This is a SPOILER-FILLED article. Also, this is NOT a review. If you’d like to read our spoiler-free review of Wonder Woman, you can click right here.
In a recent article, I mentioned how I’m quite the supporter of Zack Snyder. I don’t think Batman V Superman is a masterpiece, far from it in fact. To be honest, I don’t LOVE any of Snyder’s movies. And, he’s definitely not one of my favourite directors. No, I’m not confusing the word supporter with the word hater; hear me out. Zack Snyder is great – perhaps the best in the industry – at what he does. And what he does best, is paint gripping imagery. Say what you want about the muddled premise of Batman V Superman, but from a visual standpoint, it’s as if Snyder made the pages of Frank Miller’s finest work come to life.
Unfortunately, Zack Snyder sucks at everything else. On the other side of the coin, we have Patty Jenkins. And boy, that’s a completely different story altogether.
Wonder Woman had the weight of the world on its shoulders. We all know the story. Batman V Superman and Suicide Squad were destroyed by critics, the DCEU was in a large steaming pile of sh*t, yadda, yadda, yadda. Wonder Woman had to be good or it could have been the end of the DCEU. Safe to say, the DCEU is back in the game, cause forget good, Wonder Woman is GREAT. And, the MVP is most definitely Patty Jenkins.
So, let’s not waste any more time and get cracking, shall we?
Let’s start with the basics. It’s easy to relate to characters like Spider-Man. A regular nerdy teen with a bunch of friends who aren’t allowed near the cool kids’ table, who so happened to receive superpowers one day. That could happen to any of us. Even characters like Batman and Iron Man are relatable in terms of character, though I’m probably not going to be swimming with supermodels in a decoration pond, of a restaurant I just purchased, anytime soon.
But what about a God? How do you make an immortal being with next to unlimited powers, relatable? It’s easy to imagine myself getting bitten by a radioactive spider, it’s even easier to imagine myself training with a bunch of Ninjas (I studied Taekwondo for 10 years. YELLOW BELT motherfs!). But, I’m pretty sure my daddy ain’t Zeus.
But what Patty Jenkins, together with screenwriter Allan Heinberg did so well was make Diana Prince AKA Wonder Woman feel human. Wonder Woman is a God, but she isn’t perfect. This brings back memories of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, my favourite movie of 2015. While I do enjoy Daisy Ridley’s performance as Rey, there’s something about her character that just felt a little factory-made. Rey is PERFECT. She can fight, she’s a great pilot, she speaks many languages, she masters the force extremely quickly and she manages to get through every obstacle with little to no help.
While Diana too is an extremely capable, intelligent woman who’s mastered a bajillion languages, she’s still very much flawed. When she arrives at the world of men, she’s a fish out of water. So much so that she couldn’t even get through a revolving door on her first attempt. She doesn’t understand why some people hold hands, while others don’t. She doesn’t understand why she can’t just undress in a public space. To be fair, I don’t understand that either. Why isn’t freaking Gal Gadot allowed to strip naked in public? Who makes these rules? Heck, she even disrespects a high-ranking army general – not that he deserves respect.
They say when in Rome, do as the Romans do. Diana doesn’t get that. But she’s learning, every step of the way, like we would if we were in a foreign land. She isn’t perfect. And that makes her human. That makes her relatable.
The tone is perfect.
When I talk about tone, I always bring up Avengers: Age of Ultron, one of my least favourite comic book movies post-Batman Begins. Boy did Joss Whedon f**k up the tone big time. While the first Avengers and Avengers 2.5 AKA Captain America: Civil War has humour in it, when it was time to get serious, they got serious. In Avengers: Age of Ultron, everyone is a comedian, all the time. Every single scene has forceful jokes and awful one-liners to the point where the movie is completely void of drama or emotion. Perhaps I’ll do an Age of Ultron analysis one day. God, it’s a great case study.
Wonder Woman often had me cracking up, yet I also found myself tearing up on a number of different occasions. It’s all about balance. Neither Diana (Gal Gadot) nor Steve (Chris Pine) are particularly funny characters, in the sense that they hardly tell any jokes. Yet, some of the funniest moments in the film happen when both of them are interacting. For the most part, the comedic moments revolve around Diana’s naivety. Diana sees Steve stark naked. She looks at his body, including his (out of frame) penis, curiously. She’s never seen a man before, what more a naked man. She asks him if he resembles the general male population. He takes a second – still uncomfortable that a woman he hardly knows is seeing him in the buff – and says, “I’m above average.” In another scene, Steve tells Diana, “Welcome to London,” to which Diana replies, “It’s hideous.”
It is moments like these that causes the audience to burst out laughing. Humour that happens naturally because of the situations the characters find themselves in. Not jokes for the sake of being lighthearted.
Where them booty shots?
In 1975, feminist film critic Laura Mulvey coined the term male gaze. The male gaze theory discusses the way in which visual arts and literature portray women from a male point of view, more often than not presenting women as objects of male pleasure.
Another term for the male gaze theory is the “Michael Bay wet dream equation.” Refer below.
BOUNCY BOOBIES + SLOW MO = KERCHING $$$
You can tell whether a movie is directed by a man or woman, just by the way the camera lingers on a woman. And Michael Bay is perhaps the biggest offender. I remember when Transformers came out in 2007. I was 14 years old and had just watched Transformers on its opening weekend. All my friends did too. When we arrived at school on Monday, all we could do was talk about the movie. But no, we didn’t talk much about robots beating the crap out of each other. To many of us, the highlight of the movie is THE scene. C’mon, you know what I’m talking about. You were a horny 14-year-old boy too.
Just look at that. Butt sticking out. Body curved in an unnatural manner. And, the camera also captures Megan Fox’s almost-cleavage as if to say, “Sit tight boys. You’re about to go through puberty.”
But hey, one iconic Megan Fox image isn’t enough. In the second, this-franchise-has-no-hope, movie titled, Transformers: It’s Better If You Skip It, we get this amazing shot.
But let’s not just point fingers at Michael Bay. Even in movies like Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises, the camera lingers on Catwoman’s (Anne Hathaway) ass. The same can be said about Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Wonder Woman had none of that. Sure, people – myself included – still left the cinemas saying, “Holy sh*t! Wonder Woman is bloody hot!” But that’s because she’s beautiful and badass, not because the movie sexualized her. In fact, it’s literally impossible to point out a single scene in which the camera focuses or lingers on her booty or boobies.
Take this scene for example.
Had in been directed by a male (most, not all), you can bet the camera would have lingered on Wonder Woman’s ass.
This scene on the other hand. Would have been the perfect opportunity for the camera to focus on her ample cleavage. But Patty Jenkins didn’t.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying women shouldn’t wear push up bras, booty shorts, and low-cut dresses. Women can wear whatever they like. But, the camera shouldn’t be focused on that, what more in slow mo, for two hours. Just from the camerawork alone, Wonder Woman is an accomplishment in terms of feminism.
Speaking of feminism, let’s talk about:
That’s right. What’s a Dashran “Dedpewl” Yohan feature article without at least one mention of jacking-off? Did you know, that women can masturbate too?
“EW! BLASPHEMY DASH!” said every single dumbass.
For some reason, female masturbation is considered disgusting or taboo. Just like how we’re not supposed to mention “you know who,” we can’t talk about this either. But you know what? His name is VOLDERMORT and I will talk about girls touching themselves for sexual pleasure.
Fun fact: Diana talks about female masturbation in Wonder Woman.
It’s concluded that men are integral for reproduction, but unnecessary for the purposes of pleasure.
It is a popular belief among men, that women need the penis to be inserted in them to experience sexual pleasure. Guess what bruvs? They do not NEED us. Our penis isn’t that mighty. And girls, it’s not wrong for you to feel sexual desires, nor is it taboo to masturbate. Wonder Woman says so.
Note: Diana could also be referring to girl on girl action.
Wonder Woman is a feminist movie. But:
It doesn’t spit on men.
Nor does it preach. Unlike the all-female Ghostbusters, which was kinda funny, kinda enjoyable but also spent every single minute of its runtime screaming “WOMEN ROCK! MEN ARE USELESS,” Patty Jenkins executes the message with subtlety and class.
The best scene in the movie comes somewhere in the second act. The war on No Man’s Land is a powerful scene. What comes before, is even more powerful. In a film, what you don’t show can be just as important as what you do show. Diana, Steve Trevor and their rag-tag gang are heading to the front lines of World War 1 when Diana bumps into a mother and child begging for help to save their village, which is conquered by German soldiers. Wonder Woman decides that it’s worth going into No Man’s Land to save the small European village. The path was laid. With Steve Trevor repeatedly saying, “This is No Man’s Land! No man can go into it. There are German soldiers with machine guns waiting on the other side,” it was the perfect opportunity for Diana to utter the cringeworthy line, “But, I am not a MAN!”
Wait. Whaaat? She didn’t say it? Good job Allan Heinberg for not writing that line. Because it would have been a major facepalm moment.
Not once throughout its runtime does the movie make men look like lesser beings. This movie doesn’t say one gender is better than the other, but repeatedly highlights three things:
1. Men are strong and capable.
2. Women are strong and capable.
3. Both women and men should work together in symbiosis.
Number 3, is especially important. Both Diana and Steve Trevor constantly help each other. They don’t NEED each other and neither of them are SAVIOURS of the opposite gender. But they constantly help each other. Diana helps Steve and the British army destroy the German forces on No Man’s Land. Diana protects Steve in the alleyway when Doctor Poison’s henchmen were out to get him. And at the end, when Diana was about to give up, it is Steve’s speech that motivates Diana. But, when Diana chooses not to listen, Steve doesn’t just drop to the ground, give up and say, “We need you, Diana. We’re doomed without you.” Instead, he tells her he will try and stop the war, even if she chooses not to help.
Wonder Woman has etched itself in the history books. And while I don’t consider it to be in the same league as The Dark Knight Trilogy, Captain America: Civil War and Logan, it is still one of the better comic book movies ever made; definitely one of the most important. Patty Jenkins has accomplished what many people thought to be impossible: A female-led superhero movie, directed by a female, grossing over 100 Mil USD in the US box office on its opening weekend, and universally lauded by critics and fans alike. Wonder Woman is an important film. And it will be remembered for a very, very long time.