Filling the Well

Wonder Woman

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Yeah, that was just fine. I don’t think it was the best superhero movie ever the way some folks are saying, but it was good. I had some quibbles but nothing deal-breaking. I probably need to see it again without the weight of “OMG please don’t suck” hanging over it.

I’m writing a long review for Lightspeed, and will have a lot more to say there. For now, the biggest thing for me is how the movie proves what I’ve been talking about for years:  Women superheroes need to be designed as heroes, not pinups. When the primary design specification is “sexy” (for typical straight male definitions of sexy), she’s not going to be believable as ass-kickingly powerful.

Wonder Woman gets that.  The film could have easily decided that “well, the Amazons are immortal and magical so we can make them all supersexy model-pretty and young and that’ll be okay.” Except that amazing battle on the beach would have been completely unbelievable, the Amazons would not have been as astonishing as they are, and the whole idea would have fallen flat. As it is, the Amazons — including Diana — are so, so strong. There’s been a lot of press about how they’re portrayed by athletes and martial artists, they trained for months — and it really comes across. Moreover, they’re not young. You look at these women, and they have experience and wisdom, they’re comfortable in their skins. They haven’t just been training and fighting, they’ve been doing it for years.

On this foundation, the authenticity of the entire film is built.  I’ve been saying this for years. Women heroes, first and foremost, needed to be heroes. And this is one of the reasons why Wonder Woman succeeds.

 

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