Why I Love Wonder Woman
"I used to want to save the world. To end war and bring peace to mankind. But then, I glimpsed the darkness that lives within their light. I learned that inside every one of them, there will always be both. The choice each must make for themselves - something no hero will ever defeat. I've touched the darkness that lives in between the light. Seen the worst of this world, and the best. Seen the terrible things men do to each other in the name of hatred, and the lengths they'll go to for love. Now I know. Only love can save this world. So I stay. I fight, and I give... for the world I know can be. This is my mission, now. Forever."
After the astonishing success of Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight Trilogy, DC haven't been able to catch a break. They have overseen five movies in the DC Universe and all came with unkind and unfair critical response. Where as Disney have become adept at getting overwhelmingly positive reviews for even the most insignificant characters, DC and Warner Brothers have been unable to get the credit they deserve. I have previously written about why I love Batman V Superman and Suicide Squad, so let me follow up on the words I wrote there, with some thoughts on why Wonder Woman is among the best comic book movies.
Let's start with Gal Gadot, a more powerful and stunning woman I cannot imagine. She immediately seems credible as a fierce warrior, with an imposing physical presence, as well as a grace that seems, suitably, not of this world. Gadot is a hero for so many people, and especially for me. The wisdom she brings to the role is considerable, and her performance is among my very favourites. She is a warrior for the oppressed and those who cannot stand up to injustice. What's new, I hear you saying? While there have been strong - meaning complex and well written, not physically - women before in comic book movies/TV shows, especially the sublime Jessica Jones on Netflix, there have never been any like Diana. Wonder Woman is on the level of Superman and Batman. She is a BIG DEAL, not a tangential character like Jessica Jones. She is on the BIG STAGE. She's headlining at Coachella and Glastonbury.
Wonder Woman may not be the greatest comic book movie ever made - that honor goes to either Luke Cage or Batman V Superman - it is really very good. It is a call to arms; a paean to hope and truth and justice. Some question the artistic value of the comic book movie, and while I can somewhat sympathize with the fear that they have become too many, I will never abandon the thing I learned from a decade of collecting and reading every great graphic novel and comic book ever written: they are works of art as great and worthy of serious discussion as anything on film or printed in a book.
It is precisely because of their lack of pretension that makes comic books and their adaptations so refreshing. They deal with BIG THEMES in BIG WAYS, but they rarely lose their character as being representative of the every person. These stories are our first step on a road that should rightly lead to reading philosophy and experiencing the works of art that get down in complex ways. They should never be a replacement for art of a more complex nature, but likewise they should never be reduced to the appearance of being simplistic, one note creations for the masses. They are so much more than that, and Wonder Woman is one of the fiercest, most affecting and brilliant movies of its kind.
That a man can relate to Wonder Woman seems an alien concept to some. I fear that they may never get it, but hope that they come to understand that we are not separated by a hard border, where we can never understand the people on the other side. Anyone who has responsibility to make the world a better place - something all of us have, though some ignore it - can relate to Wonder Woman's innocent but correct belief that humanity are ultimately good, even in the midst of such evil. I relate to Diana because she represents people who don't have a dominant voice. As someone who struggled with the expectations made of me by simple minded sorts who believed in a binary sexual nonsense, and all of the weird women hating/ gay hating bullshit that that brings up, I feel that Wonder Woman speaks for me.
The film, directed by Patti Jenkins deserves more praise, as do all of the DCU films. I fear this may never come, as people are battered into the opinion that these movies are terrible, where as pretty much anything Marvel is praised as being progressive and full of artistry. Well, Wonder Woman is one of the best superhero movies you can spend time with. It will have a life after its initial box office take, and be a beacon of hope for all people who feel that they don't fit in, and those who feel helpless against the great tide of hatred and evil. Wonder Woman's there for you, don't forget.