Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Review of Wonder Woman

My first thought after watching Wonder Woman was that it should have been given its time in the theater. I think it could have done pretty well.

Most of the familiar elements of her origin story are in this, so much of it shouldn't be a surprise. However, this origin story also includes the warrior Amazon Artemis, who didn't come along in the Wonder Woman (WW) mythos until much later (early 1990's I think), when in the comic books she had temporarily assumed the role and the costume of WW when Diana had failed to live up to her expectations.

Overall, I think the story was well done, and I enjoyed the fact that this movie wasn't made into some sort of liberal feminist rah-rah flick about the power of womanhood and such. This story didn't need that - we already know that WW is a strong and powerful woman. Instead, it made use of a lot of humor, which I think helped keep the movie from taking itself too seriously.

For example, when the Amazons had Steve Trevor under the influence of the lasso of truth, he was compelled to admit certain things, such as what he meant when he said "crap". What I found funny is that the Amazons didn't know of the word "crap" in reference to excrement, but knew of the word "rack" in reference to a woman's breasts!

One interesting scene was when Diana had won the battle that gave her the right to be the ambassador to "man's world" and removed her helmet for her mother the queen to see. In the comic books of this scene, Hippolyta at first scolds her daughter for the deception, and then protests that she be the Amazonian ambassador. However, in the movie, Hippolyta simply hands her the attire as if Diana were any of the other Amazons.

In a way, portraying this scene in that way makes sense. I can imagine Hippolyta internally feeling a sort of maternal pride in seeing that it was her daughter who won the event. Not much later, she admits to Artemis that she wasn't going to be able to prevent her daughter from leaving for much longer. Maybe she realized that her daughter wanted to spread her wings.

Another pleasant surprise is the depiction of what happens when super women are struck. They go flying into walls and buildings and such like the men would. Don't misinterpret this as me saying that I want the depiction of violence against women to be glorified, but rather I'm saying that I'm glad the writers understood that we super women take on damage - and most times a lot of it - in our super battles with men. This is one area in which a liberal feminist take on this scene would have gone overboard in glorifying the strength of womanhood without giving any credible representation of the fact that, when we get hit, it hurts!

It's actually in such times that super women demonstrate their heroism the most. Just as among regular humans the average man is stronger than the average woman, it's also true for superhuman strength men and women. The strongest super strength woman (it's not me, by the way) is just barely average when compared to the super strength men. Pitting the strongest super woman against the strongest super man is a mismatch, big time. Like regular women, we don't bulk up like men do, so we don't get nearly as strong as they do. When super men strike us, we go flying, and when we hit walls or buildings, it hurts.

But some of these super women will not let this discrepancy in super strength stop them from battling super strength men. Folks, considering what these women are up against in such battles, they are brave and heroic beyond measure. They have to be faster and smarter, and they have to take advantage of the fact that most super strength men take too much faith and stock in their super strength to always bail them out. Taking down that first super strength man is the sort of confidence builder that will help that super woman for the rest of her superhero career. A liberal feminist representation of such a battle would rob all the glory of what such women go through getting that first takedown.

But I digress. This is supposed to be a movie review, after all. :-)

Like the super women in my "universe", WW goes flying into walls and buildings when struck. But she comes back to fight some more, and she presses on until the battle is won. She comes away bloodied and bruised, but victorious. There's other aspects of this movie I can touch on, but I think I'll save that for another time when I can discuss it more in a topic about how super women are presented in the movies. Those other aspects deserve a more focused blog entry, so I'll do just that. I hope you'll understand why I am cutting my review a little short, but some of the other things I want to discuss deserve more discussion than what a mere movie review can do.

On a scale of 1 to 10 in which 1 is a bomb and 10 is THE bomb, I give the WW movie a 9, largely based on its entertainment value. I enjoyed it that much.

1 comment:

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