad was suppose to be on the Black Girl Nerds podcast tonight and fucking had the wrong time. We were supposed to talk about Wonder Woman.

RJJ: I love Black Girl Nerds.

VC: Damn! I’m upset. Anyway….

RJJ: You know, for all of its perceived faults, this was still such an important film. And it had one of the best action sequences I’ve ever seen in cinema: Wonder Woman crossing No Man’s Land, which I think was symbolic in addition to being aesthetically astounding. That scene is ICONIC. Did you know they almost didn’t make that scene and Jenkins had to make the case for it?

[IMAGE DESCRIPTION: Wonder Woman holding up her shield, blocking military fire.]

VC: I was going to continue with saying how I am still trying to figure out the definition of Zionism. Is Gal a Zionist? Or the pure definition of one? I tried to give her the benefit. Maybe her publicist will tell her to keep her mouth closed next time.

RJJ: I’m not an expert by any stretch of the imagination. But I think Zionism, speaking in the purest definition of the term, means the belief that Israel has a right to exist and a right to be established as a nation-state. That, in and of itself, seems pretty harmless and just. I think in practice, however, it means that Israel should exist at the expense of Palestine. That Israel should exist and Palestine should be destroyed. And I simply cannot rock with that for any reason.

VC: I see. Welp in the technical sense, that would seem to make her a Zionist. Although, I know things are a lot more complicated than the label itself.

Where do you want to see the sequel go? What characters do you want to see? Storyline?

RJJ: I’d like the sequel to be set in the modern day, with a strong supporting cast of mostly women characters. I’d like to see it open with her saving a women’s clinic from a Christian terrorist bombing. I know that wouldn’t play in Hollywood, though.

[IMAGE DESCRIPTION: A panel from a comic book in which Nubia is seen in a costume similar to the Wonder Woman costume, speaking into a futuristic, mystical device.]

VC: We need more exploration of the past, or at least of the island. Since they lazily wrote off and killed the Gods of Olympus, I think that sisterhood you mentioned needs to be explored WAY more in the sequel. It would also be a great way to introduce Nubia and Circe. According to Nubia’s origin, Ares stole Nubia and brainwashed her to be against the Amazons. So when she came for Diana she was under Ares’ control. In the sequel, imagine that now because Ares is dead, Nubia comes out of hiding for revenge against Ares’ killer. Or instead of Ares kidnapping Nubia at birth, what if Circe took Nubia instead? That would be a great way to usher in both characters in the DC Extended Universe (DCEU).

RJJ: Your point about the gods reminds me of how they pretty much erased the role of the goddesses in the film. In every major incarnation of Wonder Woman, Athena and Aphrodite, in particular, played huge roles in Diana’s creation story. A recent run, however, sought to make Wonder Woman more accessible to men and boys (whatever the fuck that means) and replaced the goddesses with Zeus and it seems the movie followed suit. What makes that extra disgusting is how much of a rapist Zeus is in the classical myths. To make him, of all gods, Wonder Woman’s father is like putting a men’s rights activist in charge of a feminist organization.

Any incarnation of Nubia would have to be written by a black woman. I wouldn’t trust anyone else to get it right. That character already has a history of being steeped in black woman stereotypes. So I would definitely need Ava DuVernay or some other black woman writer to revise the concept. Otherwise, I would rather they didn’t even try. I was telling a friend earlier that Circe would be a great way to explore the idea “What if Wonder Woman was evil?” because that’s essentially her whole deal — she’s the extremist, murderous, chaos-creating Wonder Woman.

VC: I feel like Circe would be used wrong as well. Like she would be written like some queerbaiting sex-witch ripe for the male gaze. But I would really like to see something hinting at the queerness that exists on Themyscira. But then again, you mentioned the trust issue, and can we even trust these people to get it right? We know Jenkins has dealt with queer themes because of her directing Monster, but the writers? Zack Snyder? I don’t even want to think about it. And neither of the two directors has directed a film or TV show that has had a PoC in a lead role. So now that you mention it, I don’t know if I trust them to create, write, and fully materialize a character like Nubia.

RJJ: LOL! Was there a particular scene or theme in the film you liked/enjoyed?

VC: I enjoyed the scenes that didn’t include fighting the most. Gal has a gorgeous smile and I loved seeing that over her uber serious demeanor in Batman vs. Superman. Seeing all that wide-eyed naivety got me a bit teary eyed, until I snapped out of it. LOL!

[IMAGE DESCRIPTION: A gif of Wonder Woman using her lasso to subdue German soldiers.]

RJJ: When she sees a baby for the first time melted my heart. And then I got upset when Trevor wouldn’t let her hold it. Watching her walk through the gas attack and see the horrors of war. I think that scene had tremendous impact. Oh, and the lasso was dope, I have to say. I love the lasso. I also love the combat choreography. One thing I think gets missed it how often she chooses a non-lethal method of combat when she can. I’d like to go back just to see the number of times she disarms rather than kills. But they really need to chill on the slow motion in this film. I liked the scene when she fights off the thugs in the alleyway. But then they ruined it by having Trevor get the final punch just to show us: “See! He can still be ‘The Man’ even when Wonder Woman is around.”

VC: Damn that’s a great point. I hadn’t even thought of shit like that

RJJ: I think three things tempered my enjoyment of the film:

  1. It seemed to drag/crawl/stop in certain scenes in a way that was jarring and killed momentum.
  2. They did so much work to prove that Steve Trevor wasn’t a dude-in-distress and keep his manhood/masculinity intact.
  3. There was an undertone in the film that said to me “Not All Men!” and this last point is probably what irked me most.

My partner, who isn’t into sociopolitical examination in the same way that I am, noticed point #3 as well. He actually was the first person to comment on it after the movie ended and he saw that I was in somewhat of a state of stunned silence.

The moral of the story is: Wonder Woman not only needs a woman director; she needs women writers as well — including women of color; especially black women. The absence of such brings to mind two James Baldwin quotes:

“Whatever white people do not know about Negroes reveals, precisely and inexorably, what they do not know about themselves.”

And:

“I, speaking now as Negro, have been described by you for hundreds of years. And now, I can describe you. And that’s part of [your] panic.”

VC: Let me back up your points by saying this:

  1. I found the film was slowed or weighed down by the forced development of love between Steve and Diana. Dancing in the square? Unnecessary. Sex after two days? Unsatisfactory. They need to constantly force him into equal status? Boring.
  2. There is always a bit of Steve Trevor everywhere. He takes up too much of the film. Just too much.
  3. Wonder Woman needs to be relatable to all women. In front, Behind, and in the film crew. Did you see the film crew for the film? I don’t think there were very many women involved in the production. I could be wrong, but I saw that production photo and was shocked.

They need consultants. Oh, fuck it: They need help! We can’t go into the sequel with things the way they are. I am not going to accept it. And I won’t be fooled either.

RJJ: I’m both disheartened and frightened by the idea that Patty Jenkins might have been the sole woman involved in the production of this film, but not surprised. The film itself seemed to be a kind of tug of war (no pun intended) between Jenkins trying her best to undermine patriarchal renditions where she could, and present us with an autonomous hero free of male intrusions, and a script that was like, “Nah.”

There are some places in the script where she succeeds, though: Wonder Woman is, after all, correct, and Trevor is, after all, wrong, about her assertions of Ares’ involvement, even if she initially kills the wrong person — which, come to think of it, irritates me that she couldn’t sense that while the person she killed was bad, he wasn’t Ares. Also, it made no sense whatsoever for Ares to reveal himself if his goal was to continue destroying humankind. If he knew Wonder Woman was the secret to his destruction, continuing to deceive her would have been his best bet. How you the god of war, but your strategy is wack?

She asserts her authority by marching into No Man’s Land against Trevor’s protests and her decision is the right one.

There’s a cute scene where Trevor uses an Amazonian method of combat to assist Wonder Woman and I thought: Wow! A movie that lets men learn from women? I wonder how they got that past the gatekeepers.

So in at least some of the cases, Wonder Woman’s refusal to be mansplained to is confirmed as right and supported by the film. Sometimes, we see her feminine influence on those around her. But at the same time, the revelation at the end that Ares is responsible for World War I, and that once he’s killed men become “good” again, sort of, for me, upholds the “Not All Men!” idea that I despise. The tug of war for me personally is seeing this inspiring, wonderful woman be the smartest, strongest, fastest, and most compassionate in a movie that feels it’s necessary to pump up the men around her (and, therefore, in the audience) so they’re not intimidated, without actually examining why it’s wrong for men to be intimidated by a liberated woman to begin with.

Did you notice the hint of queerness in the film, where a nameless Amazon rushes to Antiope’s side when she dies? I wish more context was given there so that the queer love there was more clearly and indisputably defined. Why is queerness still regarded as something “children shouldn’t be exposed to” when guaranteed that there are more queer kids in a Wonder Woman film audience than not?

[IMAGE DESCRIPTION: Amazons, led by Antiope, march into battle on horseback.]

VC: I didn’t catch that. What I mean by “sisterhood” is this closeness: That the Amazons care about one another and love one another beyond busting each other’s heads in and dying. Of course, that’s more overt, but queerness is always subtle. I am tired of subtle hints. Men love other men, women love other women. It’s time for studios to start fostering relationships with their queer audiences. Give us a relationship between two Amazons. I mean, do people really think on an island of women, they aren’t fucking one another?

Children are smarter than we give them credit for. If their parents are teaching them that love is love, then seeing two Amazons hold hands shouldn’t be a problem. If Amazons are good enough to die, and Diana is good enough to fuck Steve, we can have some queerness up in this series.

RJJ: The people who own the Wonder Woman trademark and brand don’t really have, and haven’t really had, much faith in the character and her potential. She has historically played third fiddle to the likes of Batman and Superman. And I think the corporate types don’t really get her appeal. That is why they’ve been so hesitant about doing anything with her. It’s why Green Lantern, a character no one outside of a few die-hards is checking for, could get a film before her. That’s why they had to “test” her out in Batman vs. Superman. They projected their feelings, insecurities, and ignorance onto an audience and assumed we wouldn’t want a Wonder Woman anything, much less a movie, because they didn’t want one. This movie and the reaction to it proved them dead wrong.

Quite honestly, I think she frightens them with her representations of womanhood, queerness, wisdom, femininity, strength, liberation, and truth. But with the success of this film, I want to see what excuses they’ll use to continue to underestimate both her and us. Thankfully, we have some artists who really love the character and do their best to serve her, even in the hostile environment in which she resides. Folks should check out Wonder Woman comic book works by Greg Rucka, Gail Simone, Phil Jimenez, Nicola Scott, Liam Sharpe, Renae de Liz, Ray Dillion, Christopher Moeller, and William Messner Loebs to get a better sense of the character and her potential.

Any final words on Wonder Woman?

VC: Do better by everyone in the sequel.

Do better by Diana, who needs no male influence.

Do better by the Amazons by showing their might but also their love for one another, being women who live their daily lives among one another.

Do better by representing WoC by giving them complexity, agency, and autonomy. Give them names we can hear and roles that are authentic. I don’t want to see another WoC there to just enhance the story of the white protagonist.

Please get more women behind the camera and in the Wonder Woman crew.

Most importantly: Women should be writing this story. That Zack Snyder involved in the writing at all makes me feel sick, and I don’t want to see his influence in another Wonder Woman film. Let him ruin anything else.

But not Wonder Woman.

[IMAGE DESCRIPTION: A Mock Wonder Woman movie poster created by Doaly in which Wonder Woman is seen busting out of a vintage Greek vase, knocking a German solider out of the vase as well.]

Valerie Complex, a disabled military veteran, is a known freelance writer and professional nerd. As a lover of Japanese animation, comics, and all things film, she is passionate about diversity across all entertainment media. Along with being a writer for Black Girl Nerds, and an approved Rotten Tomatoes critic, she has written for well-known sites and magazines such as The Nerdist, The Mary Sue, IGN, Geek & Sundry, and many others. She can be found on Twitter.

Robert Jones, Jr. is a writer from Brooklyn, N.Y. A member of Phi Beta Kappa, he earned both his B.F.A. with honors in creative writing and M.F.A. in fiction from Brooklyn College. His work has been featured in The New York Times, Essence, Gawker, and The Grio. He is the creator of the social justice social media community, Son of Baldwin, which can be found on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. His first novel is completed and is in the fine-tuning stage. He’s also currently working on his second novel.