Prior to the release of the new Wonder Woman film, it was panned to be a flop (owning to the fact that the previous Wonder Woman films were not exactly blockbusters). Many reasons contributed to that notion – from the sexist “a woman directed that film” to the fact that Gal Gadot (who plays the titular character in the film) was found to have served in the Israel Defense Forces as a combat trainer.
The film review
At this point, I would like to separate the actress from her role – and focus on her role, and on the film itself in general. I am aware of the controversy that surrounds Gal Gadot’s IDF past, but I am not in the position to broadcast my opinion about it as I have no connections to Israel nor Palestine.
First of all, I would like to talk about the plot of the film. Seeing a superhero film directed by a woman, and taking the perspective of a woman, is frankly empowering. While there were a few men on the streets who were mesmerized by Diana when she first steps in London, and while Etta Candy kept asking Diana to cover up against her will at the beginning – these are all outweighed by the fact that the lead male character of the film sees her as a person, rather than an object, as with the supporting male characters, and most of the male characters in the film.
Patty Jenkins did justice in making sure that Diana was seen as a person and not an object by most men in the movie. Patty was able to do that in a realistic way – that is, she did not have to strip Diana of her femininity or her sexiness, to prove that a woman who happens to be feminine and sexy is not an excuse to objectify her. After all, in real life, some of the most powerful women are both feminine and sexy.
Moving on, I would also like to praise how the characters who worked with Diana to defeat Ares had representation. Sameer, who is a Moroccan character, is played by a Moroccan actor from France named Saïd Taghmaoui. Charlie, a Scottish character, is played by a Scottish actor, Ewen Bremner. Lastly, Chief, who is a Native American character, is played by the First Nations actor Eugene Brave Rock. The characters of Sameer, Charlie and Chief, as well as the cultures of their characters, were portrayed positively in the movie.
Diana’s interactions with the POC characters in the film are also positive – as she is depicted to be emphatic of them when they told her of their struggles. For example, when Chief tells Diana about how Steve’s people (the White Americans) dragged the Native Americans into fighting the war, Diana listened intently to him, instead of speaking over him, or siding with Steve (whom she had known longer than Chief).
We are also shown protagonists who know how to call out their allies. Whether it is
The use of visual effects in the film was also well done, and helped a lot in conveying the story of the film. The fight scene between Diana and Ares was also well-executed and the director managed to avoid utilizing the Deux Ex Machina in the process. Not to mention that the deaths of General Antiope and Steve were not portrayed in an overly-tragic way, which is a mistake that many action and superhero films make when it comes to killing off supporting characters who have very close ties to the protagonist.
The film left a positive message in the end, in a way that is not considered unrealistic. Diana does say that she believes in love and its capacity to save the world, but her belief in it is not in the manner of total appeasement, as shown in the actions she made throughout the movie.
Other films make the mistake of peddling a similar message, and yet showing the protagonist (or any character who believes in similar lines) as a person who thinks that total appeasement is the only solution to a conflict.
Believing that love has the capacity to save our world does not mean that we have to totally please every single person. I’m damn glad that Wonder Woman has taught us this message because in these trying times, that’s the message we badly need.