Applaudience
Published in

Applaudience

Wonder Woman is the hero we need today

Disclaimer: This movie review is biased because I F*CKING LOVE AMAZONS.

Powerful women have an essential role to play in the archetypes of our collective unconscious, and in our modern world, most displays of feminine strength are simultaneously counterattacked and dismissed.

Which is why we NEED Wonder Woman. She gives an identity to our reclamation of the Divine Feminine.

Before I get into any spoilers (alerts below) I need to address the role this movie plays in our culture today. It is no accident that this is the first major superhero blockbuster movie directed by a woman. It is no accident that it has brought flares of anger and resentment from the alt-right.

Wonder Woman, as a cultural identity, serves the role of independent, self-sufficient, downright magical empowerment. I am grateful that my daughter will have her as a role model, and that she will give thousands of women an archetype they can call upon, when they need resolve, and fortitude, and brilliance, and strength.

Gal Gadot played a Diana that was beautiful without being sexy, powerful without being haughty, empowered without being a foil. She had a leading man to counterpoint her, but it was because she chose to travel with this character, not because she was an accessory on a masculine storyline.

**mild spoilers**

Her continual curiosity about the world of Men served as the pulse of her character. She never lost her wonder of the outside world, decades later becoming an archivist of its treasures. When she invited her beau into her chambers, it was out of curiosity, and not lust; this preserved her otherworldly character, without degrading her into the typical Hollywood Heroine role that would have debased her glory.

For so long in American cinema, every beautiful woman is fetishized onscreen, especially in the spandex-heavy superhero genre. Others have eloquently described the absence of the male gaze from this film, and I must agree, it was so refreshing to see this character as Wonder Human, an amazing, powerful protagonist that only happened to be a woman.

This is a role that we desperately needed to see, as an example that women can be heroes too; not just the busty sex kittens that accompany male superheroes on their journeys, but as strong and centered protagonists in their own right.

Wonder Woman is a story about a hero that never had any reason to be less than any man.

**heavier spoilers**

The costumes displayed this exemption from horniness very well. I don’t think I saw an inch of cleavage the entire movie, and the battle armor of the Amazons was designed for efficiency of movement, not for allure.

Historically, they were fairly accurate costumes; putting aside the decoration and the flair, the general outline of the armor was similar to what Spartan women wore into battle, when they fought as equals alongside men, who wore the same kilts and greaves and bracers.

Exposing your thighs in battle served two purposes: your legs had maximum freedom of movement, and your enemies would quake with fear at the quivering of your strong thighs.

The fight scenes were wonderful, but I took issue with Diana’s bracers. She fetched a series of enchanted weaponry and armor for her journey off of her enchanted island, but the bulletproof bracers, so essential to her survival among the machine guns of the Nazis, were simply unerring and mundane in their perfect blockade. I would have liked to have seen a special enchantment upon them, or some special effects that showed her moving impossibly fast to block incoming bullets.

The plotline was good, without too many holes, and Gadot’s exotic accent served to smooth over the wooden delivery of her dialogue. The supporting cast was engaging, Chris Pine was marvelous, and the special effects were top-notch.

And then, there was the mythology, providing a mystical veneer to everything in the movie.

Ares himself was the villain, and while I liked the plot twist at the end, the twist created a major plot hole — why would Ares himself fund the English rogue mission?

I like the idea that Ares spent his time behind the front lines, orchestrating greater chaos, but the British general should have dropped a clue to his true identity, when they saw him in London. I think the villain would have been more cohesive if he were actually the German red herring all along.

Wonder Woman is the only major comic book title to deal so closely with the Greek pantheon, which was the subject of my scholarly studies in college, so I have always enjoyed her storylines.

(Technically, I know Hercules is an Avenger, but the Marvel universe is so focused on the Norse pantheon because of Avengers A-Lister Thor that the Greeks are always in the background, and never major players in their universal plotlines.)

I loved the last-Olympian-standing role that Ares played, but I was really disappointed he did not wield the Aegis. During the final battle, when he threw the thunderbolts of Zeus, it was because he was the slayer of all the other Olympians — fair enough. I like it.

But the mystical shield that shook the Earth, the source of the Thunderbolts, the Aegis that Zeus (and sometimes Athena) wielded to the terror of all before them, it should have had its place on Ares’ arm at the end.

If DC had a Kevin Feige-type dramaturg who kept all the storylines aligned to their purpose, maybe that would have happened. Still, I’m proud that even amidst their shuffling along behind Marvel, creating a catalogue of movies to prequel their superhero team-up Justice League, they enabled Patty Jenkins to direct this movie this way; they could have chosen to make a Wonder Woman movie that was an easy fanboy cliche.

And they didn’t. They allowed Wonder Woman to be the representative of the modern awakening of the Divine Feminine, to be the role she was divinely meant to play.

Women can be fierce people. Sexists and bigots who degrade and objectify women to accommodate their own inferiority — they don’t like fierce women.

Which is why potentially-fierce-women need a role model that can enable them to stand in their power, and strike Wonder into those around them.

This is exactly the hero we need today.

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Caelan Huntress

Caelan Huntress

I help experts & entrepreneurs set up smart marketing systems.