With all the hype, controversy, and buzz by the yammering classes surrounding the reboot of the Wonder Woman franchise, I was afraid this was going to be a shrill, preachy, agenda-fied move. Nothing could be further from the truth. I’m happy to say that Director Patti Jenkins got the tone of the movie just right and Gal Gadot played the title role with a steel-eyed idealism that vaults Wonder Woman from just a superhero to an archetype.
You can’t help but compare this movie to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). And yeah, it feels like the story writers and script writers have deeply studied those movies. But that’s not to say they copied the MCU moves, but that they learned from them. They learned that it’s not enough to show spectacular action scenes. It’s not enough to sprinkle in light-hearted moments through out the movie. It’s not enough to build mythic backstories for our heroes. That’s all well and good and you see that in the Wonder Woman movie.
Wonder Woman’s story is literally a myth that runs smack dab into the worst of the 20th century. Culture clash ensues. Sometimes in a funny way. I especially liked how they handled the “woman who’s never met a man” aspects. It’s not handled in a sophomoric way. But Chris Pine, as Wonder Woman’s guide to the 20th century, does a good job at conveying the awkwardness around teaching Wonder Woman about the differences between the sexes.
But what makes the movie work is its unabashed idealism. Over and over again, we see scenes where key characters make a difficult choice to Do The Right Thing even when their family, friends, superiors, government is telling them to ignore the problem, or let someone else handle it, or give up in advance because the problem is too hard. And yeah, choosing to do the right thing requires practice, bravery, and a willingness to make sacrifices that can’t be undone.
Hopefully Wonder Woman will inspire generations of young women and men to follow Wonder Woman’s example.