2017-05-31

Wonder Woman

by Justin Johnson

DC movies have a big one up over marvel movies in a key area, they have a depth of  story that really engages the audience at their core.  I’m going to be honest, I’ve never been a big DC comic fan so I’m not the best to comment on comic history, but friends tell me that’s true of the comics as well.  Strong architypes, major moral battles, and stories borrowed from the metastory of our lives found in the bible.  This sets the stage for the adventure in Wonder Woman.  The setup for Wonder Woman’s history is awesome, Bruce Wayne has tracked down the original of her WWI picture and asks “when will I hear your story”?  Flashback to a young Diana learning to defend Themyscira, the mythical island given by Zeus to hide the amazonians.  Diana’s backstory is hidden from her by her mother though anyone familiar with the comics knows what is to come.  So the movie itself is an exploration of self-discovery for Diana.  Who she is, why she exists, and what is her ultimate purpose.  These moments of discovery allow the audience to come along side Diana and explore the war with new eyes.  How does major military strategy overlook the suffering of the innocent?  How can one stand by as the helpless die in the streets?  And what can we do about it?

With questions like these at the forefront, Wonder Woman can’t help but be inspiring.  One particular scene featured in the trailers when Wonder Woman climbs from the trenches and crosses no man’s land may seem over the top, but it’s played out in such a way as to be authentically inspiring.  As the movie escalates towards its climax, so does the exploration of why Wonder Woman exists.  Ultimately, we are asked, is humanity worth saving?  This time, its asked from the perspective of worth.   We are pronounced unworthy, corrupt, but there is hope in belief that things can change.  What ultimately is worth fighting for?  The capacity to love.  I’m reminded of famous words from modern pop songs “we are bent, not broken and we can learn to love again” and “without love I have nothing”.  With this inspiration, Wonder Woman dives into battle with her archenemy.  The lead up to this final battle has been nothing less than brilliant, countless times I thought what an engaging fun movie I am experiencing!  Unfortunately, the final battle scenes leave much to be desired.  While it does not ruin the movie, it does take away some of the magic experienced to this point.  And there are still some really inspiring moments, but they are overshadowed by some poor dialog and forced scenes.  One of these DC movies will have the grand build up to a final scene that is worthy of its build up – come on Justice League!

With DC exploring such deep themes, it’s easy to see why the audience resonates with Wonder Woman’s plight.  As these stories are really a retelling the greatest story of all.  A story of a creative God who made humanity in his image.  A humanity who was corrupted by the great deceiver and thus found unworthy.  And in their brokenness the creator sent His son to redeem the unworthy and defeat the great deceiver freeing humanity from the bonds of sin.  In freeing us, giving us the capacity to love like the creator.  I won’t spoil how Wonder Woman retells this story, but look for it on the screen.  And look for opportunities to engage others in why this story has such meaning.

5.5 out of 7 – this is my favorite DC movie since the Dark Knight trilogy, and had the ending not detracted a bit would have been a solid 6.5.  While the women may be a bit scantily clad, this movie really does a worthy job of avoiding language, bloody violence, and other mature images.  I walked out refreshed by the lack of on screen violence.  Many of the strongest scenes are left implied off screen which results in a movie being much more appropriate for younger audiences.  I can see a new generation of girls being inspired by Wonder Woman!