Why I Wanted To Love Wonder Woman
I didn’t know it, but I’ve waited all of my adult life to see Wonder Woman on the big screen. I’ve spent the greater part of 30 years missing out on an experience that my seven-year-old sons have already had.
At the age of 40, I was finally going to witness the unveiling of bravery and heroism of My superhero on the big screen. My Wonder Woman. My Diana. The woman I dressed like and emulated every Saturday afternoon in my parents living room while donning Wonder Woman Underoos, my mother’s go-go boots, and handmade cuffs, a tiara, and a lasso.
I didn’t realize what I was missing until it was nipping at my heels. But when I saw the first trailer for Wonder Woman last fall, something happened. The little girl who wanted to be brave, and strong, and the ultimate enforcer of justice, came alive as I watched amazing women kick butt right there on the big screen.
And since I spent much of my youth as a fellow Amazon, kicking bad guy butt along with Diana, her on the television and myself side-kicking it from the sofa, I felt pretty qualified to review the movie.
I liked the movie. But I wanted to love it. I wanted to love Diana and Wonder Woman, and all of the Amazons. I started out hopeful and reminded myself that the movie was just beginning when the first few lines came out stiff and lacking. I tried to be amazed by the fact that Gal Gadot was five months pregnant during filming, but found myself wondering if she was healthy, eating enough, and what it must have been like to have that kind of pressure. (Only to find out today that she hid it for as long as she could.)
The overall storyline was good. But the relationship with Steve was predictable. I understand that Diana had never seen a man, but the penis scene? The cheesy one-liners referring to his “above average-ness?” I found it unnecessary and out of line for a character from that era with his level of courage and decency. Is it impossible to draw and please a broad audience without sophomoric jokes and gender stereotypes?
But let’s move on to the more irksome moment of the movie and talk about the inferred romantic encounter. I mean I’m sure that I’d like nothing more than to get naked with a guy I barely knew after I had to wage war and kill countless people to save some helpless village that was going to get gassed by some crazed madman. I’m also sure that I’d have absolutely no sweat, soil, or scent after running through fields in a half metal armored leotard, and that if I did, there would be working plumbing and water for a proper bath available. So I related. Really, I did.
But let’s go with this here and say for a moment that I resented the stupidity of such an encounter. And since we are at it, let’s say I also resented the fact that this quick and shallow love affair became the pinnacle of character breakthrough for Wonder Woman. I might have to ask if these writers learned nothing at all from the wild success of Disney’s Frozen. Hello? Love was the answer. But love comes in a lot of forms. Some a little more robust than a quick fling with the first man you meet. She could defeat the God of War but could not withstand the wingaling of the first man she saw naked? I mean come on!
But I digress. Overall, Gal was fantastic. I liked the story, the action, and most of the content. I could have used less of the doe-eyed emotional moments, a little more complexity in character development, and greater exploration of the relationship with her mother, but I do realize this is a DC superhero flick, and the last Ironman was painfully lacking, so I’ll adjust.
When it comes down to it, I’m just happy that Wonder Woman made it onto the big screen. I’ve waited thirty years, so I suppose I can patiently await better character development, less gender stereotyping, and more complexity. I look forward to more female superhero leads and most importantly, more stories for Wonder Woman. And you can bet I will be there to watch them, Wonder Woman Underoos and all.