I very much adored this film and it’s already in my top 5 superhero movies after only seeing it twice. This was the female led superhero movie I had been waiting for! If you add superheroes + feminism + history, it’ll equal the fact that I cried the whole way through. Genuinely, I was in the cinema by myself, sitting in a row by myself and I was sobbing. I’m a mess.
Okay so into the full ‘review’ or more of a ‘rambling’. This will be broken into a few sections which I loved most – feminism, history, and then some bits about the film itself.
Patty Jenkins made a superhero war film, in my opinion. The depiction of 1918’s widespread feeling of desperate exhaustion was ever present in this film. You could feel how tired these soldiers were after 4 years of fighting, of starvation, of dwindling hope and despite how much they told you, you knew how paramount the armistice was without the dialogue telling you so. What may have helped this was that you were seeing everything from Diana’s perspective – a newcomer not only to the general population but to the war. She was almost portrayed as a soldier from 1914. She was bright eyed and bushy tailed and excited to go to war, but she was confronted with what war really was pretty much instantly- it was blood, and pain, and trying to make it through the day so you could hopefully get some rest before the nightmares came.
Seeing Scottish Regiment soldiers in this film made my heart sing as it gave a nod to the Scottish fighting forces throughout World War One (we were a big fucking deal) plus Ewen Bremner was a fantastic casting. Some of my sobbing was the result of that, I won’t lie. He was wearing traditional uniform too! After some googling around, I found out that Charlie was most likely a Highlander, due to his uniform and in particular the Glengarry bonnet. The costume design in this film was spot on. Another aspect I loved was how diverse the Allies were depicted, each with their own struggle but I’ll get to this later when I talk about the characters.
THIS FILM WAS ABOUT THE CREATION OF MUSTARD GAS! I was so happy that it was not a super-powered, awful, fictional weapon that would destroy the world and turn it into another realm or something else typically superhero genre. It was about a development in mustard gas. When I first saw it I thought the timing were slightly off (as mustard gas was first used during the war in 1917, the year before this film is set) but I forgot that mustard gas was chlorine based, not hydrogen based like the WWI mustard gas was – this was the development used for the movie and I could not be happier about that. It’s time to step away from world ending storylines in superhero movies and it should have been done a long time ago.
Etta Candy is my number one. Using her principles to get us the vote, my Suffragist hero! I sadly wasn’t wearing my Votes for Women badge that day but believe me, I almost screamed with joy at that line. But because I couldn’t scream, I just cried about it.
I really appreciated how they depicted the sexism of the 1910s. I know that sounds mental but it really would have ruined the film and what it meant if they decided to go the route of “These men treated Diana differently because she is different.” The silence in the courtroom with Sir Patrick, and him being the only ‘forward-thinker’ of the group was brilliant to me. A partial vote was just around the corner after all.
Another nod to the mess that was the Great War was when Diana tore into the generals. This was a war fought by teenagers and directed by children, too scared to leave the comforts of their status. I’ll leave you with the poem Base Details by Siegfried Sassoon which sums everything in this thought:
If I were fierce, and bald, and short of breath
I’d live with scarlet Majors at the Base,
And speed glum heroes up the line to death.
You’d see me with my puffy petulant face,
Guzzling and gulping in the best hotel,
Reading the Roll of Honour. “Poor young chap,”
I’d say — “I used to know his father well;
Yes, we’ve lost heavily in this last scrap.”
And when the war is done and youth stone dead,
I’d toddle safely home and die — in bed.
Okay, Themyscira is heaven. That is what heaven should look like – beautiful scenery, lovely weather, and hundreds of beautiful women, training, fighting and talking battle strategies. This diverse island was one of my favourite things about the film. Seeing those training montages made me weep as female warriors who fight like nobody’s business gives me childlike joy. The battle on the beach was both heartbreaking and really empowering. Seeing these women fight with really traditional battle tactics was amazing but to see the reaction to modern weaponry at the cost of Antiope broke my goddamn heart.
I need to address two scenes which I found hilarious – when Ludendorff was dancing with Diana. He was mansplaining the gods to a god. Also, the boat scene when Diana says that men are useless for pleasure while essential for procreation. In the second screening I was in, I could only hear feminine giggles after that line. Plus it was a nod to her bisexuality. That is all.
The film itself:
First things first, THE SCORE. It was beautiful, Is She With You? was incorporated brilliantly which made me very happy – that could have gone hit or miss. I’ve been listening to it at work a lot because its so goddamn brilliant.
As someone who knows very little of comic book Wonder Woman, I think Gal Gadot portrayed her very well. She was able to combine Diana’s ferocious feminism and her compassionate nature with ease. She was occasionally a bit campy it was easy to pass over. Like I said before, Diana was portrayed like an early volunteer in 1914 thrust into the horror of 1918 and it was the perfect way to introduce her to this fucked up earth of ours.
Four words: NO MAN’S LAND SCENE. My gay feminist ass couldn’t take it and I was openly weeping in my seat. So attractive too, I was yellin’.
Chris Pine was surprisingly great. I often have conflicting views about him in other things but he was great! He was funny! I know, a funny DC movie seems impossible but Patty Jenkins did it.
The dynamic between Ewen Bremner, Eugene Brave Rock, Gal Gadot and Saïd Taghmaoui wasn’t forced, at least it wasn’t forced all the time like other DC movies. I loved that they each had their own battle to fight – Chief with being a nomad after the europeans murdered his people; Sameer with racism in the film industry; Charlie’s struggles with shell shock and PTSD; Steve with understanding his role in the war; and finally Diana’s struggle with leaving Themyscira into the sexist world of 1918. It gave each character a pool of depth that they could dip into should they needed to. It made you want to find out more and made you connect with them, which was important as we only got to be with them for a short time.
To cover a few littler things which I noticed but don’t have as many feelings about: David FUCKING Thewlis!! I didn’t know he was in the movie and he really was brilliant in it. I noticed how young the soldiers were at the very end of the film, after the main battle. In the latter years of the war, age limits were lowered and kids would forge identity cards to enlist. The cinematography was lovely, Etta Candy was incredible, Diana and Ares’ fight with lightening was brilliant as they are the children of Zeus, and finally every battle was cool as hell.
There were a few goofs which I clocked, an example would be Diana’s beer in the dancing scene after liberating the town, but overall it was pretty solid.
So if you might have guessed, I loved this movie a lot. Go see it in the cinema, please. You deserve it and Diana definitely does.