Arts and Entertainment

A Wonder of a Feminist

“Wonder Woman” is a spectacular superhero film focusing on Diana Prince’s character and feminist mindset.

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By Taylor Choi

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s…a woman?

Indeed, “Wonder Woman” retells the origin story of Diana Prince (Gal Gadot), the princess of the Amazons, who is one of the secluded female warriors created by the Greek god Zeus. But when American pilot and spy Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) is rescued by Diana and reveals the chaos of World War I to the Amazons, Diana decides to go with him to put an end to the global conflict by detecting and killing the god of war, Ares, who she believes to be responsible for the war.

Though the premise of the movie seems to be a typical “hero beats villain in epic fighting scene and saves the day” plotline (especially similar to superhero-war film and origin story “Captain America: The First Avenger”), “Wonder Woman” distinguishes itself by focusing on exploring Diana’s character instead of constant, action-packed fighting.

From the very start of the movie, Diana is depicted as thirsty for action, wanting to train like other Amazons and defend the world. However, upon entering grim, devastated Europe, she sees the horrific casualties of World War I with her own eyes. And with villains such as General Ludendorff (Danny Huston), a bloodthirsty patriot determined to defend his country, and Dr. Maru (Elena Anaya), a brilliant yet sadistic chemist attempting to create new, devastating chemical weapons in order to win the war, Diana’s ideal views of mankind begin to falter. As she witnesses the brutality that humans are willing to subject each other to in their desire to succeed, she questions whether humanity is worth protecting.

Of course, that isn’t to say that “Wonder Woman” is completely barren of action. One scene, for instance, depicts Diana refusing to listen to Steve’s cynical mindset and crossing No Man’s Land alone, while deflecting enemy bullets and bombs. As she charges forward unyieldingly, the Allied soldiers begin to follow her lead and step out of their trench, fighting the German troops. It’s breathtaking to watch the vibrant Diana, surrounded by a landscape of grays and blues, stand up to an army of men and lead her allies to victory.

It is moments such as the iconic No Man’s Land scene that contribute to Wonder Woman’s title as a feminist icon. Throughout the film, Diana is told what she can or cannot do as a woman by countless men. However, she ignores the standard societal expectations of women that she has no place in fighting and that she should simply wear pretty dresses for men to gaze at. She continues to wear her own armor, barge into private military meetings, and triumph over soldiers because that is what will help others. Even though men may call her naive or tell her she cares too much about others, Diana’s determination and empathy make her Wonder Woman and lead her to defy them.

In fact, despite Diana and Steve’s constant bickering, their somewhat reluctant alliance eventually grows into a charming romance; Diana still remains firm in her ideals and decisions, even if Steve disapproves. One instance portraying this consists of Steve trying to stop Diana from killing Ludendorff, who worries about her hastiness, to which she responds, “What I do is not up to you.” This line truly embodies Wonder Woman’s feminism, as it shows how Diana does not need a man in order for her to be a hero—she just needs to stay true to herself.

But Diana isn’t the only one empowering other women—Patty Jenkins, the director of “Wonder Woman” and the first female director of an American studio superhero movie, has achieved many records, including “Wonder Woman” becoming the highest grossing film directed by a woman (grossing over $797 million worldwide) and the DC Extended Universe’s most critically successful film (competing against other films such as “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” and “Suicide Squad”). Meanwhile, in 2016, women comprised just seven percent of all directors of the top 250 domestic grossing films. Perhaps Jenkins’s accomplishments with “Wonder Woman” will be the start of more women obtaining opportunities in the filmmaking industry.

With the success of “Wonder Woman” and an upcoming sequel, hopefully, Diana Prince will inspire other women to be proud of their gender for a lifetime.