Wonder Woman is my superhero—and I never cared for the old TV show or even the comics (which, admittedly, I didn’t really read). After my disappointment with recent DC movies, I had no plans to see Wonder Woman. I was afraid of how badly they would portray a strong woman: Hollywood loves to depict us as harsh and cold, overly sexual, or entirely dismissive of men…and most of us aren’t.
But I went and saw it with some friends. And I fell in love.
Diana was everything I could have ever hoped for in a superhero. I never expected to spend the action portion of a superhero movie in tears, not because characters were dying, but because my heart finally saw its reflection in someone beautiful, powerful, and kind.
“We’ve seen stories told through the male prism a lot. Men are not all that smart,” Chris Pine (who plays Steve Trevor, Wonder Woman’s “boyfriend”) said in an interview for Vanity Fair. “We tend to want to kill each other all the time, so it’s nice to finally have a fresh, female perspective with important themes. To have a female superhero story that is about love and compassion and nurturing of life rather than the opposite is very important…. It’s a great lesson for everyone to learn instead of other movies where [stuff] is blowing up all the time.” He continues in an interview with Jimmy Kimmel adding, “I think it’s wonderful in the little bit that we could do to hopefully inch this universe towards something not as aggressive and violent as this one.”
Now, don’t get me—or him—wrong. This movie certainly has its share of action fight scenes. There’s a battle within the first twenty minutes or so between German soldiers and Amazon warriors. The movie takes place during the first World War, and there is some definite war violence as well as some fantasy magic action scenes—both of which are complete with things blowing up, throwing fists, and killing people. There is also a man who, when captured, commits suicide by taking a cyanide pill instead of talking, and one of the main bad guys is a scientist working on chemical weapons.
But despite all of that, Wonder Woman feels different than any other superhero movie I’ve seen. And it’s entirely because of Diana.
Diana (played by the stunning, ex-Israeli-military mother of two, Gal Gadot) is a woman who was raised to be fierce, powerful, optimistic, and caring. She isn’t one to stand aside and let the world continue to just take its toll. She sees a place she can do some good, so she goes and does it. She doesn’t worry about herself. She sees that she was made to be greater than the average man. She was created Amazon—a Woman with a Sacred Duty to make the world a better place, to bring peace to mankind. And that is her strength. Not her training, her weapons, her heritage, but her heart. She doesn’t let anyone tell her what to do—and almost everyone tries—but does what she knows, in her heart of hearts, what she was created to do.
She was raised exclusively among women, so all the stereotypes that fill our movies and world roll off her back, and many of them are even called out as ridiculous in Wonder Woman. But even as she is out being awesome, she doesn’t ever trample over the human men that accompany her. They may not be Amazonian superheroes, but they are also not beneath her. She considers them friends, allies, and, yes, equals.
She is, however, very curious about them, and there is a scene where she walks in on Steve as he’s climbing out of the pool he’s bathing in, and she unashamedly looks over him while he awkwardly covers himself (there is a shot where he has his hand over his privates but is entirely unclothed otherwise) and hurries to get dressed. Later, in the boat, Steve feels like he must explain his awkwardness at sleeping near her, and they have an incredibly awkward (for him) conversation about “biological reproduction” and “the pleasures of the flesh” wherein Diana tells Steve that men are needed for reproduction but not for pleasure. However, outside of those two instances, the only other allusion to sexuality is when, one night, Steve enters her room and gives her a kiss. She scene ends there, and it is left to the viewer to decide what happens next.
Though Wonder Woman was obviously not a Christian movie, I was very pleasantly surprised at how many Christian themes were in this worldwide hit. Even the mythology is edited and comes across as more of a Christian story: Zeus creates mankind good, Ares corrupts man. Diana takes, in addition to her armor, a sword meant to slay corruption, a lasso of truth, and a shield to stop the enemy’s blows.
She spends her time caring for the individual, not just the whole of humanity. Yes, she wants to stop the war, but she also wants to help the child looking for his mom, the soldier who is wounded, the families enslaved beyond enemy lines. Wonder Woman culminates not in a heroic battle where she takes on a huge army but in a moment of self-reflection, where she must now decide if mankind is worth fighting for, even if he is sometimes selfish, weak, and wicked.
For women, this movie is especially liberating. Remember, in Genesis, God tells Satan that there will be hatred between himself and the woman—and all the women who followed after Eve. And that has been reflected in our society for so long. Satan loves to tell us what we can’t do. He loves to give us warped ideas of what feminine strength is. In Wonder Woman, Diana finally starts turning this tangle of lies on its head. She is power, beauty, grace, and heart.
As for us, it’s time to remind Satan that HE does not define us—GOD does. And the message God speaks to us is very, very different than the one the world tries to speak, and, while not perfect, Wonder Woman is a beautiful place to find that example.
Brianna is a manager at her favorite childhood bookstore. She is likely to be found curled up with a book and her black cat, Bear, talking to a stranger, dancing outside in a thunderstorm, singing Disney songs while making cookies, or snuggling her best friend's baby while drinking coffee. Her heart is fueled by the desire to help people find their unique wings and use them in whatever capacity God has created them for. She is passionate about seeing and finding Christ in the secular world wherever she can.
p.s. I wrote a couple blog posts that go into this in a lot more detail, and I encourage you (girls especially) to read them. See: Creation, the Fall, and Wonder Woman; No Man’s Land: The Wonder of Women.