We now have our fourth movie in the DC Extended Universe, and it is one we as comic book fans have been waiting for for a long time. Wonder Woman has hit theaters, and fans of the character, especially those who have spent time with her book in the last 10 years, should find quite a bit to be happy about.
I first introduced myself to the character of Wonder Woman during Greg Rucka’s first run (yes, I know, I’m late to the game) and instantly fell in love with the mythology. I followed that run through Flashpoint, and into Brian Azzarello’s brilliant run in the first half of New 52, and I think that the book maintained quality throughout all 52 issues of that era. Since then, as I continue to dig deeper into the character’s history, Wonder Woman has climbed to near the top of my favorite comic book characters list.
Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman film feels perfectly in sync with the Wonder Woman mythos presented in the pages of DC Comics (detail nitpicks aside, of course). Themyscira exists at the intersection of the DC universe and Greek mythology and with that background in tact, Wonder Woman sees the DC brand continue its move away from the “how would this work in reality?” trope and embrace the crazy and fantastic that exists in the four-colored pages.
Wonder Woman presents us with one of the most morally courageous heroes in comics and brings her to the big screen. Discovering the horrors of the first World War, Gal Gadot’s character is faced with an impossible task: the world is violent, evil, and is marred with jagged edges and pain, and she sees it as her sacred duty to stop this. Steve Trevor, played perfectly by Chris Pine, is also facing this task; however, instead of seeing it as a duty, he sees the ending of the war as the last option available to him.
I have no context or skill to talk about this movie in terms of where it fits in a quality ranking of superhero movies or how Patty Jenkins successfully recreated emotions not felt since Christopher Reeve made us believe a man could fly. All I really want to write about is how this movie made me feel. I still remember quite clearly when I discovered the jagged edges in the world, and I often find myself feeling the way Diana did in the majority of this film—let’s find the evil and get rid of it. But most often, I feel like Steve Trevor. I may not ever have the ability or the power to end all the pain and suffering in the world, but doing nothing isn’t working anymore. Doing something to save others, to take them away from the pain and hurting that is coming their way, even if we can’t save everyone, is the definition of heroic for me.
I know it doesn’t fit the narratives that we want to spread around this movie, but I think that this film is about Diana learning about what being a hero is all about, and she learns it from Steve and with Steve, who is also learning the same thing from her. That, beyond making for a superhero film that is emotionally satisfying, is a great lesson that we need in these times. We can’t learn to be better people and to better care for the people around us if we aren’t learning from each other and can’t rely on one another. To me, that’s where Wonder Woman shines and the lesson that I take away from it.
So, I’m not going to bother telling you whether I liked this as much as Man of Steel, because, who cares, really? But if you’re looking for a Wonder Woman movie that makes you think and feel the things that Wonder Woman should make you think and feel about, while maintaining the fantastic and the mythos that she is known for, I could not recommend this film more wholeheartedly. And if you’re as inspired by the movie as I am, let’s all commit to stop doing nothing in the face of the pain and jagged edges. Let’s all do something.