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Contains spoilers for Wonder Woman(2017) and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
A few weeks ago, I got the pleasure to see the Patty Jenkins directed film, Wonder Woman. Now, Wonder Woman has been my SECOND favorite superhero for as long as I can remember. (Batman is my favorite 😃). I’ve read countless comics, I’ve seen every animated film that she’s featured in and I’ve collected many pieces of merchandise over the years. She’s not just a member of the Justice League but she is a member of the DC trinity; one of the leaders. She stands right alongside the other two heavy-hitters: Batman and Superman. Yet, aside from Lynda Carter’s fantastic portrayal in the 70’s, there has been no live action Diana Prince. Think about it, Batman has had a number of big screen, live action movies AND countless animated incarnations. According to the Internet Movie Data Base, there are over 25 of them. Superman has 8 live action films and many great series of his own (Lois and Clark ya’ll ❤) . In comparison, Wonder Woman has one TV movie, one TV series, and one animated film. How is it that such an iconic character has had to share so much screen time with her brothers in arms? Many times, she is shown as the backbone and voice of reason for the trio. Most recently, she showed the boys what they needed to do in 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice . Even with the odds stacked against the crew, Wonder Woman merely smirked and continued her assault on Doomsday. (Raise your hand if you got goosebumps.) So when a live action film was announced, I was beyond ecstatic. My girl was FINALLY going to be on the big screen! She has been an icon since her debut in 1941 so I knew that she was going to shatter the glass ceiling.
Wonder Woman tells the story of Princess Diana of Themyscira, the Daughter of Hippolyta. Formed from clay by her mother’s hands and given life by Zeus, this woman was a wonder from birth. Yes, she is an icon and she has a countless number of fans around the world. We’ve seen and/or read her story numerous times. I already knew that the film was going to be great so I could not help but sit on the edge of my seat. I kept my eyes wide and my ears open so that I would not miss a thing. I was merely enjoying the film when a crucial moment graced the screen: No Man’s Land. Diana wanted Steve to take her to the heart of the war because she was determined to end it. Unfortunately, the soldiers who had been posted there had made little progress against the Germans’ fancy weaponry. Steve, in an attempt to protect Diana, tried explaining to her that there was no way to advance. But Diana boldly declared that SHE would advance. The woman of wonder courageously breached the barriers of No Man’s Land to go toe to toe with every machine, every bullet, and every man that had been holding the town of Veld hostage. I. cried. like. a. baby. I had to ask my sister for tissues. No matter how much I wiped my eyes, the tears kept coming. I could not ignore the extended metaphor that was playing before my eyes. It’s hard to believe that this pivotal moment was almost cut from the film! As mentioned before, this is the first Wonder Woman feature film. Most of major super hero movies feature women as part of a team or as a love interest. But on June 2, 2017, Wonder Woman unabashedly entered the “No Man’s Land” of super hero films. As a young, black woman, I have encountered “No Man’s Land” many times. During my freshman year of college, my speech professor told our class that he was surprised that two of his former black students were excellent speakers. I walked out of class with tears in my eyes that day. I wanted to scream at him and give him a piece of my mind. But after speaking with my mom, I went back with courage and grace to show him exactly why I was excellent. I made an “A” on my final and an “A” in the class.
(Pictured: The metaphorical tiara I wore during each speech)
But as with any project, there are critics. There are some who see this film as a tool to promote feminist agenda. The term “feminism” has a negative connotation these days and the media isn’t helping. Of course, there are those who claim the title and depict themselves as members of a “man-haters” club. Is Wonder Woman a feminist movie? Yes, yes it is. Real feminism is not bashing men every 5 seconds. Real feminism is being true to yourself without adhering to society’s standards. Real feminism fights for the equality for all people. And real feminism is exhibited beautifully through Gadot’s interpretation of Diana. She demonstrates her strength without asking for a pat on the back and without emasculating her male comrades. Diana Prince is a sheet of titanium and she is a snowflake. She unapologetically scrapes the floor with anyone who threatens the common good but she also loves dancing in Steve’s arms. Diana courageously brandishes a sword and she squeals at the sight of a baby. She literally goes head to head with machine guns and weeps for the people affected by horrors of the war. She can be the bull AND the china shop and she is not afraid to be either one. This is feminism.
Gal Gadot IS Wonder Woman and the public agrees. According to Box Office Mojo, the film has grossed over $700 million USD worldwide . I was unaware of Gadot before Batman v Superman but let me tell you, she has immortalized Diana of Themyscira. Not only did she save the world, but she saved herself from the confines of her role as a traditional Princess. Even as a child, she ruled with grace and determination. During this journey, Diana made gains and suffered losses. She experienced the bliss and loss of her first love. It was through this journey that she became Wonder Woman. With the success of this film, I hope that Hollywood can see how important films like these are. At some point, everyone faces a “No Man’s Land”. People of all ages, colors, and creeds can relate to this woman’s journey to make a difference. Did Wonder Woman break the glass ceiling? No, she annihilated that thing.
Because I am a music head, I could not help but make a playlist while working on this post. Here is a link to my playlist that I simply titled “Wonder”. It includes “To Be Human” by Sia and Labrinth from the Wonder Woman soundtrack and other songs that I feel embody the character. Enjoy! <3