power. grace. wisdom. wonder.
Okay, so. After 800 years (and already falling super, SUPER in love with Diana) I finally saw the dang movie.
And you guys.
Obviously, I’m probably not going to say anything terribly new in this, given that I am unavoidably late to the party, but once the film ended and the credits started rolling, my sister and I sat there for a solid minute or so (with tears streaming down my face, basically) collecting ourselves before we even thought about leaving. I just wanted to sit there and be with it a little while longer, because. Holy shit. Just. This movie, okay.
(Obviously, spoilers ahead, mateys.)
I don’t recall a single instant where I was bored, my attention was wandering, I was like, “Just get on with the damn story already,” or otherwise less than completely enthralled with what was going on (even as someone who doesn’t watch much/any DC stuff). I cried for the first time about, oh, thirty seconds in, and several times thereafter. I cried when there was a shot of Antiope looking powerful as hell, broad-shouldered, strong, when this incredibly capable warrior woman actually looked like she could legitimately kick your ass, and not like a waif or a pixie. I cried when I saw Diana for the first time. I cried when Diana went to get the sword, because how many times have we seen the movie where the man is given the magical sword and becomes the hero? (And then of course, later on, it turns out that the sword isn’t what is special, she is.) I cried during No Man’s Land, because obviously I did. I cried during the whole ending sequence, because also I obviously did.
Saying this was an important movie to me almost sounds cheap, but I don’t know any better way to put it. It just… wow. I feel like I need to watch it again (and I am the WORST about seeing movies in the cinema). There was just so much there: thematically, visually, character-wise, story-wise. So much that I loved and so much that hit me in the face (and the heart).
(I want to marry Gal Gadot like, even more than I already did, which was so much. I literally could not take my eyes off her the entire time.)
Diana and Steve were absolutely delightful. They played off each other so well, with Diana the serious “straight man” (or rather woman) convinced of her own lofty purpose (and struggling when it seems she’s been deprived of it) and Steve functioning as the skeptical observer/voice of the ridiculous/’so that’s cool” note of levity that the movie needed (and I was surprised and very pleased at how funny it was). One of my favorite things was how the movie managed to play Diana’s entrance into our world both for humor and without making her the butt of the joke – in other words, it never pointed and laughed at her ignorance. It found it charming, just as Steve did, and likewise, we have seen the movies where the (male) hero enters a new world and gets to stare at its oddity. Here, we have Diana experiencing the strangeness and charm of a department store, a cafe and a winter evening in the middle of the war, dancing with someone she liked, and otherwise getting to see the small magic of our own world with new eyes, even for a demi-goddess from a pseudo-heavenly realm. Those scenes had such a lovely bit of enchantment and enjoyment to them, when it would have been so easy to make them cynical.
The boat scene with Diana and Steve leaving Themyscira was sheer genius (and I seem to recall reading that they improvised most of that) as was the bath scene, and of course the end. Jfc. When he’s pointing the gun into the hold of the plane, trying to work up the courage to die, and you know that he manages to go through with it because of her – because as he tells her, he can save today, but she can save the world, and he needs to let her be the one to do that. Even when she’s angry at him beforehand, he still tries to help her, tells her what the smoke signals are and to follow them to find Ludendorff. He never tries to cut her down or diminish her (and him using the lasso on himself + “this is a terrible idea, we will probably die” = also genius).
Also, the backup team was an Indian, a drunk Scotsman with PTSD, and a Turkish man, and every single one of them were given poignant and genuine moments??? Chief gets to talk about how the Indians have been driven out of their lands. Charlie can’t manage to shoot the sniper, and yet Diana later asks who will sing for them if he leaves – she values him for his talents and for his possibility of a life beyond war, she doesn’t blame him for failing in crunch time. Sameer gets to point out that he can’t be who he wants to be because he was born the wrong color, and there is nothing he can do about that. This team of marginalized people, working together to change the world for the better despite all the odds against them – I mean. Wow.
When the Ares reveal happened, I literally whispered, “I knew it I knew it I knew it” three times under my breath, because I suspected that guy from the start. I just felt as if the Clearly Psychotic German General ™ was too obvious a candidate and there was a twist coming, and when he died utterly anticlimactically (although I was proud of Diana for doing it) I was like… welp, VINDICATED, NOW THE SHIT IS ACTUALLY GOING TO GO DOWN, I KNEW IT WAS EVIL REMUS LUPIN, and it was. So yes.
As I said, I feel as if I have to watch this movie in the theater again at least one, and then several times thereafter. I cannot believe that in in the year of our lord 2017 this is somehow the first female superhero movie directed by a woman, and frankly, I don’t know why we have to keep accepting mediocre manpain movies in any genre otherwise. It was an action movie, a love story (both in a romantic sense and in terms of Diana’s own actions/arc), a comedy, a tragedy, a fantasy, a superhero origin story, a social commentary, a war movie – as I said, there was just so much of it. It was such a rich tapestry of a story and it fitted together so brilliantly. All the questions it managed to raise about the nature of war and humanity, love and darkness, the people we are born as and the people we choose to be, the fallacy of “deserving” to be saved, and to do this in a way that is both deeply genuine and which isn’t overly naive, when Steve tells Diana that he wishes it was as simple as just killing one bad guy to make it all stop… I mean. That is hard. And they pulled it off amazingly.
In not-really-short, my life has been changed. I want another three movies, I want Diana to have a girlfriend (because I will cry my damn eyes out if I get to see this beautiful, powerful, gentle heroine being actually bisexual on screen), and I also want for all movies ever to be like this, basically.
I am going to be thinking about this for a very long time.