Prior to this spring, my image of Wonder Woman consisted of a woman with poufy hair wearing starry spandex, spouting cardboard dialogue, and wielding a laughable “Lasso of Truth.” This year’s movie adaptation of the comic book heroine, however, paints a different picture. Now, Diana Prince displays dignity and strength and is simultaneously a warrior and a woman. Together, all the elements of the movie combine to reflect the change of tone.
Wonder Woman’s plot focuses on Diana Prince’s Amazonian backstory, including a comic book version of the Greek myths. While DC’s retelling of Greek myths is at times a bit cheesy, the other aspects of the Amazonian world are very captivating, and as Diana enters the chaos and modernity of WWI, the scriptwriters keep the audience wondering whether Diana’s Amazonian stories have any bearing on the modern world. Particularly, viewers question Diana’s claim that Ares is the cause of the war. Although the plot can be predictable, the characters and dialogue carry the story well. American pilot Steve Trevor and the other members of Diana’s ragtag team back Diana up with skill and plenty of humor. Most importantly, Gal Gadot fills her role as Diana Prince amazingly, bringing character to a caricature. With her smiles and seriousness, Gadot transforms Diana Prince into a real person.
Diana’s reaction to her first taste of ice cream and her first encounter with a revolving door are hilariously believable thanks to Gadot’s acting, and the new character of Diana Prince brings with it freshness and vitality. Another interesting sign of the movie’s novel approach to Wonder Woman is that throughout the movie Diana Prince is known by her personal name, not by her title “Wonder Woman.”
In keeping with the movie’s plot and tone, the costumes and music blend with the times and cultures the movie represents. When fighting, Diana dons Greek-style armor, not tights, and the outfits she wears while “fitting in” with London and German society are pretty much historically accurate (although no woman would be able to wear a sword down the back of her dress without anyone noticing). Both the costumes and music capture elements of the ancient Greek and WWI eras, and I especially like the theme song’s Eastern air. Composer Rupert Gregson-Williams expertly crafts a score that complements and represents the film’s titular character. Like Diana Prince, the music is an exotic blend of cultures and is impressive, beautiful, and inspiring with its swelling themes and incorporation of brass, strings, choir, and percussion.
More surprising than the production quality, acting, or story, though, are the themes that the movie incorporates. Diana Prince has an attachment to truth that goes beyond her golden lasso, and she demonstrates this in her blunt honesty, questions, and actions. Throughout the movie, she is searching for truth and the difference between right and wrong. When she faces the enemy, she refuses to believe his twisted representations of the truth. Yet, she is willing to change her beliefs when she discovers she is wrong. From the opening to the closing lines, Diana reveals her struggle with the truth that humans don’t deserve to be rescued, for they have created their own problems and wickedness. Mankind is not basically good, and no matter what enemies she defeats, she will never be able to change that. Men don’t deserve to be saved—a truth that Diana reluctantly admits. This truth is evident, even in the banter of three of the main character soldiers, who joke, “May we get what we want…and may we get what we need…But may we never get what we deserve” (“Quotes”). Diana doesn’t end there, though, for she realizes another, greater truth: love is the reason to fight to save mankind.
Surprisingly, though imperfectly, Wonder Woman points to realities about love, mercy, truth, and man’s condition which I would never have expected to find in a pagan superhero movie. While Wonder Woman lacks the ultimate answer to man’s problems, I think its discussion of these themes is valuable. If more people understood what Diana learns in this fictional story, history and the world would be drastically different, for all too often, people assume that mankind is essentially good and blame every problem on the government, greedy businesses, or a few particularly evil people.
Wonder Woman’s themes create a thoughtful movie that impacts viewers with more than just jokes or exciting action scenes. In the midst of recent antihero movies, Wonder Woman stands out with its heroine and themes. Diana Prince has honesty and heart. In her actions, she uses her principles as much as her weapons, and throughout the story she emanates a dignity, strength, and compassion which give her title “Wonder Woman” a whole new meaning.
“Wonder Woman (2017) Quotes.” IMDb.com. 2017. Internet Movie Database. 30 Aug. 2017, imdb.com/title/tt0451279/trivia?tab=qt&ref_=tt_trv_qu.