Wonder Woman: A Very Short Review

by Brenda W. Clough

My son and I agree that the super hero movie is now become formulaic. You need your origin narrative. Your superhero debut. Your major conflict, ideally involving saving the world. It’s as rigid a formula as the Western.

It’s about due for a shakeup IMO. We don’t get it with Wonder Woman, because DC is not where you go to for innovation, But as any romance writer will tell you, there’s a reason why formulas exist. And this movie does show why, by demonstrating the excellence of the old tropes. Her Amazon heritage and upbringing on Themiscyra, the arrival of Steve Trevor and the move to Man’s World, all there. The battle with Ares is very nice, tying together her innocence (a new and welcome addition to the mythos) and the Amazon mission which dates back to William Moulton Marston’s original conception of the character.

My son assures me that moving her origin from WW2 to WW1 was to get the character away from Captain America’s resolutely WW2 origins. I got no problem with it — clearly the first World War was a good moment for an Amazon to appear and try to end mankind’s war. And this neatly demonstrates her immortality — she hasn’t aged a day in a hundred years. My complaint is, if you’re going to be historical, then do it. Steve Trevor doesn’t look or speak like an American who must have been born in the 1890s. This is the more annoying because they knew how to get it right. All of Trevor’s team of misfits sound right; their very existence (a motley crew of multinationals) is a tip of the hat to ‘Over There’ adventures of the period.

Another much-noted novelty is the all-around excellence of how a female protagonist is handled. There’s no gratuitous T & A (although that brass bustier must be horribly uncomfortable, especially under the arms). Diana has full agency and is in complete control of her decisions. And oh! Etta Candy! The chubby girl is here at last! No, this is an excellent superhero movie, and since the form seems to dominate the summer movie, let them be good movies, like this one.




About Brenda Clough

Brenda W. Clough spent much of her childhood overseas, courtesy of the U.S. government. Her first fantasy novel, The Crystal Crown, was published by DAW in 1984. She has also written The Dragon of Mishbil (1985), The Realm Beneath (1986), and The Name of the Sun (1988). Her children’s novel, An Impossumble Summer (1992), is set in her own house in Virginia, where she lives in a cottage at the edge of a forest. Her novel How Like a God, available from BVC, was published by Tor Books in 1997, and a sequel, Doors of Death and Life, was published in May 2000. Her latest novels from Book View Cafe include Revise the World (2009) and Speak to Our Desires. Her novel A Most Dangerous Woman is being serialized by Serial Box. Her novel The River Twice is newly available from BVC.


Wonder Woman: A Very Short Review — 6 Comments

    • Funny, I was just noticing that too!

      I haven’t been to see the movie—Wonder Woman was never my thang. I just could never wrap my head around how she managed all her heroics while dressed in such an uncomfortable getup. My strongest memory of the show was the teen-aged boy in my art class who was devastated when it was cancelled, because poor, sweet Linda Carter was going to be put out of a job…

      I’ll probably wait until this version comes out on video and save my movie-going budget for Thor. Not that I’m waiting for any gratuitous shirtless scenes on the big screen or anything. Nope…

  1. Ah, the strapless problem. Frankly it makes more sense now, when the entire thing seems to be made out of brass. Underwire, hell — it’s all underwire, no fabric at all. No question of it slipping down any more! Before, when it was fabric, the only possible postulate was spirit gum. But my heart aches for poor Gal Gadot. The curve where the thing went under her arms — it looked horribly uncomfortable. (In the comic book, because the artist rules supreme over costume, the strapless outfit dipped down to a vee in the back, making the entire contraption even less stable and wearable but dodging entirely the digging into your underarms.)

    Another gap, which I believe that now they’re going to make a sequel may be addressed is, what has Diana been doing between 1917 and the present day, when she runs into Superman and Batman in the movie of the same name? At that point they clearly do not recognize her, which means she has been totally under the rose for a hundred years. She cannot have gone back to Paradise Island. What about WW2? Surely she could not have sat that one out.

    When I brought this up, my son (imagination is clearly a heritable trait) suggests that this movie already takes place in an alternate reality. So, in this reality there was no WW2 at all. The second movie will involve Diana entirely putting paid to Hitler, nailing him in the 1930s before the war machine can gear up at all. I feel this scenario would generate far more difficulties than it resolves (the Great Man theory of history would clearly rule, if taking out the one man aborts all the forces that were driving Europe to war in the 1930s) but you gotta admire the scope of it. I would like to see that movie.

    • My brain got stuck on the image of Diana nailing Hitler…

      I know it’s not quite what you meant, but the imp in my imagination piped up and commented that, indeed, maybe “that’s” what he needed all along.

      As you were…

  2. “The curve where the thing went under her arms — it looked horribly uncomfortable.”

    If a mere man may chime in here , I completely agree. When I was, literally, a spear carrier in the Houston Grand Opera’s production of “Tosca,” way back in the ’60s, the cuirass of the Swiss Guard costume would quickly cut off the circulation in your arms if you let them hang down at your sides. The only solution was to stand up straight, with your hands grasping the shaft of your pike at about shoulder level. Michelangelo probably designed them that way on purpose, to make the troops look smart!

    • I hope in the future they resort to the ancient-Greek thing, and get the Amazons into flowing white chlamys and robes, with wreaths on their heads. There seems to be no middle ground in support here. Either it’s the brass bra or it’s sheets and towels.