[Editor’s note: Because of the importance the new movie Wonder Woman holds for women, we decided to publish a second review of the movie, this time written from the female perspective (you can read MauiTime movie critic Barry Wurst II’s original review here).]
During the Oscars earlier this year, GE ran an ad that imagined what the world would be like if we treated great female scientists like they were celebrities. The ad highlights Millie Dresselhaus, the first woman to win the National Medal of Science in Engineering: kids dress up like her for Halloween, babies are named after her, she’s a popular guest on talk shows and has 147.3 million followers on Twitter. I saw the ad again during the previews to a recent 3D screening of Wonder Woman, along with a slew of upcoming features mostly starring men.
It’s nearly impossible these days to avoid the hype that surrounds a Hollywood blockbuster. Especially when that blockbuster is an action-packed superhero flick. Even more so, when the superhero is a lady person. Hollywood tends to favor its menfolk. That’s a fact. While female superheroes are prevalent in DC and Marvel Comic books, never have we seen one being granted the full Tinseltown treatment–until now.
Hence the hype. The controversial female-only screenings. The honorary UN Ambassadorship that was revoked two months later. And, I might add, $450 million in box office sales worldwide so far, thank you very much.
I bring all this up because obviously Wonder Woman is a big deal. And it’s difficult to watch the movie as a fellow female and not recognize why it’s a big deal. The first time I saw the film I tried to ignore all that hype and just enjoy it for what it is: a superhero movie! Oddly, I enjoyed it more during the second screening when I allowed myself to take in the significance of the thing–remembering the endless Superman and Batman matinees of my youth–and being able to relate on some level with a goddess superhero was supremely satisfying.
Also, I could watch an entire movie of Robin Wright as Amazonian warrior Antiope battling armies of men, sideways on a horse and leaping from a shield, letting her triple arrows fly. Seriously, how badass is she?
Clearly this is the first installment in what I hope will be a long line of exciting Wonder Woman adventures, and as is the way in superhero franchises, it’s an origin story. The best part about these origin stories is watching the superhero in question discover and learn how to use their superpowers.
What I appreciate most about Gal Gadot as Diana Price aka “Wonder Woman” (and believe me, Lynda Carter is the OG and deserves much respect) is her accessibility and dignity. She is strong without sacrificing her vulnerability. Her naturally lovely face conveys a wide range of emotion. She is educated, curious, nurturing, loyal, defiant, fearless, impatient, innocent and not to be messed with. She is the everywoman in exalted form.
Alas, aside from the spectacular shots of the lush island of Themyscira, and that epic battle at No Man’s Land, the 3D effects were negligible. I also agree with Barry Wurst II (as he discussed in his review) that the last half does drag on in parts, and could stand a 20-minute edit in that third act. But I enjoyed all the actors’ performances, and loved the romantic and comedic elements brought by Chris Pine as Steve Trevor and Luca Davis as Etta Candy, respectively.
Danny Huston as Ludendorff and David Thewlis as Sir Patrick are superb actors and make for fine if not somewhat predictable villains. But like Barry, I too was captivated by co-villain Dr. Isabel Maru, played by Elena Anaya, and wanted to know more about her diabolical yen for chemical warfare.
True to its genre, this superhero film’s got it all: action, drama, comedy, romance and a heartwarming message. I also appreciated the respect with which the film’s director, Patty Jenkins, depicted the superhero and feminist icon in balance. It’s still a Hollywood film, sure, but we can’t deny how important it really is, in light of the inequality insanity that women still face today. We could all use just a little hope…
Here’s something. This week, Jenkins tweeted a list created by a kindergarten worker of “cute Wonder Woman related things that happened within a week of the movie being released.” Among the cuteness was:
- A boy who was obsessed with Iron Man who then asked his parents for a new Wonder Woman lunchbox.
- A little girl who said, “When I grow up I want to speak hundreds of languages like Diana.”
- Seven girls playing together during recess, saying that since “they all wanted to be Wonder Woman they had agreed to be Amazons and not fight but work together to defeat evil.”
- A girl very seriously asked the teacher if she could ditch her uniform for the Wonder Woman armor because she “wanted to be ready if she needed to save the world.”
And my personal favorite:
- A boy threw his candy wrapping on the floor and a five-year-old girl screamed, “DON’T POLLUTE YOU IDIOT, THAT IS WHY THERE ARE NO MEN IN TEMYSCIRA.”
The worker ended the note by saying, “If this movie completely changed the way these girls and boys thought about themselves and the world in a week, imagine what the next generation will achieve if we give them more movies like Wonder Woman.”
I’ll just leave that right there.