Wonder Woman is critically important for female leadership roles in Hollywood, but that’s not what this post is about. Yes, it makes me furious that Wonder Woman HAD to be a blow-out success to ensure that a woman director could be handed the reins to a 150 million dollar budget in the future. Male directors get that opportunity on a Tuesday, but for a woman it’s a historic moment.
And she NAILS it. Patty Jenkins has made a terrific film that beat Iron Man, Thor and Captain America (among other male-centred movies) for opening weekend box office. All of this matters. Wonder Woman’s success is beautiful and inspiring for a lot of reasons, but it also signifies that a big shift in storytelling and leadership is not only possible but probable. That fact alone makes me stand up and cheer.
What’s remarkable about Wonder Woman, apart from the lighting, the cinematography, the costumes, the music, the performances, the stunts, the story – everything, really – is the message at the centre of it. When a woman is the lead superhero (a goddess, even), she can be kick-ass strong and brave while also being kind and vulnerable. Diana Prince cares about everyone. Not just the ones who fall under her specific mission, but every single person affected by pain, loss, hunger, war, death.
As Glennon Doyle says, “There’s no such thing as other people’s children.” This is a uniquely feminine perspective, living deep in the hearts of women everywhere, and FINALLY, Wonder Woman captures this universal compassion in her story.
It moved me to my core. I recognized it. I felt it in my bones. Since Trump’s election, when the mostly sane and moral world has gone stark-raving mad and human decency began to rot on the vine, I’ve been saying that it’s time for women to have a go with world leadership. We can’t possibly screw it up worse than the men who are in charge and have been for so, so, so long.
It’s reassuring to see a movie come along that demonstrates these ideals in action. Wonder Woman advances the notion that we are all responsible for the problems of our world. No endless cycle of blaming or the myth of redemptive violence. We are the ones we have been waiting for. Chris Pine’s character states, “You can either do nothing or you can do something. I already tried doing nothing and it doesn’t work.” It’s time to pick up our sword and go into battle.
When we come across pain, we cannot turn away, saying, “It’s not my problem.” This isn’t about fairness, as the movie states brilliantly. It’s about what you believe.
Diana believes in love. She comes to understand that the connections we form with other people are the fuel that will sustain us as we pursue justice and wisdom. Diana’s rage reaches a boiling point when she is faced with personal loss and suffering, but she continues to fight for freedom and safety for EVERYONE, not just a select few.
Wonder Woman is genius filmmaking, on many levels (one of my favourite aspects was the way she photographed the intricate action sequences, where for once you could actually see what was happening frame by frame – thank you Patty Jenkins for your attention to detail and willingness to slow it down!), but the icing on the cake is the female perspective on violence, relationships, leadership, empathy and the future of peace in our world.
Brava, Wonder Woman filmmakers. And thank you.