The Wheel and Axle

The Wonder Woman, Part 4: Stop A Bullet Cold

by on Jun.10, 2017, under Film & TV, Geeky, Queer

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Continued From:

The Wonder Woman, Part 3: Get Us Out From Under

*** SPOILERS ***

Since I’ve talked about what I wasn’t too fond of in Wonder Woman, I decided to list some of the things I truly loved. Note that I loved so many things about the movie, so this quick list is really just to sample some of my fave highlights.

1. A tasteful approach to sex and sexuality. There have been writers who’ve made Diana rather virginal, a perfect unattainable paragon of virtue. Of course, anyone who knows Wonder Woman’s history would remember that she started off with subtle and not-so-subtle bondage and S&M undertones, so some of the later depictions of her being almost “pure” (whatever that means) seem detached from her roots.

Conversely, there have been others (usually artists) who have over-sexualized her, making her the object of “the male gaze.” Now, of course, there is nothing wrong with beauty and sexuality, but for a feminist character such as Diana, respect needs come hand in hand with such. It’s particularly interesting now, in particular, that her bisexual subtext has become text (thanks, Rupert Giles); her bisexuality is canon.

So with such a wide array of representations, Patty Jenkins has chosen to openly address her sexuality without making a big deal out of it. Here in the movie is a woman who is educated about sex, thinks about it pragmatically, understands reproduction and pleasure, and does not shy away from it when faced with the opportunity. And what is even more amazing is how Patty ensured that when faced with sex, it is at a point that not only made sense, but it was with Diana’s full agency and desite. Moreover, Patty rounds out the entire romance of the pair with sufficient tenderness.

There is also an interesting subversion to the common trope of objectifying women when, instead of Diana, it is Steve who becomes sexualized and ogled at by the audience as he gets out of the healing pool stark naked. And yet, in-story, it is not quite sexual for Diana but rather a moment of curiosity for someone who has not see a man before.

Sexuality cannot be ignored in a character such as Diana, where sex and gender are key aspects to the foundation of the character. I’m glad Patty was able to bring this to character onscreen. It makes Diana a true person rather than a mere icon.

2. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. As far as character moments go, the best was the final confrontation of Diana and Isabel Maru.

In a movie full of excellent character moments – Diana and Steve dancing, Diana’s moments with Antiope and Hippolyte, the Chief casually mentioning that Steve’s “people” were responsible for the destruction of the Chief’s “people,” Etta’s little quirks, Steve’s farewell, and many more – the wordless face-off between Wonder Woman and Dr. Poison tops it all off. It was a scene that also made me tear up – Dr. Poison cowering, her eyes blank with a hint of pleading, Diana conflicted on what she should do… and then Diana chooses compassion. It hits me every single time that I watch the movie.

This is really what Wonder Woman has always been and will always be about.

3. A rather quick but effective moment that I enjoyed was after General Ludendorff threw a gas mask into the German council’s room that was filling up with Dr. Poison’s toxic gas. “The mask won’t work!” Maru reminds the general, to which he replies, “But they don’t know that.” Then they share a gleeful, evil laugh before leaving. It was not only a disturbingly funny moment, but it showed just how evil these two were in their enjoyment of not just murdering a roomful of leaders but also of the Lord-of-the-Fliesesque situation they sowed while doing it.

4. I truly loved seeing the Amazons finally in live action – and depicted in such a badass manner! They are some of the best supporting characters in comics, and to finally see them in all their glory – and rendered correctly – is just a geeky dream come true.

The stunts, the fight scenes, the graceful yet fierce manner they went into battle: it was just awesome. The first time I watched Antiope ride into battle with the cavalry, I almost cheered and clapped. I actually might have. Then you see her and the other Amazons do these fantastic leaps and turns and kicks, making short work of an invading German contingent.

What’s awesome is how all these actresses came together and trained hard to have such authentic depictions. They seemed to truly be having a good time enjoying their sisterhood, as social media posts and related articles indicate.

It’s also a plus that they all had names taken mostly from the Perez run – even if they weren’t used onscreen, giving them names (as seen in the credits) made it all so much personal and real, if that makes sense. I cannot wait for them to make an appearance on Justice League, where the trailer has revealed their involvement in the events of that film – and it looks positively epic.

5. I’ve also said this before, but I cannot stress enough how well the character’s feminist dimension was handled.

It was there without being “shouted from the rooftops.” From start to finish, we see Diana move through the film with agency and as her own woman and as a person. She makes her decisions – whether right or wrong, it doesn’t matter. It is about her choices and her decisions. When she’s right, it’s great. When she’s not right, she learns from it and grows.

Despite going to a world that dismisses her, she still saves women and men and children.

Heck, she stops a bullet cold meant for Steve. Bullets, actually. Plural.

Almost everywhere in Man’s World, she is being told “no” or her presence questioned because she is a woman, but she forges on and does what she believes is right. This comes to a head in the No Man’s Land sequence, one of the most powerful sequences in any superhero movie. Or perhaps even any movie, for it is rife with emotion and symbolism and power and, most importantly, empowerment.

Imagine this. A woman who, since arriving in this strange world, has been told that she cannot be in a room full of male politicians. A woman who has been told what to wear because what she had on was too provocative. A woman who was routinely dismissed despite knowing multiple languages and more qualified than the men around her.

And finally, when she is told that she couldn’t save all lives and that she couldn’t cross a wartorn battlefield, she stands her ground and marches determinedly alone to go and rescue the people on the other side. And more importantly, her bravery inspires and empowers many others to finally move and take action, running into the field to join her in her fight for justice.

No Man’s Land? Not for Wonder Woman.

I’ve seen a couple of articles saying the movie isn’t feminist enough, including a review that actually wanted Wonder Woman to be more misandric and that the character was being “mansplained to” when this couldn’t be further from the truth. It seems that these folks think there is nothing feminist about the film.

To these folks, I give them Connie Nielsen in this clip.

“She walks into this room full of men and doesn’t even realize she’s not supposed to be in there. She comes from a culture that assumes she has every right to be there. THAT’S feminism.” – Connie Nielsen

You wouldn’t want to piss of the Queen of the Amazons, would you?

So… what are your favorite Wonder Woman moments?

Continued In:

The Wonder Woman, Epilogue: Change Their Minds And Change The World

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