A sea of sparkling turquoise, a valley of lush greenery, and an army of Amazon women who could shoot an arrow straight into your heart—this is Themyscira, the birthplace of Diana Prince (Gal Gadot), otherwise known as Wonder Woman.
Within the first fifteen minutes of the new Wonder Woman film, the viewer is invited into the sheltered world of Themyscira, a fantastical island that is inhabited by beautiful and badass Amazons. However, all goes awry when men intrude on the island, including Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), an American pilot spy during World War I. Diana, naive to the realities of war, is determined to help bring back peace to mankind and follows Steve into his corrupt world.
The new Wonder Woman film (directed by Patty Jenkins) transcends typical superhero movies. It elicits empathy without being melodramatic; it offers humor without being corny; and it underlines lessons in morality without being too pushy. Although the film takes place in the early twentieth century, it fits right in with today’s topsy-turvy world of 2017.
Like any good superhero movie, there is an evil villain stirring up most of the chaos. In Wonder Woman there are a few: a nefarious chemist who is known as Doctor Poison (played by Elena Anaya), a pernicious German general (Danny Huston), and the ultimate threat of all—Ares, the God of War.
Diana is a woman on a mission—a mission to end the “war of all wars” created by Ares. With her signature weapons, the Lasso of Truth and metal cuffs, she forges into the war zone. Despite protest from Steve, Diana ventures across no man’s land straight into the German’s field of fire. She firmly states her intentions and doesn’t let a man's decision interfere with her goal. In a visually stunning and iconic scene, she marches forward while deflecting bullets with her metal cuffs as fire erupts in the background.
The essence of female empowerment and triumph in this scene echoes throughout the rest of the film. Diana is not an “either-or” woman; rather, she shows combat prowess and gentle understanding, fierce perseverance and genuine kindness. She takes control in any situation of wrongdoing, yet also possesses a childlike wonder of a world marked by human flaw and corruption.
Even under the razzle-dazzle of the metal cuffs and tiara, Wonder Woman is not an isolated alter ego from Diana. In many superhero movies, the hero seems to undergo a distinct transformation from ordinary citizen to crime-fighting superhuman with the help of a mask or cape. However, even as she karate kicks her way to victory, Wonder Woman retains her humble core as Diana. It's not just Wonder Woman fighting for justice and freedom—it's Diana too.
Despite its spotty record of movie successes, D.C.-Warner Bros. did not fail to entertain with this stellar summer film. Now let’s see what Marvel has in store.