Jyger’s Rant – Wonder Woman (2017 Film) (WARNING – SPOILERS)
Well, I went to see Wonder Woman yesterday as part of my birthday present. And honestly, I can say it’s one of the best experiences in the theater I’ve had in quite some time, and is easily the best DC movie I’ve seen since The Dark Knight. In fact, I was on the fence as to whether I wanted to admit this publicly or not, but…
…Yeah, I like this film better than The Dark Knight. I know that might cause disbelief in some, but I can’t help it, it’s how I feel. As such, this is gonna be a little different. I was gonna put the word “review” in the title, but honestly, there’s not a lot I’m going to be reviewing with this, especially since I want people to go see it themselves. Actually, there’re just a few points I wanna make about it, including one that’s not even really an issue with the movie…but I’ll get to that later.
So, first things first: Goddammit, does Gal Gadot nail this character. Diana in this movie is beautiful, smart, strong, and sexy. She is compassionate to a fault, yet a powerful and deadly warrior to all who cross her and leave her no other options but to fight. And to anyone confused about that, allow me to explain: Wonder Woman technically does not have a no-kill rule as Superman and Batman are SUPPOSED to. However, her willingness to kill is born out of her compassion. It’s a matter of “This person is leaving me no other choice but to do nothing, and innocents will die if I choose to do so, so if I have to take on the burden of killing someone to protect the innocent, then so be it”. And in all-out war, it’s a little easier to understand that mindset. She’s naive about how the world off her island works, but that’s understandable for obvious reasons, and in the end, she learns to accept and love humanity for both the good and the bad.
I’m still a little sour about the fact that, just like in the New 52, it turns out Diana being sculpted from clay is a lie and that she’s actually the daughter of Zeus. However, here’s the thing you need to understand about that: The lie actually makes a bit more sense here, both in why it was told and how it was revealed. Honestly, my problem was never really with Wonder Woman being a demigoddess. My problem was with the hows and whys of that change, as well as what it did to her as a character, and how it made her supporting cast look in retrospect. Here, though, it doesn’t really change much of who Wonder Woman is, and the lie is only perpetrated by Hippolyta to protect her. So it works better than it did in the comics. Would I have preferred her original origins be kept intact? Yes, but again, it still works as is, so I can’t be TOO sour about it.
One thing I actually wasn’t so bothered by, but have kind of become a little bothered by, is the race change to Doctor Poison. If you don’t know, Doctor Poison in the comics is Japanese. In fact, she was a princess in disguise, and was a character with her own agency. Here, she’s played by a Spanish woman, and it’s revealed that at least one or two of her breakthroughs in chemistry were inspired by Ares. So, yeah, that’s a problem. However, on the flip side…Look, I’m just gonna admit this: I barely knew who she was going into this movie. And that’s mainly because a lot of Wonder Woman’s rogues gallery usually get pushed aside for Cheetah, Ares, and Circe, with the occasional Veronica Cale and Giganta. I’ve heard she’s actually appeared in Wonder Woman’s new solo title, but I’m still reading through that. So one reason it actually doesn’t bother me as much as it probably should that they changed Doctor Poison so much is because now, with her appearance in this movie, I’m inspired to do my research and find out more about her. Still, it probably would’ve been better to just do the character more correctly in the first place.
I’ve pointed out to my friends in the past that I wasn’t sure if I really considered Wonder Woman’s theme in Batman v Superman to be the most fitting for the character, but I still liked it. The reason I liked it, primarily in BvS, was because it was the only freaking song in that entire Goddamn movie that got me amped for ANYTHING going on in it. But, again, wasn’t sure how well it fit the character. Hearing it again, along with some of the remixes present in this movie… … …Yeah. Yeah, I just have to accept the fact that this is this Wonder Woman’s theme song, and that I really do love this song. lol
And I suppose I should bring up a bit of an elephant in the room as it pertains to this movie. Specifically, as it turns out, Erich Ludendorff is actually a real person. And, it probably won’t shock anyone to hear that he did not die in 1918 via a sword running through him on a roof. In fact, he died of liver cancer in 1937. And, he was among those who specifically suggested the armistice in the first place. So, yeah, the movie obviously takes more than a couple of liberties with history.
But yeah, you might have noticed that all the downsides I’ve mentioned about this movie are all pretty much nitpicks. That’s because there’s really nothing about this movie that ruins it in any way, shape, or form. Really, the biggest issue I have isn’t even with the movie, but rather the studio. And if you’ve looked on comic book news sites, you probably already know this, but if you don’t, let me just explain this right now: There is a scene where Wonder Woman is going through the trenches with Steve Trevor and his team at No Man’s Land, and the whole way there, Diana is seeing the suffering the war is causing. Men, women, children, animals, all are harmed in some way, shape, or form by this war, and all the while she’s told there’s nothing she can do about it, that No Man’s Land can’t be crossed. So what does she do? She strips out of the clothes Steve got her down to her armor, and just WALKS across No Man’s Land, deflecting bullets, until she gets into a run and finally hunkers down behind her shield as the Germans start laying down fire from their multiple machine guns. This is so much gunfire that it’s left even her immobile…but that’s the point. By taking their fire upon herself, it gives Steve and the other soldiers a chance to charge the grounds and take down the Germans keeping them at bay.
So why am I bringing this scene up in such detail above all others? Well, for two reasons. One, it’s the most memorable and important scene in the movie to many who saw it, and I’ll explain why in a sec. The second is because, according to Patty Jenkins, that sequence of events almost didn’t make it into the film’s theatrical release. In her own words, “I think that in superhero movies, they fight other people, they fight villains. So when I started to really hunker in on the significance of No Man’s Land, there were a couple people who were deeply confused, wondering, like, ‘Well, what is she going to do? How many bullets can she fight?’ And I kept saying, ‘It’s not about that. This is a different scene than that. This is a scene about her becoming Wonder Woman.’”…If I may be allowed to go off on a tangent here…WHAT. THE. HELL, WB?! She had to CONVINCE the studio it needed to be in. Why didn’t they understand from the beginning how important this was? This is why I think they’ve failed with these movies up until this point, and why this scene is so important: Not only is it a scene showing Wonder Woman doing what needs to be done for her to accomplish her goals, but that one act completely turns the tide, and so Wonder Woman’s actions inspire others to do what they must. THAT is the point of DC superheroes, Superman especially: To inspire. To show the world how to save themselves. Ultimately, it comes down to something a vampire once said:
THAT’S what DC superheroes are supposed to be! Hell, it’s not even just superheroes. Even Poison Ivy, someone who is really more of an anti-hero and, even at her best, cares very little for humanity, does what she can to stop people from destroying the world, and will protect the people she DOES care for to the death. Wonder Woman is in this movie is someone who is out to save humanity, and in the end does so regardless of how bad we can be, because of how good we can be. Her actions inspire us to be better. THAT’S what Superman was once upon a time in movies. Even Batman, as tortured and clearly human as he was, could be seen as an inspiration for how a man can take that torment and darkness and turn it into something positive for humanity. Granted, it also helps a lot that he’s filthy stinking rich, but you can still see the building blocks there for how a person can take the worst of themselves and do something good with it. And I hope to God that this is the direction they take from now on, and that they don’t try to ignore the critical success that this movie has made. Hell, I’m pretty sure they’ve already learned their lesson, since despite resisting that scene, they’ve put snippets of it in every trailer I’ve seen for the movie thus far. And if they have, MAJOR kudos to them. You were late to the party, but at least you made it. And, with any luck, Justice League will be all of what made this movie great and MORE.
Oh, and lastly, I wanted to make something clear. I know I’ve given Zack Snyder a lot of hell for these movies. But, let us not forget that he was a producer on THIS film as well. He deserves credit for it, the same as his wife Deborah who was also a producer for it, the same as Patty Jenkins for directing, the same as Gal Gadot for physically bringing the character to life, the same as Chris Pine for Steve Trevor, Lucy Davis for Etta Candy, and everyone else in this movie for their performances (seriously, I can’t think of one bad performance in this movie), and the same as Geoff Johns and everyone else who worked on this movie. And, on a more personal note, I just wanted to give my most sincere condolences to Zack and Deborah for the loss of their daughter. No matter what anyone has to say about them for how they perform at their jobs, we can all agree that no parent should ever have to go through what these two have. And that’s all I have to say on the subject.
Bottom line, Wonder Woman is a great film, and if you haven’t seen it, for the love of God, it’s well worth the price of admission to go see it in theaters. And if you HAVE seen the film, let me know what you thought of it in the comments below. Play us out, 331Erock.