After its big opening week, everyone seems to be talking about Wonder Woman. The media reported it as the most successful female-led and female-directed blockbuster to date, grossing around US$103 million on its opening weekend. Netizens spread memes and facts about how Gal Gadot, aside from being very beautiful, is a real badass – she was 5-month pregnant while filming Wonder Woman. Feminists all over the world celebrate the film as a win for women, especially those working in film industry.
But what struck me the most was the message director Patty Jenkins tries to convey to us: a message of love, and, most importantly, a depiction of what a woman’s true super strength is.
If you follow what happens with the latest superhero films under DC Extended Universe, you will see a pattern: tones that are all dark and gritty, and an underlying theme of skepticism. In Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, we were presented with a Batman who is weary, moody, cynical towards justice, and is much more violent and bloodthirsty. And in Man of Steel, Superman tried to figure out whether humanity is worth saving.
As Eric Weiss, a writer on Vox Media’s Polygon puts it, “Man of Steel, Batman vs. Superman, and Suicide Squad all espouse a fundamentally selfish worldview — where heroism is a test of self, not a service performed for other people.”
In Wonder Woman, the same skepticism was also shown through a memorable line said by Hippolyta: “Be careful of mankind, Diana. They do not deserve you.” But what made Wonder Woman different is that throughout the film, we saw how a naive Diana keeps doing what she thinks is good and right, despite skepticism around her. She shows us what a woman’s greatest superpower is: empathy.
There is no doubt that Wonder Woman is very strong and she could beat the other male superheroes. But the most iconic scenes in the film are not iconic because of the fantastic gears or the power show off, they are iconic and glorious because of Diana’s big heart.
One of the most memorable scene in the film is the “no man’s land” scene, when Diana crosses a dangerous battlefield because there were human lives at stake. Her counterpart, Steve Trover (Chris Pine), tries to tell her that the situation is helpless. But Diana does not care, especially after she talks to a woman who begs her to help the people in the village.
Wonder Woman is different because its emphasis is not on the strength and glory of Diana as a superhero, but on her sincerity to not stop giving to the mankind, even after she realizes that mankind is doomed. To (sometimes) be a foolish romantic and to show empathy even to people who do not deserve it are exactly what women could do better than men.
Finally, if you need more evidence on how strong we can be, below is a final quote from the film I am sure you can all relate to.
“I used to want to save the world. To end war and bring peace to mankind. But then, I glimpsed the darkness that lives within their light. And I learned that inside every one of them, there will always be both. A choice each must make for themselves. Something no hero will ever defeat. And now I know, that true love can truly save the world. So I stay, I fight, and I give, for the world I know can be.”
Raisa Nabila is an aspiring storyteller, avid film watcher, and a firm believer of Pareto principle. She believes in making the world a better place through impactful content. Read her other pieces on medium.com/@RaisaNabila.
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