Rubin Safaya, editor and principal critic of Cinemalogue may have been both happy and harsh when he said, “It only took two women to right a ship that dozens of male DC executives, writers and directors have tried their damnedest to sink.”
But what can you do, right? “Man of Steel,” “Batman vs. Superman” and “Suicide Squad” tried to be dark, serious or edgy, their heroes brooding, bickering or getting “emo.” From the first time we saw Wonder Woman though, she was simply the kind of hero that wanted to get the job done.
In contrast to the last three DC films, Patty Jenkin’s “Wonder Woman” is not afraid to go old school and throw in what many people have always wanted, looked for and need in a superhero film—that aspect of brightness, optimism and hope. It’s no secret Patty Jenkins did get some inspiration from the classic 1978 “Superman” film starring Christopher Reeve and directed by Richard Donner.
Wonder Woman is truly the hero for our times precisely for that tone of hopefulness her character has brought. For women around the planet who have had to live with a current climate of misogyny, this film is inspirational and empowering. Grrrl Gang Manila actually had a sponsored screening to raise funds. Some women on my social media feed have mentioned leaving the theaters feeling strong and beautiful.
Seeing Diana, Antiope, Hippolyta and all the fierce, beautiful, brave women all living and training together on their own secret island reminds women this sense of bonding and community and shared support is always a possibility.
My young friend Justine Narciso says, “My only wish after seeing Wonder Woman in theaters is to forget I ever saw it, so that I can watch it again, and again, and again, and feel all the things I am feeling right now again, and again, and again.”
Besides the story and wonderful direction, a huge part of the film’s success is because Gal Gadot is such a fitting successor to Lynda Carter whom the world loved as Wonder Woman in the 1970s. As my good friend Gerard Sison—a Superman/Steve Trevor cosplayer—puts it: “There’ve been several Supermen and Batmen but for nearly 40 years, only one Wonder Woman. Until they find someone who, like Lynda Carter, has beauty, loveliness, height, innocence, sexiness, acting ability, humor, grace, charm, and the X-Factor, there can never be a “Justice League” movie. It has come to pass!”
There have likewise been comparisons between Wonder Woman and “Captain America: The First Avenger.” While another friend Jason Inocencio believes she’s incomparable, I do see similarities that go beyond both characters having shields and being wartime heroes—beyond both their films being preludes to the ensemble. They both have had “fish out of water” moments: Diana seeing life outside Themyscira and Steve Rogers experiencing how present day life is different from the 1940s. They also both have this earnestness and “innocence” about them, and how much it is in their DNA to just help others.
On that note, I know it’s too late to change the script but from the first time I saw her, I felt she should be the boss of The Justice League. Seriously.