Post contains spoilers for the film Wonder Woman.
Let’s cover something right out the gate: Wonder Woman has issues. The final battle left a lot to be desired and tasted way too much like something Snyder would do, there are strange editing choices, an overuse of slow motion in weird moments, some strange choreography/CGI woes sprinkled here and there, and some downright odd directorial choices that left the actors looking… awkward.
And I don’t care about any of that.
Not at the end of the day, at least. That’s probably bad for me to admit as a critic. But me being a critic comes second to me being a woman. Before some BatBro goes out of their way to use this post against me in the future to counter my “crusades against DC”, there’s a reason this is happening on my personal website and not somewhere I’m paid to review media.
Wonder Woman has problems. Wonder Woman is also perfect. I know that’s an annoying pairing of sentences, but most of you know where I’m going with this. Diana Prince is a hero I like, but has never been at the very top of my list like she is for so many others. No part of that changes how phenomenal it was for me to get to see a woman, unafraid of her power, kicking ass and taking names like we’ve watched so many male heroes do in the past.
My biggest concern going into this film was that they would miss the point of Diana’s character and simply make her a warrior. They missed the mark so extremely on both Superman and Batman that that wasn’t an unfair concern. While not unfair, it was unfounded. Diana’s empathy is front and center through the entirety of the film. Her deep desire to help and heal people is the driving force in all of her actions. She’s curious. She’s naive but not stupid. She’s a fierce warrior who also loves ice cream and babies. This won’t be the end to boxed in, boring, “strong female characters” who aren’t really characters at all. But I hope that it’s a start.
Diana discovers the joys and hardships of man’s world quickly, but not in a way that seems rushed. The pacing was done well through most of the film, save the aforementioned struggle of a third act. Through it all, Diana discovers that there is no black and white to good and evil. Man is flawed. It’s broken, and messy, and terrifying. Man doesn’t deserve Wonder Woman, but as the film so poignantly drives home– it’s not about what we deserve.
In the big, climactic moment, Diana finally understands that. For the first time in the DCEU, we see one of our heroes choose hope over destruction, and goddamn what a feeling. Her closing monologue is about that hope. About that love.
Mankind doesn’t deserve Diana, but I spent damn near a whole film weeping about the fact that she’s here. Wonder Woman is fictional. She has no direct power over the world we live in, the choices we make, or the mess that is humanity, but to think any of that should matter is silly. So many turn their noses up at superheroes and their messages, but times like now are when those messages mean the most.
Diana and the rest of her counterparts may not be real, but they inspire real people every day. A little girl sat in the theater last night and met her hero. She learned that it’s okay to be both fierce and frightened, and that she can acknowledge the darkness of the world while still choosing to save it. Wonder Woman is messy, but so is man. Diana is fake, but the heroes she helped inspire last night and in the future are very real.
We do not deserve her, but I’m damn glad she’s here.