So far, superhero flicks this year are 3 for 3. Logan was such a refreshing and unique entry in to genre as was the hilarious, action packed, character driven and heart-warming Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2. which, contrary to popular opinion, I believe exceeded its predecessor. It took long enough, but finally June 2nd saw the release of the first ever female led superhero film Wonder Woman. Helmed by female director Patty Jenkins and starring Gal Gadot as the eponymous hero, Wonder Woman is an incredibly empowering film that might just be the best superhero origin story since Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins.
Crafted from clay by her mother Hippolyta and brought to life by Olympian God Zeus, Wonder Woman, also known as Diana, is princess of Themyscira, an island of solely females. Fictional universes in film history are often shown to be led and controlled mostly by the male characters. Like Leia is to Luke in Star Wars or what Black Widow is to Captain America in the MCU, women featured in such universes, even if empowered, are typically sidelined by their male counterparts. Very early on, Wonder Woman asserts itself as a different tale by spending the majority of the first act on Themyscira. Given how rare such a world is to cinema, it could’ve been forced on viewers but instead is so natural and pre-existing. Women are wielding shields, holding swords, bow and arrows, riding horses, acting as generals and leaders but none of it begs for amazement. Instead, Jenkins’s chooses to direct a humble introduction to the sequestered island of female warriors. In this casual manner, it isn’t shocking to see women acting independently; the world is what it is. This in itself is amazing.
When Princess Diana, now in the world of men just Diana Prince, accompanies American spy Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) to London in the middle of World War One, she is the complete opposite of what men at the time, and still even now, think she should be. A leader, strong, independent, and intelligent. Male characters attempt to sideline her numerous times yet she consistently displays that she is amongst the smartest in the room and the strongest on the battlefield. Her doing so brings to light, and somewhat points out the ridiculousness, of the oppression women faced historically and even how poorly portrayed they were throughout the years of cinema.
Wonder Woman is a fantastic origin story and its empowerment exceeds the content of the film. Not only is it the first time a female superhero has her own standalone project but it’s also directed by a woman, Patty Jenkins. Already, Jenkins is set to break the record for largest opening weekend box office by a female director. In addition to her accolades, Jenkins should also be praised for how well she balanced action – which is stellar if I may add – drama, comedy and romance in the film. Despite how epic the action sequences are, Wonder Woman’s strongest aspect is its message. It teaches that love, even in the toughest times, can conquer hatred. For young girls, it shows that a woman can be strong willed, fierce, independent and save the day. In the same way, it shows young boys that a woman can be just as strong as a men, or in Diana’s case, much stronger.
Wonder Woman is a must see and will not only prove to be 2017’s best but one of the most iconic films of the 21st century. Please, go with your daughters, sons, family members, and friends to see Wonder Woman.