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.