I saw it. I liked it. I was not blown away.
Perhaps you’ve heard of the Hero’s Journey, Joseph Campbell’s explanation of the template of all archetypal hero stories? If not and you’re a writer, you should (handy link provided!)
In short, there’s a dude livin’ his life, and doin’ his thang when something changes and he can choose to do something or not (What’s that you say, Chris Pine/Steve Trevor?). At first, he might be like NAH! but then he gets some sage advice from some other dude and is like, “Yeah, maybe!” The dude steps out of his comfort zone, meets some people, fights some people, and somehow discovers something about himself. Then he fights the big boss which is always such a big deal and involves much talking and stating of intentions instead of efficient killing and dying. Afterward, once the dude hems and haws over injuries that he–MOMENTS LATER–shakes off completely, the dude can go home where the changes he’s made to himself make the world a better place… somehow.
Pretty much all of the big-budget action adventure super hero movies follow this template and Wonder Woman is no different. It was not surprising, it was not momentous, and it was basically just a woman instead of a dude.
The MOMENTOUS part of it, as described by our misogynistic culture, was that it starred a woman! And was directed by a woman! And it wasn’t a chick flick! And not just women went to see it! WHA–?! GASP!! SHOCK! AWE!
The fact that they could just substitute women in the same old story and consider it so remarkable makes me so… so very sad.
But it’s a stepping stone. And as a woman living in Trump’s America, I can guarantee we will need many… manymanymany more such steps before anything even remotely revolutionary can happen.
ALL THAT BEING SAID…
I liked it. I would have enjoyed it more if the entire movie took place in the land of tough pronunciation with the battle bitches unapologetically owning their power. Diana as a child? I can only hope my daughter has that kind of confidence. A society governed by women who are well aware of the follies of men and have no patience for their bullcrap? We should all be so lucky.
I’ll tell you what was freaking satisfying: when Diana crosses her arm bands and all her power explodes out of her like she rule the planet and no one can stop her. Yeah, sure, fine, she hurt her auntie and everyone was all mad. That’s a little bit of emotional abuse right there, if you ask me (honey, no one can handle your strong feelings. Just bury those away somewhere, ok?) and if I could rage out with that kind of force, you better believe I’d be crossing “No MAN’s Land” and letting all everyone know that “I’m no man” and that, my boys, is why I’m better than you. All women are. Recognize.
Stepping stones. All the other kickass ladies in the land of obvious awesomeness (Themyscira, I over-pronounce for the fifth time) HAVE to be shocked and dismayed because the audience is supposed to be shocked and dismayed because A WOMAN?! WITH POWER?!? What IS this movie?!?!?
That’s why it had to take place in the past, you know “when women weren’t expected to amount to much” unlike now when we’re… shocked and dismayed when girl power threatens the status quo.
I was not even remotely surprised that Professor Lupin was Aries. As soon as Etta found Veld on the map and Moody stood up all suspiciously, I knew it was him. Bad guys are 1) British, 2) Not always easy to spot, 3) Tricksters, 4) Smarter than the average bear. Another set of assumptions that don’t fit into the current landscape of evil (like those loud, obviously evil leaders who openly lie, steal, cheat, scheme, and sexually harass but for some reason people keep waiting to see “who he really is”).
And of course, there’s the one good guy. He’s white and American and he’s had a tough time lately, you guys, and just wants to get married and have breakfast while his secretary does all the work. It’s not his FAULT that he has to lie and kill to make the world a better place. That’s the only thing that ever will, right? Idealism and optimism have no place in this bitter, hate-filled world and we just have to live with it, get over our daddy issues, and try not to feel emasculated when a woman kicks more ass than we do. Right? Am I right, guys?
Because strength in a woman is just man strength with boobs.
Stepping stones from having woman directors make man movies successfully to women breaking the mold and still being successful.
Stepping stones from having all male heroes to having a few women here and there.
Stepping stones from having man strength recognized in a woman to having woman strength valued in any gender.
Stepping stones from the perception that only women (who are a smaller part of the population of movie goers?!?) want to see female protagonists and that men enjoying the same movie being unprecedented and total amazeballs to the entire industry gettin’ woke and finding out that NOT ONLY are women capable, professional movie makers and profitable movie goers but that…. actually there are more than two genders and straight white American men aren’t the most superior of them all.
Those are some pretty big stones.
P.S. I am SO HERE for mohawk braids. Somebody do this to my head so my hair doesn’t get in my eyes while I’m backflipping off my horse.