Wonder Woman: The Face of a Hero We’ve Been Waiting For


By Andrew Schwartz

Patty Jenkin’s Wonder Woman — DC’s followup to the dismal Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice — comes as a breath of fresh air. 

Starring Gal Gadot and Chris Pine, the film juggles ancient Greek mythology, World War I and a super-heroine’s coming of age story in a well-balanced, entertaining film. Wonder Woman is packed with gripping visuals, a light-hearted, engaging dynamic between the two stars, and a beacon of feminist hope for the changing face of the post-modern world.

As the legend goes, Princess Diana — later known as Wonder Woman — of the Amazonians had always dreamt of following in the footsteps of her warrior mother and aunt, Queen Hippolyta and Antiope, respectively — but the Queen always forbade it. Wanting to protect her daughter from the evils of the world, Queen Hippolyta tells Diana about the God of War, Aries, who is responsible for the corruption of man and the murder of all the Gods, save for Zeus. A flailing Zeus bestows upon the Amazons a weapon — a sword called The God Killer — to use against Aries should he ever return, something Diana eagerly anticipates.

Fast-forward a few years and Diana, now a young woman, encounters an American spy working for British intelligence during the height of World War I. The American, Steve Trevor, crash lands on her idyllic island of Themyscira and tells Diana of the globe-spanning conflict. Diana assumes it’s the doing of Aries, and thus begins her journey as a warrior of peace — she believes with the aid of her God-killing sword, she’ll be able to end the war; an utterly naive notion Steve Trevor can’t help but indulge in.

Without giving too much away, Diana then focuses her time on getting to the front lines of the war while navigating her way through the ever-sexist politics of the Imperial War Cabinet headquartered in London. Backed by Steve Trevor and his rag-tag team of allies, they battle across no-man’s land, through small villages and German gala events to try and end the war to end all wars.

Last month, BlueCat Screenplay ran a piece examining Guy Ritchie’s King Arthur and what it said about the time in which it was produced. It’s only fair to examine Wonder Woman in the same light. The superhero genre is especially telling about the time in which a film is produced; the implication being mankind is in such dire straits only a superior being can save it. Princess Diana sees the world in black and white — there is only good vs. evil and no in between. Given the film’s backdrop — World War I — clearly defining the “bad guys” becomes a dubious venture. While it’s usually safe to make Germans a cinematic antagonist, which the film does in part by making one of the central antagonists a German general, WWI is unique in that there was no righteous fight: the Germans were just Germans fighting for their land; not Nazi’s bent on world domination. 

When Wonder Woman teams up with Steve Trevor and his allies — a Muslim secret agent, an indigenous tradesmen, and a Scottish marksman — it’s hard to ignore the fact that these are all members of the disenfranchised-by-the-powers-that-be club. For these men, the Germans are their enemy, but for Wonder Woman, her story doesn’t end at the slaying of Germans. Wonder Woman’s story never ends because while the world is ever-changing, the nature of man is not. Men will continue to wage war for a plethora of reasons and Wonder Woman will be there to guide them and keep them from all but destroying themselves. In this light, it is refreshing to see a new take on the super hero. Wonder Woman is a beacon of hope in a world full of uncertainty. If more films follow suit in putting a woman as their lead, audiences everywhere might resonate with the understanding the Old World is dying and a New World is emerging. 


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2 Responses to “Wonder Woman: The Face of a Hero We’ve Been Waiting For”

  1. Ann Says:

    June 3rd, 2017 at 2:16 pm

    June 13, 2017. Excuse me?
    How does this cleverly written bottleneck of trope types – off a Comic Book – wielding yet more phony powers, help anyone except jaded bad-film buffs and semi-educated violent females? Oh, I forgot. Walmart.

  2. Ronnie Tharp-Garber Says:

    November 21st, 2017 at 1:37 pm

    To see Wonder Woman as a masterful blend of: Drama/Mythology/Fantasy/Action genres is to understand one of the achievements of this film.
    She is a Woman/God, which makes her conflicted throughout the story: Should she interfere with the stupidities of mankind or should she just stand by and let men kill themselves. While the Generals wage war strategically, men are gassed in villages by Dr. Poison and German Opponents – an obvious precursor to more dastardly tactics not too long after the end of WWI. She has a clear Desire Line/Goal: Find Aries and kill him. He is the Fake Ally Opponent, which is a powerful way to transcend the “search for the evil Opponent” – First she kills the German General, but it is a pyrrhic victory – When she engages in the Battle/Climax Sequence, she uses full force the as yet untapped powers that her Amazonian people knew she had all along. This discovery of who she really is and what she is capable of doing is a counterpart to the Tagline: Mankind doesn’t deserve you.” The Self-Revelation is that Diana realizes both the good and the evil, but knows that she must stick around to set things right. Audiences feel her conflicted moral dilemma throughout the story. This is one huge reason for the film’s success – Diana’s universal appeal to the “everyman,” despite the fact that she is a SuperWoman God-figure.

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