What I expected:
a simpering comic relief character fawns over the buff hetero villain, dies a villain.
What I got:
A surprising arc of a man who lives in 18th century France finding safety and comfort with his best friend, a war hero. Sure he fawns a little, but he starts to realize Gaston is a goddamn sociopath. He's forced to choose between his own morality and his tenuous personal safety. The film doesn't sugarcoat the character's sexuality and make's it abundantly clear that this is a gay character. Josh Gad plays the role with depth, sincerity, and wit. He isn't a disposable sidekick and is a focal character in his own right.
There's a scene where a dude is "forced" to cross dress that is entirely played for comedy. Two steps forward, one step back.
Happy Birthday, Harold Clayton Lloyd (April 20th, 1893 - March 8th, 1971)
“My humor was never cruel or cynical. We just took life and poked fun at it. We made it so it could be understood the world over, without language barriers. We seem to have conquered the time barrier, as well.”
This isn’t a review so much as it is a post about how Wonder Woman and Patty Jenkins have changed Hollywood (or at least I believe they have). At this point in time, I’ve watched Wonder Woman twice in the span of 1 week and both times I found myself staring in awe of Gal Gadot (my imaginary wife) and the other Amazons kicking ass like nobody’s business. Though I am a big fan of superhero movies, I am more of a Marvel fan, as the recent DC films have been quite disappointing with the plots being all over the place. Then came Wonder Woman, the first female-centric superhero film in over a decade, which caught my attention. I’ll just say that this is the best DC film I have watched since The Dark Knight Rises. It’s a true origin story that doesn’t get lost in attempting to connect to the larger DCEU, but rather focuses on telling the story of how Diana, Princess of Themyscira, became Wonder Woman.
Now, on to the main reason why I wrote this post. Walking out of the theater, I felt empowered, like if I yelled “shield!” in the middle of the mall, someone would give me a boost so I could spin in the air and shoot arrows at people. As a 17-year-old girl who is a huge fan of superhero films, I have only ever really seen men rule the screen and kill evil aliens and defeat their enemies. Seeing a powerful, kind, compassionate and incredible woman fight for what she belives in, put a smile on my face that will last a lifetime. The genius behind this film and the smile on my face is Patty Jenkins, and I am writing this to thank her.
A couple days ago, I came across this THR headline:
What I took notice of, along with many others, was the use of the word “gamble” in the headline. Using the word “gamble” made it feel as though Warner Bros. did not BELIEVE in Jenkins. As though the reception and box office of this film was all up to chance, just like in gambling. People took notice of this and pointed it out, recalling other male directors who had similar career paths as Jenkins, who never received this headline. One important example was Colin Trevorrow, who prior to directing Jurassic World, a film which had a budget of $150 million, had only directed the small indie film Safety Not Guaranteed, which had a tiny $750,000 budget in comparison. Articles about Trevorrow highlighted his incredible leap from indie film to iconic blockbuster film, never implying that the success of JW would be up to chance. This makes it seem as though Jenkins is somehow less qualified for the job of helming a big budget superhero film than someone like Trevorrow, when in reality, Jenkins’ $8 million indie film Monster won an Oscar and outdid other male directors’ pre-big budget films.
I brought up the article to say that I don’t think it was a “gamble” hiring Jenkins to direct this film, but rather a choice to do so. It was a CHOICE to produce the first female-centric superhero film in over a decade. It was a CHOICE to hire a talented female storyteller to TELL the story ABOUT a woman FOR women (and men). It was a CHOICE to show the world what women could do, that they were capable of exactly what men are shown as being capable of.
The release of Wonder Woman has inspired many people all around the world. For the past week, I have seen countless images of little girls dressed as Diana, going to the cinema and posing with posters and cardboard cut-outs. Each time I scroll through my Instagram, Twitter and Facebook feeds, I see celebrities tweeting, posting statuses and pictures, praising Jenkins and Gadot for an excellent, empowering film. And each time I see these pictures, tweets and posts, I can’t help but smile and think “A woman did this. She MADE this.”.
Watching the success of this film brings joy to my heart, knowing that Patty Jenkins, a female director, has changed the game for women, especially for women behind the camera. I believe that the success of Wonder Woman will prove to studios that women are indeed capable of creating successful films, it’s just a matter of believing in them and giving them the opportunity to do so. As a young girl whose dream it is to direct films, I want to thank Patty Jenkins from the bottom of my film-loving heart for bringing this film to life and being the reason behind its success. I know for a fact that you have changed the way Hollywood sees and treats female directors, or at least I know you WILL. I know that because of you and because of this film, female directors will be given more opportunities to tell more stories and to do what they love. Furthermore, the success of Wonder Woman will no doubt inspire young girls to do what they love, regardless of the obstacles they may encounter on their way to success.