The best thing about the new Wonder Woman movie is that it’s unapologetic; not only in its adherence to its source material, but in its unignorable presence in a sea of male-dominated superhero franchises.
Diana has never known a world where a woman is not welcome in the room and upon leaving Themyscaria this doesn't change. She enters an armistice meeting where her presence is aberrant not in defiance, but because she’s a general and this is a room full of generals. Her gender is irrelevant. While I appreciate the writers filtering patriarchal concepts through the lens of history to make it more palpable for those of us who need to recognize and correct it, I couldn't help but feel like the movie pulled its feminist punches a bit. But I guess Diana has never known the world of men, so she's not yet had an opportunity for anyone to try to oppress her (good luck with that). So as a character she's devoid of any "no man is going to tell me what to do." baggage. Diana doens't let ANYONE tell her what to do. Again, gender is irrelevant. She simply never considers herself to be anything but equal. I hope it's not lost on the audience that a woman needs to be able to heft a tank over her head in order for men to consider her an equal.
What I loved so much about this movie is how Diana is unflinching in her convictions. This, in my opinion, is what truly makes her wondrous. (and used to make Superman super). She defies her mother and trains with Antiope. Refuses to let the world of men fall to war despite it costing her family and home. She refuses to let the city of Veld remain occupied despite the battlefront separating its citizens from their liberators. She refuses to believe that war may be more complicated than a god corrupting men to do bad things. She acts when she feels she needs to despite others telling her not to. And the London alley gunfight is such a cool juxitposition to the mugging scene in Donner's Superman that I can't help but feel that Patty Jenkins and crew were saying "Who needs Superman when you have Wonder Woman?"
Diana believes that Ares, the god of war, has corrupted men to fight amongst themselves and it is her duty to destory him and save mankind. This concept is literal to Diana. And while in our world Ares isn’t a God personified, it’s pretty easy for us to pick out his "agents" in places of power, using fear and hateful rhetoric to embolden the worst in all of us. The movie inspires us to remain true to our convictions in the worst of what mankind can offer. Diana will not relent in her belief that we can be a great people, and wish to be. We only lack the light to show the way. Steve admits we don’t deserve her. But that doesn’t matter. Only her belief in our capacity for good.
Wonder Woman is an amazing Superhero movie. It’s true to the character, inspiring, a visual spectacle, action packed and funny in all the right places. It should have been the movie that launched the DC cinematic universe. It sets the proper tone, and it completely heals my broken heart over Man of Steel.
For truly and sincerely, who needs Superman when we have Wonder Woman?