The female superhero movie that displays anti-feminist undertones.
Superhero movies usually get a bad rap for being overly dramatic, far too long, and cheesy. However, the new Wonder Woman film was getting a lot of hype in the media for being none of those things and having a strong female lead (as opposed to the damsel in distress that moviegoers are used to). Needless to say, I was pretty excited to see the closest thing to a feminist superhero.
Wonder Woman is not, though, the woman to look up to. At least not in the way she is portrayed in this film. The movie begins with Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), (AKA Diana, AKA daughter of Hippolyta, the Queen of the Amazons) as a young girl who is pining to train with the other female warriors. She sneaks around behind her mother’s back and trains throughout her youth, eventually becoming the best warrior on the paradise island filled with beautiful Amazon women.
However, it is not until Steve (Chris Pine) enters the scene that the story really picks up. Steve somehow blunders into the Amazon world by crashing his plane into the ocean and having Diana rescue him. Then, it is the Germans that storm the Amazonian beach, blindly killing everything in front of them as Germans are known to do, I guess.
The Amazon women come out victorious in the end and eventually pull the story of WWI out of Steve, which Diana hears and immediately feels the need to run off and save the human race.
But, let’s just back up a second. Diana and the women of the Amazon world are totally fine, living their own lives, doing their own thing, and then a man enters the scene and fucks it all up. It is a man that brings Diana to her true purpose, and it is a man that really begins her story or any reason of why we should care about her.
Also, from the moment Diana drags the soaking Steve onto the beach and looks him in the eyes (very similar to The Little Mermaid, by the way) I just knew that this was the romantic subplot. Honestly, I had really been hoping that there wouldn’t be one. Why? Not because I’m a heartless wench who hates romantic love, but because it is entirely unnecessary.
The way their romance is set up is very much reminiscent of Ferdinand and Ariel in The Tempest by William Shakespeare. Here is a woman who has never before seen a man, so of course the first one she encounters she will fall head over heels for. It is just like every other Hollywood film where we can’t put a man and a woman together and there not be a sexual plot. Because men and women will always want to just have sex with each other if left alone together, right? I think that this character would not have bothered me so much if Steve had simply been a friend or brotherly. But, no, of course not. Because in order for any story about a woman to be complete, she needs to fall in love with a man.
It is also irritating how dumb Diana is portrayed throughout the film, especially in moments of sexual innuendo. Yes, we get that she is not used to the customs of this world but she isn’t an idiot. The jokes range from asking about the average male penis size to not understanding why a man cannot sleep with a woman. Most of these take place in the first thirty minutes of the film, which really sets up the precedent that Diana is naive for the rest of the story.
It is important to remember that just because the woman is the lead of the film, doesn’t mean the film stands for feminist values.
Another aspect of this film is the historical context. The entire story takes place during WWI however by the end I couldn’t even remember how or why it took place then. Most of the scenes involving the war and other aspects of it make it seem as if this were WWII. Which, despite not learning much about it in public school, I am aware there is a big difference. I think that the creators really just got too carried away with the war-time feel and forgot which wartime they were in. For example, most of the outfits Diana wears once she is in London are very 1940’s, which is far different from the style women wore in the first World War. To a lot of people, this is not a significant factor of what makes a great film but I think it is important because as a general public, we need to realize the significance behind historical context.
Most people are raving about how Wonder Woman is the feminist superhero that we have all been waiting for, but I disagree. It is important to remember that just because the woman is the lead of the film, doesn’t mean the film stands for feminist values.
Current music: Obvs by Jamie XX