It’s Thanksgiving here in the USA, and this year, I’m thankful for Wonder Woman.
I know, I know. The movie has been out for a while now. You’re aware of how awesome it is. Everyone’s been talking about it, and you’ve seen it multiple times. You get it; it’s good.
But it could have been so awful, you guys.
Just look at the leaked Joss Whedon script or that terrible unaired TV pilot for examples of the horribleness that could have been. She could have been objectified, damseled, or relegated to a love interest in her own movie. Or we could have gotten the opposite extreme: a hyper-aggressive straw feminist and “strong female character” in the most shallow sense of the term.
Before the movie came out, my hopes were simple: I just didn’t want it to suck.
I would have settled for an okay Wonder Woman. Take the Justice League cartoon from the DC animated universe. That show was a masterpiece and is one of my favorite superhero stories in any medium. Wonder Woman is a strong heroine with lots of awesome moments and is treated as–if not quite equal to, then at least pretty close to the level of importance as Batman and Superman. The compassion that’s the core of her character is lacking, and she’s never the symbol of hope that she should be. She has some seriously dumb lines (see below), but she kicks some major supervillain butt. It’s a decent interpretation, and I would have been mostly okay with something like that on film.
But I didn’t have to settle. We didn’t get an okay movie, we got an amazing one.
In the movie, Wonder Woman is a ridiculously skilled and powerful warrior, and it’s balanced perfectly with her compassion and love. She champions those who can’t fight for themselves and changes the characters around her just by the virtue of being herself. She’s incredibly likeable and is undeniably a hero.
With the number of times we’ve seen Bruce Wayne’s parents get shot or Peter Parker get bitten by that spider, it felt refreshing to finally see Wonder Woman’s origin story on screen. Themyscira was gorgeous. Diana’s delight at experiencing ice cream or snow for the first time makes her seem innocent without being hopelessly naive (like in some interpretations), and the dark moments when she sees the suffering of war makes it feel all the more hopeful and empowering when she does something to stop it. And the movie’s ending–
Was it perfect? Absolutely not. The film could have used more buildup of Diana’s temporary loss of hope at the climax, more Amazons of color (and Amazons in general), and a bigger part for the distilled awesomeness that is Etta Candy, but it was still an amazing movie. I have high hopes for the sequel.
And in a world where we could use some more hope, I’m thankful we have Wonder Woman.