Wonder Woman: Strongly Feminist and Intelligent
It's been one week since Wonder Woman made it's cinematic debut, and the film has already grossed over $300 million at the box office. This is record breaking success, as this was the highest earning opening weekend for a female directed film - raking in just over $100 million in the U.S. in it's first 3 days.
The movie in and of itself was fantastic! I hate to jump on the "D.C. Comics doesn't make movies as well as Marvel" bandwagon, but this is the first D.C. movie that I FULLY enjoyed. As a male friend of mine put it, "Leave it to Wonder Woman and a female director to make a D.C. film worth watching". Indeed, director Patty Jenkins and Gal Gadot did a phenomenal job of bringing Wonder Woman to life on the big screen.
What initially struck me about this film is the way that Diana, played by Gal Gadot, is portrayed. Although she wears a bodice, and short skirt throughout the film there was almost no focus on her sexuality. No male point of view. You don't even realize what her costume looks like most of the time, because you're too focused on how much of bad-ass she is. I also loved that fact that she has muscle. Gadot, a former soldier in the Israeli Defense Forces, gained 17 pounds of muscle while preparing to play Wonder Woman. While that isn't a whole lot of bulking, it really resonates with me because I'm constantly hearing people say how women with muscle aren't attractive. This, to me, was sort of a subliminal message that strong women are beautiful too.
There was even somewhat of a positive feminist value with Dr. Poison. Although she was fighting on the side of evil - the film was able to showcase her high level of intelligence and determination to develop a monumental weapon for the military.
For those of you who haven't seen the movie yet - *SPOILER ALERT* - In the scene where Diana and Steve are leaving Themyscira to find Ares they have a short, playful/awkward banter about sex, and the roles of men and women in the mortal world. In this moment, Diana really took the lead in a conversation about human sexuality and explained that its nothing for women (or men) to be ashamed of. That was one of my favorite moments outside of the action. We don't often get to see female characters on the big screen who are able to have a strong knowledge and opinion of sex without being shamed. That was great to see, and it was such a subtle banter that it didn't overshadow the rest of the film.
That subtle messaging was present during the entirety of the movie. There were moments that showcased very obvious struggles where Diana is trying to pursue her mission in a male dominated field, but is met with push-back because of her gender. In those moments, the films director, Patty Jenkins, was able to send the message of love, peace and tolerance, without overtly trying to show us that this is a feminist film.
Now, let's talk about the action! So good!!! Who say's that women can't fight? Wonder Woman had the perfect amount of action, and it actually looked real. I love being able to see characters compete in hand to hand combat where the skill level of the actors makes it apparent that they actually trained their ass off to be able to do that.
Wonder Woman is a truly enjoyable film, and judging by the box office numbers it's something that both women and men are enjoying. While it's too soon to tell if there will be another installment of Wonder Woman, I'm hopeful that we'll see a sequel in the next couple of years.