After 76 Years, Wonder Woman Still Dives Into Social & Political Issues
Some minor spoilers for the 2017 ‘Wonder Woman‘ movie can be found below. Nothing too much if you’ve been following the film and not going in completely blind.
Idealism vs Realism (Idealism Being Crushed, Realism Being Toxic)
There is major differences between ‘Batman v Superman‘ Diana Prince and solo film Diana Prince. While we see an idealistic Wonder Woman in 2017’s film, the version of her in ‘Batman v Superman‘ is more keen to the comic book. She only fights when she must and looks at things in a more realistic way. This notion is a contrast to her almost raw approach in ‘Wonder Woman‘. Her noble passion is great to watch but it’s met with the harsh truth of the “real world”. Blind optimism can hurt. She knows how to have compassion and be a hero but how do you take those good beliefs in a time where evil wins? That’s the lesson she learns within the film.
Idealistic (Wonder Woman/Diana Prince) Clashes With Realist (Steve Trevor):
Idealism and realism are literally represented through the main characters. While Steve Trevor is the more realist of two, he’s also the more humorous one. Due to Diana’s strict idealistic ways, she strives for serious perfection. The pairing shows a great mix of two different ideologies needing to come together to form the perfect blend.
For me, Steve Trevor represents what the DC Extended Universe preaches. He’s a realistic take on what we know. Wonder Woman is the hopeful take on superheroes and life that many desire. Placing this optimistic woman in such a sad world makes for great contrast but shows how these two things work so well together.
Political Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing
In the current political landscape, this type of threat is truly the scariest. When you have obvious evil men doing obvious evil things, it’s terrifying to see the people you should trust turn against you. Seeing Ares manipulate weaker people as his way to ruin the world; it hits many close to home.
One of the wonderful things about the DC Extended Universe is mixing harsh realities into their fantasy-based world. While ‘Batman v Superman‘ is inspired by a post-9/11 world, 2017’s ‘Wonder Woman‘ is set in World War 1 world. The backdrop of “the war to end all wars” goes perfectly with Wonder Woman’s mythos and ethos. This is a time when compassion and love are tested. War was changing from the old way of battle to the new way and it feels primitive. Having Ares be behind that change to further his agenda is very intriguing and a fun way to respectfully re-write history.
Government and 1918 politics play an interesting antagonistic role as well. Wonder Woman is insulted to hear the men in power basically send out soldiers to die with little care for their lives. She says where she’s from, the generals fight along with their soldiers in war. That notion intrigues because for centuries, generals in a war were battling it out but the style of war changed during the 1900’s. This once again shows the difference between the old way and new way of battle. It’s not just addition of new technology and science but the fact that a lot of war happens behind closed doors.
Steve Trevor doesn’t fully grasp Diana Prince’s power. Even when he knows she can handle herself, he still steps in front of her to protect her. With World War 1 setting, this allows for the director Patty Jenkins to play with the typical gender roles.
On Wonder Woman’s side, she’s never even met a man before. Placing her in a male dominated society instantly thrusts off her female-centric ideology. This is apparent during a military meeting where Diana Prince is looked at as an outcast. The one person with more knowledge of war is dismissed because of her gender.
But it goes beyond just silly gender battles. There is also focus put on how women should feel about themselves. Diana Prince/Wonder Woman has no concept of our society’s beliefs. She doesn’t see why she can’t dress how she wants or carry her sword proudly in the streets. There’s even a cute line about why a woman would ever try to hide her belly with a corset. Etta Candy’s reply to that is hilarious.
Sexuality between men and women are also discussed in a both poignant and hilarious scene. Wonder Woman and Steve address some risky things and it places perfectly into how they both look at their gender. It plays to some immature humor but it comes from a deeper place of thinking. When Diana says men are only really needed for procreation and not pleasure. It’s not a stab at the gender but a fact for a woman raised only by women.
Voice Of The Voiceless
Diana Prince/Wonder Woman plays an important role in society. She’s always represented women as strong and beautiful superheroes. Going as back as 1941, her character came 20 years after women were allowed to vote in the United States. She’s part of a generation that shaped the lives of modern women.
Even now in 2017, Wonder Woman is still a voice for the voiceless. She’s able to speak or fight for everyone, especially when they can’t themselves.