So first things first, here is my general overall non-spoilery-details take on “Wonder Woman” the movie: (eta: edited this post to correct my initial incorrect belief that the movie was set in WWII and not WWI)
I love this movie.
It profoundly affected me in a deep, emotional way. Many times I found myself with tears suddenly rolling down my face; I lost count of how many times.
So here’s the thing: we should absolutely discuss and analyze the crap out of this movie. Like all things, it is not perfect. It has flaws. It has things about it that are certainly capital-P Problematic. But I won’t be here for the double standard that tends to happen often in such situations (like is the use of the WWI setting really ethical?? No, not really. But if you’re going to take that route then you’d better be willing to eviscerate the majority of Hollywood’s output for the last 90 years, which has committed far greater sins in terms of crimes against history for the sake of American jingoism than this. Like certain other superhero movies, honestly).
This is what ultimately mattered to me, personally for this movie: that the screenplay, that Patty Jenkins, and that the acting all respect Diana. And all of those things did so in spades.
Diana is a hero and it is her story and nobody else’s. She is strong. She is respected. She is powerful. What she believes in drives the story. She is kind. She is principled. She believes in justice. Her actions and example inspire others to be better, to do better. She has an arc and a story, but she is never made into a fool. She is never objectified, fetishized, or sexualized for the male gaze. She is at times naive and overly idealistic, but she is also not played as an idiot or a fool for being so. She is able to keep believing in what she knows is right while learning nuance. She quickly overcomes the expectations of the sexist men in The World of Man, but the movie is not About “woman constantly overcomes sexism” it is About Diana being a hero. She is never COMPROMISED.
And it is a movie that has a message and stands by it. We can pick the nits all day, but it is a movie that absolutely advocates true heroism and true do-good-ness without falling into a simplistic black-and-white worldview. Saying that yes, oftentimes we as a people are fucking disappointing and that as much as we would like it, in the real world there just isn’t one Big Bad Guy that you can do away with and fix the world (an idea that is truly Far Too Relevant given where we are in history).
But you still do good ANYWAY.
It isn’t about deserving. It’s about what you believe.