Two years ago today, Catholic Girl Bloggin’ was launched and boy, what a wild ride it has been! I would like to thank my followers from WordPress and Facebook for all the support. I don’t know where I’d be without you guys and gals.
Let us celebrate with a review of Wonder Woman!
Diana is (quite literally) the only child on an island of Amazonian women. She grows up to be a skilled fighter, ready to defend her island against Ares, the god of war, a.k.a. this story’s version of Lucifer. Then one day, a World War I plane pierces the force shield that keeps her island invisible to Ares. Inside the plane is Captain Kirk–I mean–Steve Trevor (Chris Pine). Like Ariel in The Little Mermaid, Diana jumps into the sea, saves Prince Eric–sorry, I mean–Steve and carries him to shore. No, she doesn’t sing to him, but she does ask him who he is. With the lasso of truth, the Amazonian women get Steve to reveal that he is an American spy who has discovered a terrible plot from the Germans to use chemical warfare to claim victory in this war. Moved by his testimony, Diana sees an opportunity to enter our world, join the effort in World War I and defeat Ares, the one responsible for pitting men against each other.
Gal Gadot is a fantastic Wonder Woman! Ever an idealist, her black-and-white view of the world is grounded in her compassion for others and her belief in humanity’s potential for goodness. This makes her naiveté seem less childish, coming from a place of empathy, not ignorance. I like how she’s not totally clueless when she first steps onto the shores of WWI-era London, but she doesn’t completely get the hang of modern-day living in one fell swoop. Her fish-out-of-water innocence is believable and her strength is unquestionable. What really makes her shine is her compassion for others. Her view on humanity’s goodness is a tad romantic, but it is also similar to Catholic theology of humans being born inherently good. Her desire to save humans never comes off as condescending, as in, “Oh, these poor weak humans are so helpless and I’m the only one who can protect them.” Rather she sees very clearly the threat of Ares and recognizes that humans don’t know what she knows about him, so the sooner she can find and kill him, the safer humans will be.
Chris Pine really shines as Steve Trevor. Granted, Steve’s character on paper is pretty typical (good dude who finds himself in a situation he didn’t ask for), but Chris Pine makes him so likable. Charming but never arrogant, he treats Diana as an equal. He is protective of her without patronizing her. Their relationship is not based on obligation just because she saved his life. Because she helps him get off Themyscira (her Amazonian island) and he agrees to take her to the war, there was a potential danger of their relationship becoming one where they inadvertently use each other, but fortunately the script focuses more on the fish-out-of-water aspect, so they have a legitimate reason to stay together before they fall in love.
I really gotta applaud the film for NOT saturating the Amazonian women with makeup. We are allowed to see their wrinkles and crow’s feet, which makes sense because these women are always out in the sun, training and caring for their island.
Without giving too much away, one of the strongest aspects of the script is that it is respectful to both Diana’s otherworldly beliefs and Steve’s reality. There’s never a scene where Steve spats out, “It’s all make-believe! Ares, Zeus, clay babies, none of it is real!” While she does become discouraged when things don’t turn out the way she had hoped, Diana doesn’t throw in the towel with a jaded attitude. Diana and Steve are very tactful when handling each other’s thought process, adding to their very equal relationship. We know that Steve really does find her world hard to believe, but he has seen enough and experienced enough to know that Diana is who she is and he respects that. As for her, Diana grows in maturity and forms a more well-rounded view of the world while holding on to her convictions.
The movie uses slow-motion a little too much. I’m not saying it doesn’t look cool when it is used, but it does get repetitive after a while.
Okay, so the island of Themyscira (try saying that ten times fast) is hidden by an invisible force shield that Ares, an immortal god of war, cannot find…and YET Steve’s plane pierces right through it with no issue. In addition, the very-mortal Germans pass through the veil effortlessly. Granted, this doesn’t ruin the movie for me at all, but it’s about as laughable as how [SPOILER for the movie “Arrival”] the climax of Arrival is solved by a phone call. I get it, you need an inciting incident to get the plot going, but it’s still kind of funny to me.
As much as Ares is built up in this film, Ares himself is pretty generic. Yeah, he’s basically the DCEU’s version of Lucifer, but he’s still a “gotta destroy this world and replace it with a better one because humanity sucks” kind of guy.
Praise Jesus (and director Patty Jenkins) for FINALLY giving us a solid DCEU (DC Extended Universe) movie! Despite a few clichés and generic plot points, the greatest strength of both the titular character and the movie is its heart. Wonder Woman is a much-needed home run for the DCEU thanks to a strong and compassionate heroine, a romance with tons of chemistry and a balanced approach to its ideas.
Side Note: I really think that Wonder Woman is going to be the best part of Justice League. I’m callin’ it right here, right now.
Most Gracious Virgin Mary, pray for us.