Simone Heller

astray in worlds and words.

Small Crush: Wonder Woman

How can you not have a crush on Wonder Woman?
She is pure wish-fulfilling empowerment, without being debased by the male-gazey fits a Black Widow (and almost every other woman who ever wore a hero’s costume) has to suffer. If you can’t see that, and if you can’t understand how this is able to change the way a woman perceives herself in the world, you probably never struggled with the kind of roles stories had to offer, the kind of dreams you had access to.

It could have gone wrong in so many ways. Diana was destined to be born sexy yesterday. But lo and behold, every time the dreaded “oooh, so this is what a kiss feels like” scene was about to come up, Wonder Woman veered off into another direction. The whole romance was handled very thoughtfully.

Same goes for the camaraderie. My first love in fiction was epic fantasy, so I have this soft spot for ragtag, diverse groups of adventurers going on a quest. I liked Diana’s companions. And the scene when they free a Flemish village is pure joy for many reasons.

Wonder Woman movie release posterWhat I enjoyed most, though, was the movie’s beginning at Themyscira, showing a whole island of women at all levels of society. I could have watched this forever. Actually, I was able to watch it for quite some time, because Wonder Woman starts out slow-paced. Which would have been perfect, hadn’t the rest of the film been totally detached from these scenes. I felt there should have been some reconnection later on, anything to justify the time we spent with that awesome Amazon action.

(Talking about action: Why, oh why, do we still have to put a woman who’s all legs anyway in high heeled boots in 2017? No amazon worth her tiara would ever wear high heels to fight, when it’s all about balance and firm stance.)

The old superhero movie malady of too much thrashing and bashing also raises its ugly head in the finale. It looks good, but doesn’t show anything beyond that, especially in super slowmo and going on forever because the big bossfight has to be epic.

These issues with pacing and focussing are nitpicks, though, and compared to most superhero movies I have seen, Wonder Woman has a strong plot. But it often hinges on the assumption that women can’t do that. Wouldn’t do that. Diana does, astonishment arises, and she wins the day. The story depends on the element of surprise, on the outrage and innovation of a physically overpowering woman. I wonder how Wonder Woman’s plot will develop when this crutch falls away, when she’s accepted as what she is.

We’re not there yet. But Wonder Woman is a beginning, and I’m impatient. With heroines like Diana, we’ll get there.

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2 Comments

  1. Sam

    Uuuuh! I so so much loved this movie. It has some little flaws, sure, but I feel so thrilled every time I walk out of the cinema (four times – so far). I would never have imagined that watching a real powerful female hero to have such a strong impact on me. We all have seen so many male heroes on screen who are pretty cool most times and I didn’t think it would be such a big deal to switch to a female heroine, but it felt completely different to watch a woman do the same as her male counterparts. Sadly my male friends don’t understand why Wonder Woman gets me all excited – again and again. I cried, I laughed, I sweated in pure excitement. They just can’t feel the difference as I do.

    Also: I have a serious crush on Anthiope. Her smile when she rides into battle … ♥

  2. Miss Navigator

    Anthiope was awesome! This is the kind of heroine we need to see more of. Men get the experienced, maybe world-weary warrior or grizzled veteran types all the time. I was thrilled to see a woman take this path, too.

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