Why 'Wonder Woman' Is Even Better Than You Remember

Image: Supplied

While it wasn't without its problems, the 2017 big screen adaptation of arguably the world's most famous superheroine was a monumental triumph. Cracking $821.9 million at the box office, it's easy to forget what Wonder Woman was up against, and the details that made it so great.

Straight up, Wonder Woman had pretty much everything going against it.

An incredible amount of pressure from the geek world and Wonder Woman fans across the planet, the weight of "if this doesn't work it just proves female superhero movies aren't worth it" (a genuine opinion, held by many powerful people), blatant misogynists that have no idea what Wonder Woman stands for and can't accept feminism as a positive influence on society, not to mention coming off the back of Batman V Superman - which well, it wasn't great.

Just as a reminder of what Patty Jenkins was springing from here, this is what I said at the time:

I’m just going to come out and say this. The idea that Diana Prince could walk into a room full of socialites in a glittering backless gown and blend in is flat out ludicrous, yet that is exactly what happens in Batman V Superman. "Pretty girl" is the first thing said of her by Bruce, after the pair had a few moments of borderline-sultry eye contact. I’m sorry, what? No. Wonder Woman is not a girl. Wonder Woman is a powerhouse. The woman is an Amazon. Depending on her origin story, she’s a demi-god. This may have been an attempt to establish Bruce’s character, but in doing so dismissed the absolute presence Diana brings to a room.

And what is she doing now? Is she a spy? Is she a secret agent? Does she just rock up to parties to get what she needs, then go back home to snuggle in her cardigan in front of her laptop? It's great that we have met her but we really needed more to go on here.

I think the biggest disappointment with Diana came from her lack of true character. When we think about the character traits you associate with Wonder Woman - strength, compassion, empathy, generosity, always seeing the good in people - it does appear this film chose to focus on the first to the detriment of the rest. She was played as mysterious, alluring, flirtatious, even selfish - and I was left confused. Diana Prince is not a femme fatale. Diana Prince is a woman with a heart of gold and a need to do good in the world. And Diana Prince would never compare herself to other women in a disparaging way, Amazonian or not.

She kicks some serious butt in battle. That is the bare minimum we needed from Wonder Woman in this film, and we got it. Her appearance on screen, accompanied by her signature 80's glam rock guitar riff (who okayed that?), elicited genuine cheers from the audience, and gave me actual goosebumps.

This is the first time we have had Wonder Woman on the big screen, and there's a lot riding on how she is portrayed. This may be causing me to be harsher than I'd like to be, but I think these points are worth bringing up.

There is one moment in the midst of a fight where she falls to the ground. The audience is treated to a crotch shot, splayed legs, and a cheeky smirk on her face and she revs back up to get in there and fight some more, because this is the extent of her persona in battle. Later when Diana explains her absence by saying she gave up on the world of men, while Bruce assures her there is good in the world. For me, these two moments are pretty big clues pointing towards a complete lack of understanding within this film as to what Wonder Woman is all about.

What gives me hope is that Patty Jenkins (the director of the standalone Wonder Woman film) seems to have a much better grasp on who Diana is, based on interviews she has given.

And that she did. As our favourite Mikey Nuemann explains in this deep dive, Patty Jenkins gave Diana her true character. And every single crew member paid such incredible attention to detail to make sure it happened.

Watch Mikey's breakdown/love letter here:

Even Patty herself agrees.

If you enjoyed the video in this post, consider becoming one of Mikey's Patreons! You get some cool stuff, and the comfort of knowing he can keep making awesome content like this.

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Comments

    wonder woman was great, except for the last boss fight of cause. (the pit fall of many super hero movies)

    the only other thing that really dragged wonder woman down is the DCEU. If wonder woman was made as a stand alone movie , and not part of the DCEU it would have been so much better. BVS set the background for Wonder woman as a legend in WW1, and never appeared since, clearly it is not the case, as we know she's gonna be in the cold war for wonder woman 2, and also the end shot of wonder woman movie she's leaping into action in a pre BVS timeline.

    After hearing all the hype for Wonder Woman, I watched it and wondered if I'd seen the same movie as everyone else.
    Same tired tropes, special effects with no substance, same formula used in almost every super hero movie, the whole film was a cookie cutter.
    Apart from the minimal backstory, you could have dropped any character in (Hulk, Superman, etc) and the story would have been the same.

    Nothing seemed to be inspirational, to either men or women, and to be honest, it all was pretty vapid.
    My personal favourites for strong female lead are Salt and Long Kiss Goodnight, and real life inspiration from Rachel Washburn, cheerleader turned frontline officer and Susan Travers in 'Tomorrow To Be Brave', the only woman ever to be a Legionnaire.

    More power to you if the movie was your cup of tea, but I wouldn't have said it's a movie that gets better with age.

      I felt the exact same way as you. I waited for it to come out as a rental. Personally i found the film pretty average. But perhaps my expectations were set way too high by all the hype.

      I saw this movie 2 weeks ago and have to agree it is way overrated. I wanted to see what all the hype was but it was just another superhero movie with a hottie as the lead. The whole film felt like a video game or made entirely in front of a green screen.
      Average at best.

    There's nothing amazing on the movie. It was just a decent silly superhero movie with an attractive lead.

    The difference was that it was a DC movie that DIDN'T suck (rare), and the super-hype from SJW's about the whole female thing.

    The act of not being total trash doesn't make it a golden standard.

    Why does your title photo show half a face and feature her bust? Let's see more of Thor's crotch!

      ..why would Thor be on a Wonder Woman poster he's not even DC and why do you need pics of his crotch?

      Oh wait, you were somehow trying to claim Diana is being objectified in this image! Amazing insight! It's almost like you didn't even read the article and have little to no understanding of Wonder Woman in the slightest! What a surprise that you'd comment here. I am shocked. Shocked, I tell you.

      Carry on.

        Are you not supporting that objectification by using that shot?

          No.

          (I thought you were here for pics of Thor's crotch? Why the sudden concern about objectification?)

          (You're not clever, mate. Become a decent contributing member of the community here or jog on.)

    One of the most overrated movies of the year.
    The more people scream the opposite, the more you know it is true.

    Atomic Blonde showed a powerful woman in a vastly superior movie.

      Nah, Atomic Blonde was not a superior movie.

      The more people scream the opposite, the more you know it is true.

      All these doctors are telling me ive got cancer, But the more that tell me i got positive tests, The more i know its not true!

    No...it's not.
    Still dull and overrated.

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