One little word, but it really sums up how I feel about the new Wonder Woman movie, starring Gal Godot and Chris Pine and masterfully fucking directed by Patty Jenkins. Wow.
I’m bad at watching movies, both in the theater and at home. I see the new Star Wars movies when they come out, and occasionally I’ll agree to watch one at home with Chris, because movies are her favorite, but that’s about it. Nevertheless, I saw this one twice this weekend. And it gave me all of the feelings.
The first time I saw it — a Friday-morning 3D showing, because that’s the only way I’d make it to work on time — I stopped counting how many times I cried after six. I was a little more restrained the second time (meaning I wasn’t sobbing at the opening logo), but it still affected me. I have a lot to say about the movie as a whole, about how it made me feel, and about how this movie was needed right now, but I’m going to try to keep this brief and just talk about a couple of things that really, really hit me.
Here be spoilers. Seriously, stop reading if you don’t want to know. You can pick up again at the next italicized sentences.
I have been a huge soap opera nerd for almost all of my 40 years on this earth, and when I saw that Robin Wright was in this flick, all I could think was, “Kelly Capwell as an Amazon? Yes, please.” And holy shit, guys. Holy shit. She was amazing. Battle-scarred and badass, Antiope fought those motherfucking Germans like it was her job, which I guess it probably was. She made her niece, Diana, feel loved. She taught her how to fight, against her sister the queen’s wishes (I bet that made Winter Solstice on Themyscira pretty awkward). She vaulted up on a fucking shield (with the help of some friends) and shot three of those bastards dead with three arrows at once.
And her death scene was where I really, really lost it. I can watch an entire movie, or even an entire TV series, and not be connected to a character even if I like them. Or I can watch 20 minutes of a movie and sob when an Amazon warrior gets felled protecting her future. She was so powerful. So important. So real. And I sobbed.
Diana, using everything she learned from her people, rises up and fulfills her destiny in what was the most moving scene of the film for me. After being told by Steve that she just can’t help everyone and that no man can cross the battlefield standing between her and the Germans, she pauses, puts on her aunt’s fighting crown, rises up, and crosses the battlefield that no man could cross, but this lady definitely can.
In that moment, she is all of us. Bullets and bombs and the metaphorical fires of hell raining down on her, she dodges and blocks and shields herself, finally reaching the other side. She smashes
the patriarchy the machine gun, beats up some Germans, and then takes out a sniper, using all of her fighting skills that she learned on Paradise Island. And then, of course, dozens of men follow behind her, crossing with relative ease after she did all of the hard work…and then they probably took all of the credit for it, too.
This moment filled me with such happiness, such excitement, such “fuck, yeah!” that it’s hard for me to even describe it. That’s me every day, it seems, slogging through work and life everything else, with other people trying to take credit for my hard work and navigating a world that feels like it wants to destroy me. But this scene made me want to rise up, to stand tall against all of my problems, to fight the patriarchy, and to come out victorious on the other side.
Because even if it feels like the whole world is against us, it isn’t. Even though it may feel like an entire army is shooting at us, we still have our people — the ones who stand with us (or follow slightly behind, because we are a superhero) and take shots at our enemies. So we fight, because who would we be if we didn’t?
And one of the best things I think this movie does is how it treats its star. It has an absolutely beautiful woman as the helm, and yet, it doesn’t feel like the movie relies on her beauty and looks, but rather her heart and her sword. Diana Prince/Wonder Woman is not a beautiful woman who is also a superhero. She’s a superhero who also happens to be breathtakingly gorgeous, but who cares because have you seen her fight?
Okay, it’s safe. Read on, my friends.
Moving away from the ladies for a moment, let’s talk about Chris Pine. He is everything to me that a male action star should be in a female-driven movie — great comedic timing, recognizing when to step back and let the superhero do her thing, and being just fine with playing second fiddle to the strong lady in charge. Earper friends, I don’t know if any of you felt this way, but he reminded me so much of Tim Rozon’s Doc Holliday…and not just because of the confusing feelings he was giving this very queer lady.
Wonder Woman is a great superhero movie (and a great superhero movie, not a great “female superhero” movie). Truly, truly great, with a star we can all relate to — who we all want to be, be with, or some combination of the two. She tries to save the world not for personal gain, but because it’s the right thing to do. I wonder what it’s like to have a leader like that.
It’s the movie we didn’t even know we needed, and she’s the leader that we — well, some of us — deserve. I personally hope that I won’t let her down.