Superman Got Nothing On Me
I recently saw Wonder Woman and in all honesty, these are the films we as women deserve. The notion that both genders were equally represented as being capable of looking after themselves, yet also being aware of their right to ask for help was inspiring; often feminism may seem like the belief that women ought to not ask for help lest they look weak, but this film expressed both genders’ right to ask for assistance when needed.
I love how they were unafraid of giving Diana (Prince – Wonder Woman’s given name primarily on Earth) a romance; it seemed so real and because of their care for each other, a relationship which didn’t feel forced, which is often the case. There weren’t moments of ‘I don’t believe you’re strong enough’ from Steve Trevor, but rather ‘what do you need me to hold whilst you hit this man in the face’, which was an interesting and different dynamic to what we’re used to with the unsuccessful female-led superhero films of the past.
True to its setting, the fact that Wonder Woman is a woman played a major role – set in the height of the First World War, before the Representation of the People Act (which allowed women over the age of 21 the vote), it wasn’t an embarrassment to be saved by this woman – but rather an appreciation by all in the film that women of the time were in need of far more rights.
Director Patty Jenkins used the theme of love in the film’s climax as a driving force, and for once, the portrayal of her realisation got to me. Because it was unlike the usual forced-love-being-the-driving-force plotlines in these kinds of films – Patty Jenkins’ beautiful cinematography and Gal Gadot’s (Wonder Woman) stunning acting made sense for this to be part of the plot.
Of course there was the occasional derogatory comment, but it was great to see these comments such down for being derogatory in relation to the more-common-than-not ‘lads will be lads’ laughing attitude. And will all due respect – Gal Gadot truly is stunning; yet isn’t that another argument I’ve seen? Why is Wonder Woman so gorgeous – can’t she just look ‘normal’? I would argue that although this film is a giant leap for women, it’s unusual to see a ‘normal-looking’ woman in any role in a Hollywood film which doesn’t include them being the geek-turned-chic. A clear sign of change, yet an acknowledgement that change is still yet to come.
I don’t believe I’ve ever seen anyone mention the character of Chief in such articles about the film, a Native American who helps Diana Prince, Steve Trevor and two others on their mission. He tells Diana Prince something about Steve Trevor along the lines of “the Germans took their land” whilst also mentioning “his people took mine” – a clear acknowledgement of an otherwise overlooked American past – the character of Chief being played
by actor Eugene Brave Rock, of Native American roots, I might add.
And what about Gal Gadot herself, the Israeli actress picked to play Princess of Themyscira – she mentions that between her winning audition for Wonder Woman and earning the role, she had only made films in Israel or those where she was unknown, prior to winning ‘Miss Israel’ and taking part in ‘Miss Universe’ as a teenager in the early 2000s. A ‘gamble’ some might state; one which most definitely paid off, however.
The same has been said about Director Patty Jenkins; that it was a ‘risk which paid off’ casting a female director to head Wonder Woman, with the expectation clearly being that a relatively unknown female director cannot make a film about a woman, for women successfully. This however being the same director who helped Charlize Theron to win her Academy Award for Best Leading Actress on Jenkins’ own debut film. In actual fact, far more ‘risks’ ought to be taken on female directors. Wonder Woman was incredibly shot cinematically, as well as its well adaptable themes. Next time, Hollywood – pull in the big guns. Give Patty Jenkins a call.
Wonder Woman truly is ground-breaking. The first successful female-led superhero film, which made $103,251,471 in the US alone on its opening weekend, and to also be interactive with today’s problems. I understand this post sounds like a review – and to some extent, it is. Because I think it’s important I document my beliefs of this film because this is a once in a lifetime kind of film. Hopefully, it’s only up from here.
Even so, Wonder Woman earns a solid 10/10 from me. We’ve glimpsed into the future with this film (figuratively, it is set within the Great War) – and it’s beautiful.