Wonder Woman starts in a land called Themyscira that sounds like paradise to so many women. A paradise that includes waterfalls and beautiful landscapes of all the shades of green you could want. It is also a utopia of kind, supportive, tough, determined women looking out for each other. Training in case men show up again to try and take their lives away.
We see that the future Diana Prince is young, and watches as the leader of their fighters Antiope, played by the fierce Robin Wright, is training the rest of the warriors for the seemingly inevitable fight against whoever shall try to penetrate their shielded heaven on earth. She wants to fight, but is held back out of love from her mother. Eventually, after sneaking some training in with Antiope, her mother agrees to let her train. Only on the condition she is trained upwards of ten times harder than anyone else. Classic coach’s kid, or in this case leader of an entire race of people’s, move.
Swiftly we move to Diana as an adult played by the charismatic Gal Gadot. Now, she is the most skilled fighter on the islands. When a pilot named Steve Trevor, the winner of the Chris Wars Mr. Chris Pine, gets introduced, she is befuddled by his appearance but immediately helps him. She hears of the trouble the world faces, it’s World War I, and wastes no time trying to convince others to go fight. “It must be Ares,” she says. She still has that wide-eyed fight her mentors have dimmed just slightly over the years of dealing with forces beyond their control. Diana is not jaded at all.
She travels to London, and some fun hijinks are had there. She sees the hoops Steve has to jump through just to get to a point where he must lie to do some good. She doesn’t understand this. Lying is wrong, but in this case it gets the right thing done. It’s her first world lesson in gray area. They meet up with some of Pine’s old partners and they are off to help stop some bad movie villains from killing lots of people with gas.
When they are in the trenches with soldiers a woman who was driven from her home by the fighting explains to the infinitely lingual Amazon Princess that their home is being destroyed and held by German soldiers. Diana wastes no time and fights through No Man’s Land. She enjoys it. She is doing good with a smile on her face. Such a nice reprieve from the brooding that is done in the many films of reluctant heroes. Here she is helping with pride. There are many other plot points, but the real points stick out to me. She realizes over time that there is more to her than anyone has ever said. She is the ultimate good, but sees that there isn’t such a thing. There isn’t a right and wrong in every scenario. She is ignorant to the complications of humanity but never stops learning. She learns that there isn’t deserving, but only love and belief. She fights for those things. She is a female in the world, and over time might become aware of the trappings of our society, but is never cynical. She fights on. Diana Prince can be a surrogate or at least an inspiration for all women and little girls who went out to help make the first female directed superhero film over 100 million dollars at the box office.
One of the worst things on the internet recently was the group of men online who were upset that the superb theater in Brooklyn the Alamo Drafthouse was hosting a women’s only screening of the movie. It is a vacuous complaint, and not worth even bringing up except to say the Alamo Drafthouse handled them well with their responses. But it does make the movie even more important in that context than it already was. The movie itself is about a woman that doesn’t know her own potential. She enters a world dominated by men only to find they have supremely screwed things up. She is smart, strong, reasonable, and good without making any compromises.
She still holds on to a belief that the stories her mother told her are true. The god of war Ares is behind this fighting. He has put anger and hate into the men’s minds. If she stops him the war will stop. Men will wake up and see what horrible things have been done and right their wrongs. She seems naïve to the world, and that she doesn’t understand the complications of this very serious conflict. But if you strip away the myth and hear what she is saying you find some very relevant thoughts on our circumstance today. These men don’t want to do this. They are acting in fear, anger, and support or duty to their superiors who have been driven by false narratives to want to harm their fellow human for personal gain.
Diana Prince wouldn't be on Twitter. She is intelligent, but not informed on the games these people are playing. She only sees things as they should be, and is confused how they have gotten this far off track. She can be a representation in the fight against so many problems that Hollywood, America, and the world has when it comes to oppression and the inherent sexism women face daily. She is better than us and we don't have her to save us in the real world, but she can be a reminder. A constant reminder to be decent. To not lose sight of that decency when it seems easier to drop at the sign of trouble, or when you are afraid of what's to come. A reminder to stay vigilant in your quest to be a force for good in every area of your life. She is what we mean by being our best self. Don't succumb to the tide of fear, and even when it's at your chin remember that you can still breathe.
Major McKeithen studies acting and improv at The Second City in Chicago. For years, he has been secretly advocating for an all male screening of The Odd Life of Timothy Green. Alas it hasn’t happened yet. You can follow him on twitter.