SPOILERS AHEAD! so many people have reached out to me about reviewing this and i feel a little bit scared to write this…
before i get to the movie, i want to address the concerns that people have over the casting of gal gadot. gal is an israeli woman who served in the israeli defense force for two years. i am very against the israeli occupation of palestine, and i was crushed when i first heard about gal’s anti-palestinian comments. i only knew her as gisele from the fast and the furious movies, and all i knew about her was that she performed her own stunts, which i thought was badass. she said some truly abhorrent things in 2014. she has said more recently that she wishes that no country had the need for an army, and upon researching, i discovered that serving in the military is mandatory in israel. she was a trainer in the idf and taught gymnastics and calisthenics and was never actually in combat. i'm not saying that she should be exempt from criticism or granted forgiveness. that's not up to me, an american. but to be fair, we do all love things that problematic people are involved in. it's the way of the world. all we can do is hold these people accountable, create better content in the future and hope that one day we don't have to settle. that being said, all of the david bowie, woody allen and even star trek loving people always tell me to separate art from artist or whatever, so i'll try to do that here. i wish i didn't have to, and that i could love this movie unconditionally. i dream of the day when we get a female superhero movie where i don't have to say, "i liked it, but". one day.
so, casting aside, i truly enjoyed wonder woman as a movie. this is what happens when you hire women to direct movies. i can’t explain to you what it felt like to see themyscira on the big screen, to see so many amazon warriors training and fighting and supporting each other. to see robin wright play the role of her life as antiope. to see fucking DIANA, PRINCESS OF THEMYSCIRA, in her whole entire own movie. i couldn’t believe what i was seeing, i truly couldn’t. i felt simultaneously six and twenty-six. i kept thinking about this tweet i saw the other day from @megsauce- “NO WONDER WHITE MEN ARE SO OBSCENELY CONFIDENT ALL THE TIME I SAW ONE WOMAN HERO MOVIE AND I’M READY TO FIGHT A THOUSAND DUDES BAREHANDED”. that was how i felt. i keep imagining all of the little girls who will get to see this movie and grow up to be more strong and confident and powerful than those of us who didn’t have diana as our action star hero when we were children and my heart feels so full. finally, thirteen years later, we got another female superhero movie.
(honestly, though, one of my biggest issues was that the entire movie didn’t just take place on themyscira, like why even talk to men at all? although in my dream version of themyscira, most of the people aren’t white, cis, able-bodied and thin. in my own themyscira.)
so… i’m not thrilled about the historical rewriting of world war I. to me, it feels irresponsible to attribute the wrongful actions of humans to ares, a god. humans are the reason for world war I, for all of those horrible things. humans. not gods. so… it felt gross to me for them to be like, “oh, actually it’s all because this evil god guy swayed them”. like, no. humans did that. and… sure, humans chose to help him, but i just don’t understand why you’d take something so gruesome that was and is so painful to so many and be like, “well the worst parts came from ares, it was his idea!” it reminds me of the fall (i wrote about this part a long time ago) when gillian anderson aka stella is talking to this dude and he calls paul a monster and stella is like, well, actually he’s just a man. there are people alive and thriving in 2017 who advocate for the destruction of people who are different from them. there are also “good” people that unconditionally support killing citizens of other countries to “protect” ourselves. don’t forget that.
i was surprised and excited to learn that chief actually is eugene brave rock, and here is a link to an article about him- https://www.bleedingcool.com/2017/06/04/representation-matters-chief-wonder-woman-awesome/. i want to share this quote from that article (shoutout to my bff dw for sending this to me), “what i didn’t expect was to be overcome with emotion when eugene brave rock’s character ‘chief’ met wonder woman, who was spectacularly portrayed by gal gadot. why? his first words to her were in blackfoot. even better, he introduced himself as napi, the blackfoot demi-god who is known as a trickster and a storyteller.” i absolutely love that he was included in the film.
i like that chris pine aka steve got fridged (side note- i hesistated writing that because 1) why is every man named chris… pine, evans, pratt, hemsworth and 2) i was like, there’s no way chris evans AND chris pine both play characters named steve, but they do. BE MORE CREATIVE, PEOPLE!). for those of you unfamiliar, fridging is a trope, more formally called “women in refrigerators”. i first heard about it after whatever thor movie it is that thor’s mom frigga dies and it motivates him to go do whatever he does, i can’t remember. but basically the trope only happens to women, and it’s when a woman is killed off to further the story of a man. so… it just doesn’t really happen to men. i'm sorry but I love that they killed steve off. i liked his character, i’m happy with the way he was written and i was annoyed that it was a love story between him and diana, but then they fridged him! he got his cool heroic death, and diana got to go on to live her happy life without a man telling her she’s delusional and incapable every two seconds (which he did, the entire movie, and probably happened to her a lot after he died anyway). it could be interpreted as his death giving her the strength to kill aries but i don’t think that’s what happened at all.
i keep trying to say specific things that i liked about this movie but it’s hard because i liked it so much. obviously loved everything about themyscira, all of the action scenes with wonder woman (despite being so zack snyder aka knock-off sepia matrix) were just the most badass things i’ve ever seen in my entire life, it was funny, it was smart, it was well written (but allen heinberg also wrote a lot of my all-time favorite show, grey’s anatomy so maybe that’s why i liked it so much) AND well acted, i liked every character on diana and steve’s team, steve’s assistant etta… wow.
at the end of the movie, diana is struggling to comprehend the world around her. she was told that ares was responsible for all of this suffering, for all of the pain people were enduring at the hands of war. she originally left themyscira to go and save the world, but as time went on she realized that perhaps these people did not deserve to be saved after all, if they chose to harm one another in such terrible ways. eventually though, after almost killing dr. maru, she realizes that there is light and dark inside everyone, including herself, and the only thing we can do is make the right choices.
i like to think that the ending was a metaphor for what gal gadot is feeling. she made some reprehensible comments three years ago, and maybe since then she’s come to see that war is truly damaging to everyone involved, and has chosen to feel differently toward palestine.
i’m not going to tell you to see this movie. the criticisms people have over the casting of gal gadot are valid. i would like to say, though, that if you like female superhero movies and dc characters, i encourage you to check out the dc shows on the cw. they have black canary, white canary, hawkgirl, katana, vixen (two vixens, actually), felicity smoak (whose hacking abilities i consider a superpower #hacktheplanet), speedy who is now thea queen, SUPERGIRL, MISS MARTIAN… i mean, there are so many badass women (cool female villains and lots of non-superhero women, too!) who don’t condone the occupation of palestine. so, start with supergirl and legends of tomorrow and maybe those two shows will help make enduring season after season of barry allen and oliver queen making the absolute worst possible choices on the flash and arrow a little more tolerable.
as always, thanks for reading.
p.s. is it in chris pine’s contract that he has to ride a motorcycle in every movie he’s in now?
p.p.s. i felt truly represented on screen when steve gives diana glasses to wear and etta goes, “like she’s not still the most beautiful woman you’ve ever seen”. people always try to tell me to get contacts. i will never. i am still the most beautiful woman you’ve ever seen, even with glasses, so suck it.
p.p.p.s. i’ve seen david thewlis in exactly two things, this and harry potter, and i feel like he’s always casted inappropriately but still does the best he can and he’s never actually bad? just.. not right for his roles.