The Breakthrough Voice 7th June, 2017

Wonder Woman: The Hero We Need.

Oh wow! Oh wow! Oh wow!

This is me typing frantically as I exit the theater at 1.30 am after catching up with Wonder Woman.

FINALLY! I screamed in my head throughout the film.

*Major spoilers ahead. Watch the film if you have not. Come, let’s discuss once you have.*

A woman superhero who is innocent, kind, caring, strong, courageous, unbeatable, half God? She sports her signature lasso of truth, her sword ‘Godkiller’, bullet-deflecting gauntlets and a powerful shield that can stop a bullet, a missile, a tank, a tower. Not just that, she has superpowers that she continues discovering throughout the film and eventually takes control to kick ass. I can go on and on about why Wonder Woman Diana Prince is the hero we need but, do we deserve her?

I am not even going into – why did this film take this long? The marketing and promotion of this particular film was unfairly limited with many speculations that it may hurt the younger male audience sensibilities. All it takes is one woman superhero film directed by a woman and all male fragility is exposed. *Rolls eyes*

Let’s talk about the women of the film.

The Amazonian women (like of the Greek mythology) live on this island with just other women where no man is needed, even for procreation. These women are the darndest warriors but swear by peace. I was so glad to watch real athletes for a change, who trained hard for this film to play the self-defending anti-army of Amazons. Trouble in paradise, as symbolic as they could get in a big studio mainstream film, begins when a man happens to enter their realm. More men follow and I lose my boss woman Robin Wright within 20 minutes. Ugh! Too early in the blog to share disappointments, yet it irked me that they made Diana fall for this vague stereotypical Hollywood hero like man to fulfill hetero-fantasies of the movie-goers. Really? Can a (wonder) woman catch a break? There are also some glaring plot holes but for brevity sake, I am not delving into them and they can be found all over the internet.

Let’s look at the men of the film.

I especially enjoyed how the violent hypermasculinity of the world war was juxtaposed with Wonder Woman’s constant call for peace. There are no grey male characters, no real depth. Everyone is either all good or all bad. Just the kind of roles most films reserve for women. The 1940s London (with subtle nods to Suffrage) is a harsh place to be as a woman. Women are expected to be subservient to men as their secretaries and have no place to voice their distaste for the war. The men in the council dismiss Diana’s presence. Diana’s love interest Captain Steve Trevor is a spy who wants the war to end or the other side to lose (I am not too sure). He is to Wonder Woman what every other superhero girlfriend is in every other superhero film, lacking in depth, a cardboard character to please the male gaze. Diana’s archnemesis Ares is plain evil who is all about corrupting human minds. Nothing more.

What was my takeaway from the film?

Wonder Woman is a feminist film in most of its overtone. Women’s discourse is one of non-violent persistence. Our history is decorated with women stepping out, claiming what is rightfully theirs, taking over the microphone and occupying spaces they were barred from. Sustainable societal peace is only attainable when more women are in positions of power; socially, politically, economically. Championing peace in an action film has me fangirling! World population at large has finally found their woman superhero. And I am celebrating too. This marks the beginning of big budget films with strong women protagonists who were otherwise viewed unbankable in the current hyper-masculine film industry. We NEED more women to restore balance in the universe and our society.

PS: The Wonder Woman theme music gave me goosebumps and tears of feminist joy.

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