Wonder Woman: A Female Geeks Perspective
As a female geek, I have waited my lifetime to see a female superhero lead a film. I know people argue that there have been female heroes before on the silver screen, and there has, but not directed towards women and not in the forefront. Not like this. Wonder Woman is what we have been waiting for. We’ve cried out to the studios and demanded this representation. We’re geeks too. We buy superhero products. We want to woop and howl and debate the intricities of a female hero, just as we do with Batman and Superman. As a collective, we may have accepted any female hero granted to us, but the fact that Warner Bros. chose Wonder Woman to be this hero placed pressure on the studio and high expectations all around. Last night I witnessed the fruition of this battle.
Expecting a busy cinema, my partner and I booked our tickets in advance and arrived early. Whilst we scored ourselves premium seats, it didn’t take long for the cinema to fill. The crowd was the most diverse I’ve seen. Whilst the last two Star Wars films attracted many viewers, the crowds were still weighed heavily on the male side. Last night’s screening confirmed to me just how many women were as keen to see our heroine in her own film as I was and, despite the late hour, many young girls as well.
Perhaps, at this point, you’re expecting this article to jump on the hoorah feminism bandwagon, but that is not the route I am headed. The completion of the holy DC trinity is big news to comic book fans, but after the first two movies, Man of Steel and Batman Vs. Superman, and lead by a female heroine, the expectations for this movie were low. Can a woman lead a superhero film and it be successful? Can a female lead suphero film appeal to women and men? The demand that it succeed, if not just to prove the value of selling to women, was incredibly high. I went into the viewing with just one hope, that I would leave happy. And I did. Normally, I can pick apart female characters. Yes, I loved her, but did she really have to say that? It seemed out of character. She was awesome, but she did this at one point and it just seemed a little pandering. In Wonder Woman, I didn’t feel that way. Even her barely there costume was explained and, let’s face it, if you can deflect bullets, there’s really little need for an abundance of armour that will just impede your movement and slow you down.
I left the cinema feeling happy. Gal Gadot stole the show in Batman Vs Superman, and it was delightful to see her character grow, if backwards in the timeline of release, over the two movies. She is Wonder Woman. Any doubts over her casting should be expunged after this film. She was entirely believable as an Amazonian princess and her chemistry with Chris Pine, aka Steve Trevor, was simply wonderful. The storyline was easy to follow, the characters fun and there was just the perfect amount of humour. It seems director, Patty Jenkins, was able to toe that line between typical male action flick and more female lead drama, with just a splash of rom-com. Character was certainly favoured over conflict and this kept the movie decently paced and well developed. Unlike Batman Vs. Superman, there were no gaping plot holes that required an extended cut for explanation. Unlike Suicide Squad, there was a clearly defined script and, unlike Man of Steel, Wonder Woman had light. Without any doubt in my mind, this is the best DC movie to date and I truly hope they continue this feeling through to Justice League.
Without dropping some spoilers, it’s quite difficult to go much further into the events, but I can say that, in my opinion, the people behind the movie understood Wonder Woman. Whilst I’ve seen some reviewers pan the use of love conquers as a plot line, claimign it a cop out that it is used by a female character and I certainly understand their view, but to these reviewers I ask, have you done your studies? If it was a Black Widow movie then yes, I would join the trope bashing, but this is Wonder Woman. Sure, she has rage, sure she is an Amazonian warrior and can stand against any foe, but it is love that is Wonder Woman’s greatest asset. Love for the world, love for humanity. Often times, love is treated as a weakness, as something fruity and entirely feminine in nature, something men would never use as a weapon, as a tool, as a means to an ends, but with Wonder Woman, love is all of those things and more. She is all powerful, she is a goddess, but she knows what humanity needs and this movie is what the world needed.
Perhaps my only complaint is the final boss battle is one large CGI festival, but then what was to be expected from the clash of two gods. I’m sure a simple bout of fisticuffs would have been even more disappointing and lack lustre. There was a certain 300 nature to the battles that may have been a little over done, but on first viewing were tolerable. And really, I don’t have much of an issue with watching Wonder Woman defy the laws of nature in slow-motion badassery.
As Gail Simone famously said, “If you need to stop an asteroid, you call Superman. If you need to solve a mystery, you call Batman. But if you need to end a war, you call Wonder Woman.” With the state of the world as it is, with people afraid, walking on egg shells and fearing another war, love is what we need. Though Wonder Woman is set in World War I, the storyline couldn’t be more relevant to our current times. This movie was what it needed to be, for women, for DC fans, for geeks everywhere. Go see this movie. Support this movie. We need more.