“Wonder Woman” may be a signifier of women power, but must the action film genre reduce dialogue to cliche after cliche ?
” Everyone is fighting their own battles, as you are fighting yours.”
” What I do is not up to you.”
” Maybe people aren’t always good.”
” There is not one bad guy to blame, it is all of us.” are mummifying examples.
“Man is everything you say, but so much more.” did me in as much as “I believe in love”. And the big bulletin: “Only love can save the world.”, well, you get my point. Alan Heinberg, screenplay writer, take note.
Yet, the worse understated line comes when Diana, our Amazonian goddess heroine, sees a caravan of wounded warriors some in wheelchairs and others on crutches. Her “It’s awful” seems a tad small.
Gal Gadot does play a lovely superhero as daughter of Queen Hippolyta ( Connie Nielson) and Zeus. Gadot knows how to keep her shoulders back, and she has power packed parries. Still, she succumbs to those between the legs shots that underscores the Wm. Moulton Marston history as her creator over 123 years ago.
But it is the eight-year-old Lilly Aspen who steals our hearts as the young Diana. Her ambitious running, wall climbing, and her almost innate understanding of the importance of the “god killer” weapon leaves no doubt that she will protect mankind while selling lots of Subaru-like embelmed headbands in her wake. In fact, ” headband it!” may be the next female call to action.
Likewise, Robin Wright as Antiope, sister of the Queen and trainer of Diana is serious in the Amazonian ordinance to stop war. Her performance is one of the film’s best, just the right mixture of savvy strategy, love, and betrayal for the bigger cause.
“You are stronger than you know” is the crux of this film. The first twenty minutes being my favorite. Diana, the only child on the island of Themyscira, has the teasing eyes of an immortal dynamo. We know she will fight to the finish be it Nazi General Erich Ludendorff or any “great darkness simmering within” the universe.
Director Patty Jenkins does an admirable job with the rogue elements: Nazi generals and psychopathic lab scientists. Jenkins was the award winning director of the tv series “The Killing” where she honed her skill at keeping us in suspense. The only suspense here will be how many sequels there will be.
Besides giving physically strong women their due, metallic embossed leather may be resurrected on runways by this film. Speaking several languages is given “cool” status and the sacred duty to save the world is lauded as noble. Not bad at all.
Chris Pine is the rescued World War I pilot whose “above average” remark is as ancient/modern as the twelve volumes on bodily pleasure. Enjoy Diana’s definition of the corsette, “armor in your country”, and the tongue in cheek banter of Germans drinking English tea and Brits drinking German beer.
The action is steady with shields, lassoes, swords, spears, and shells galore. Twirling legs and lighted ropes will keep little girls playing a new kind of purposeful hoopla hoop. Love is still in the air and sexual equality is in power despite Diana’s mother’s, “Be careful in the world of men- they do not deserve you”. This seems feminist enough.
If like Kate Parker’s book states in its title, “Strong Is The New Pretty”, this film will lead away from the authentic self concept. Not all girls need to be physically powerful: but all girls need to be fearless in the exploration of self. If “Wonder Woman” helps in supporting this kind of energy, it would be a classic. I think it misses this mark. My favorite line may be, ” my dear, you have so much panache.”