Friday, June 9, 2017

My Take on Diana's Birth—Love and Wisdom


After a few millennia of guiding her people’s spiritual as well as societal growth in their new home, the idyllic paradise island of Themyscira, the queen made it a point to take time for her own needs: walking through the royal gardens, the forest of Dryope, or the Groves of Artemis, places sacred to her heart and spirit. This private communing helped unburden her, giving her well-needed time to replenish herself. During these times, she would lie beneath the verdant canopy and allow herself the luxury of restful slumber. With a retinue of guards always nearby in the palace, she never truly slept soundly. Even though no harm had ever befallen their home, Hippolyte had always remained vigilant, never knowing when darkness might find its way through the protective clouds that surrounded them, a feeling encouraged by the occasional portentous dream of being discovered by the world of Man.

​When she would give herself over to the sleep of the forest or the meadow, she would dream about other things, things less harbingers of doom and more signs of imminent beauty. After such experiences, she would seek out the one Amazon who guided their people in the ways of spirit, the oracle Menalippe. This particular sister had never lifted a sword in battle or had shed a drop of blood, as she had sworn an oath to the Titans Phoebe and Themis, guardians of the prophetic arts, to attend to her sisters’ otherworldly needs, and sometimes that included discussion of dreams. On one particular morning, Hippolyte had summoned Menalippe to the royal gardens.

​“Your Majesty, how may I serve you?” The oracle genuflected as she spoke.

​The queen walked the garden path, sniffing roses and jasmine, and Menalippe followed.

​“Sister, I have had a dream. One that I cannot reconcile.” She pulled a branch laden with lilac closer to her nose.

“Normally, I understand these gifts of Morpheos. But, this one… left me curious. I dreamt I was in a garden, much like this one, although unwalled, and I was seated on the ground, poking my finger into the earth, and depositing a seed into the hole. Then, I gently swept earth to fill it and patted it down. A line of sisters followed behind me, each adding a drop of water to the earth-ensconced seed. I continued this a few times, and when I looked back where I had just planted the seeds, the flowers had already grown to maturity and bloomed.”

Menalippe’s innocent face, illuminated by the gods’ gifts of vision, smiled. “Dearest Hippolyte, it is a dream of growth. You will bring something of beauty into the world, and our people will help nurture it. I sense its true purpose lies deep within you, but I will ponder this further. For now, dwell on the images you were shown.”

The queen raised an eyebrow. “That is all? In my heart, I can tell something else is there, but I have no words to describe it.”

“Ever since our arrival here,” Menalippe flourished her arms to show the expanse of the island, “we have pushed ourselves further to grow, adapt, and accept our path as the guardians of Doom’s Doorway. You have been unwavering in your leadership, and it seems the gods tell you of your next great venture, one of a different type of creation. Patience, Hippolyte. The meaning will come.”

In the weeks that followed, the queen spent more time outside the palace and in Gaea’s grace. She felt drawn there, as if by instinct, and her dreams altered slightly. Her next meeting with Menalippe was at the river’s edge, by a quiet grotto sacred to Artemis. Seated on the grass, the queen watched a duck and her brood waddle out of the water and to a shaded spot beneath a willow. The mother accounted for each of her ducklings, and when she was satisfied, she sat by them to keep watch. The oracle knelt on a blanket by her sovereign.

“My queen, this place is… breathtaking. How have I never seen it before?”

Hippolyte held up her hand as a butterfly fluttered past, letting it alight on her finger.

“This island is filled with mystery. I found this spot by accident while hunting once. I kept it to myself as a place of meditation.” She gently flicked her finger, releasing the butterfly, and turned toward her oracle. “It happened again, Menalippe.”

She spoke of another dream, one she’d had by the river a few days earlier, in which she sat on a stone, using a bristle-brush to paint on a piece of parchment.

“I held the paper in my hand while I dipped the brush into colors made of crushed stone and shells.”

“What did you paint?”

At first, the queen didn’t reply, as if she was trying to recall, but when Menalippe prompted her, she spoke with certainty.

“At the top, I painted with blue, of a rich, morning sky. Beneath that, I swirled pale yellows and richer gold. Under that, my hand moved back and forth, filling the bottom with crimson and carmine, penetrating colors reminiscent of blood. It reminded me of a sunrise.”

The oracle pondered the image for a few moments. “Was there anything else?”

Hippolyte nodded, her thoughts still on the dream. “Yes. I passed the painting to a sister, who passed it to another, and that continued until I woke up.”

“Another dream of creation. This one focusing more on one object rather than a succession, like the flowers. How did you feel when you awoke?”

“Enervated, as if I had given all of my energy into that one painting.”

“Did you feel this way after planting the flowers?”

“A little. This dream was stronger. But, not in a sinister way.”

The oracle took the queen’s hands. “You will soon find out why you dream in such a way. I sense whatever this will be will forever change you, our sisters, and this island.”

“Could it be a plot of Ares, though, somehow trying to take me off guard? He is a god of deception.”

Menalippe put her lips to the queen’s forehead and closed her eyes.

“No. I sense no malice. Strength and intention, but nothing bad.”

The Festival of Rhea would be upon them in a few months, and that meant preparations for one of the largest celebrations of the Amazon people. Rhea was the Titan queen and mother of the six Olympians, and while the Amazons recognized and respected Hades, Poseidon, and, of course, Zeus, their highest reverence went toward the three daughters of Rhea: Hestia, Hera, and Demeter. This festival would last an entire week, culminating with prayer, song, and each Amazon creating something to honor her sisters. Every woman had a role to play, and her contributions included rehearsing never-before-seen dances, composing new music, creating pottery, among other offerings. Hippolyte used this opportunity to distract herself from her recent reverie and aid her sisters in whatever way possible. It worked, too, for a week or so, and she hadn’t once dreamt of anything like her prior visions.

One morning, a month before the festival, Hippolyte, tears streaming, took her mare to one of the highest spots on the island where she stood at the edge of a high cliff overlooking the sea. She wrapped her own arms around herself tightly, staring out at the horizon. A short time passed, and Menalippe rode up to her.

“My queen! I saw you leave the palace in haste. What has happened?” She cupped Hippolyte’s cheek.

“It happened again!” The queen shook as she cried. “Menalippe, this time…”

“What, Hippolyte? What is it?”

The oracle led her sovereign to a marble bench beneath an old oak tree. She clasped her hands around the queen’s hands.

“I thought the dreams had stopped.” Hippolyte took a deep breath. “I was actually in my quarters, asleep…” She squeezed her eyes shut. “I can remember it all so clearly. In the dream, I was in Athena’s temple, tending the fire. I—I felt this desire, no… a powerful yearning to reach into the fire. Part of me knew this could burn me, but my hand moved of its own. I pulled forth one single flame and cupped it in my hands. It didn’t burn me. I closed my hands over it, feeling Athena’s presence with me, and when I opened my hands, I held an egg.” She took another deep breath. “I brought it closer to me, and I felt something within the egg moving. Then, the tiniest beak poked through the shell, and again, until the hatchling had its head out. Using my thumbs, I carefully pulled the shell away, and the bird… a dove chick… spread its tiny wings, looked at me, and cooed. My hands opened even more, and the delicate creature flew away, into the sky just as the sun rose.”

Menalippe embraced her queen, tears also streaming down her cheeks.

“I—I felt such release, like nothing I had ever felt,” Hippolyte continued. “And… and, when the bird flew away, my heart knew I was losing something precious to me. At the same time, I also knew that wherever that dove would go, it would bring peace and love.”

The two women cried together for a little while.

“Hippolyte, my dearest, I now know why you’re having these dreams. You know that all of us once walked upon Gaea prior to this life. We women were taken from this world before we could make a difference in it, and our souls were kept within Gaea. When the Great Sisterhood released our souls into that Grecian lake, we knew life once more. You, my queen, the eldest among us, were the only one who was with child when you were struck down by your mate.”

Hippolyte blanched. “Great Hera…”

“When the time is right, you will know what to do.”

The week-long Festival of Rhea arrived, bringing a fervor of love and spirituality to the Amazon nation. Each woman contributed something of her own creativity to the legacy of her sisters: they danced and sang, watched plays, performed ritual hunts and great contests of physical endurance, and read the proclamation of their independence to the entire sisterhood. It was the one time of year when they put aside the day-to-day routines and rejoiced in the power of birth. Rites of renewal celebrating Artemis, Athena, Hera, Demeter, Aphrodite, and Hestia began the week, followed by those for Rhea midweek, and concluding the festival with one for Gaea herself, the Mother of All.

On the final night, Hippolyte had chosen to walk the beach on the far side of the island, the strand beneath the cliff where she and Menalippe had spoken of her last dream. Staring at the full moon, gravid with purpose and power, she kept the dream of the night prior in her mind. It was the most powerful of them all, and it was one she needed no oracle to help decipher.

She knelt on the sand, her lavender shift undulating in the ocean breeze, and she gathered the clay of paradise to her. There would be a precise moment for what she would do, and despite her percussive heartbeat, she would be patient. Hippolyte placed her palms on the mound of clay and looked into the night sky. She closed her eyes. Soon, she felt the touch of other hands resting on hers, and a presence kneeling behind her.

“Daughter, know that I am with you,” a voice whispered. “Move your hands across the clay, and I will lend you my skill.”

Hippolyte smiled, her eyes still shut. “I know you are here, Athena. Guide my hands.”

With each finger that pressed into the malleable earth, each pinch and twist, the queen channeled the image in her mind’s eye through her heart and her hands. She smoothed and etched with the fluidity of the sea.

“What you create, comes from you alone, daughter. I simply steady your hands and give your vision direction.”

As the waves slipped from the sea and glided up the beach, they stopped just before that which Hippolyte’s love had given shape. The crest of the sun peeked above the horizon, beams of light stretching their golden hue across the boundary between sea and sky. The queen continued orchestral movements over the clay, and then she sensed Athena remove her hands. Now the sun was halfway risen, and sea took on a reddish tint, something between crimson and carmine. Another spiritual presence joined Hippolyte.

“Daughter, place your hands beneath that which you have formed.”

“Aphrodite, you are with me...” The queen smiled, opening her eyes and following the instructions.

“Of course. Be aware of the sun and the clay. When the golden wheel of Apollo’s chariot becomes free of the horizon, lift your creation from the earth.”

“But…”

“Have faith, Hippolyte. Be ready.”

As soon as the last sliver of the sun slipped free, the queen lifted her hands, taking care not move too swiftly.

“Bring her to the sea.”

The queen had seen this in her dream and knew what to do. With slow steps, she found the surf, never taking her eyes off the sculpted child. Once the waters were at her hips, she saw someone standing in front of her, arms outstretched. Aphrodite kissed the forehead of the small creation just as Hippolyte lowered it beneath the surface. A small light moved toward them, touching the child and disappearing. Lifting out the clay, she watched as pieces of it dropped away, showing new, pink skin. Clay covering the child’s face and head fell into the sea, revealing a tuft of black hair.

“Guided by Wisdom and Love, I bestow upon you the spirit of your unborn child. Washed in Thalassa’s waters, Hippolyte, I give you your daughter.” Aphrodite vanished into the morning light.

The child opened her eyes. Her tiny hand clasped Hippolyte’s finger, and then she let out her first cry.

“You, little one, are a child of wonder,” the queen uttered. “I name you Diana, after one of our most blessed guardians.”

And, so it was that Hippolyte, like her sisters, created something new for the end of the Festival of Rhea, and this child would forever change the Amazon nation by bringing hope, compassion, love, and wisdom to the world.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Diana, Zeus, and the Need for the Matriarchy

I have seen the Wonder Woman film five times, and that's in its first five days of being out, but I have one major bone of contention with the film—the patriarchy still has a hold over Diana in what I would consider a major way.

One of things that sets Wonder Woman apart from other superheroes is her origin story. She is not an orphan of a long-dead planet, raised on Earth from childhood. She is not a child tormented by the death of parents which fuels a desire to become someone else.

From the earliest stories about her, Diana's birth is something akin to Pygmalion and Galatea. But, I need to back up a little before I get into this.

The Amazons of the DC Comics continuity were both mistreated (and raped) by Hercules and his men. Ultimately, Hercules bests Hippolyte and takes her girdle, one of his Twelve Labors.

In the comics, Hippolyte prays to Aphrodite who gives them the strength to free themselves. The Amazons then go to a remote island, originally Paradise Island, but later called Themyscira (after the original Amazonian city on the Black Sea). It was on this island the Amazons reinvented themselves, embracing their sisterhood and growing into a society that eschews men entirely, living in peace for thousands of years. Through this, they build their skills as craftswomen, sculptors, artists, scholars, and, yes, warriors. They train constantly to maintain their physical skills and hone their talents, and they remain forever vigilant in the chance that the outside world should ever trespass on the island of immortal Amazons. They are cognizant that they exist on a planet with others, but they choose to remain in their solitude, and this brings them peace.

After a while, Hippolyte yearns for a child, so she sculpts a statue out of clay. It is important to remember, too, that clay comes from the earth—Mother Earth—so this statue is not just a piece of art, it is a piece of the world in which they live. So, this Amazon queen, living amidst the love of her sisters, fulfills a deep desire to love a child. To that end, Aphrodite, the goddess of Love, hears her pleas and brings the statue to life. The little child, who is named Diana, leaps from the pedestal on which she was sculpted and jumps into her mother's arms.

In another DC Comics origin by George Perez, the Amazons were reincarnated spirits of women who were struck down by men in a former life. Only Hippolyte's predecessor was pregnant at the time of her death. These souls went into the womb of Gaea where they remained until Artemis, Athena, Aphrodite, Hestia, and Demeter brought them forth from a lake bed in Greece to become Amazons. This time, Hippolyte feels the yearning of her former self, who was with child, and the goddesses instruct her to go to the beach, create the form of a child, and they imbue it with the last soul—the soul of the unborn child, and thus Diana is born.

The role of Hippolyte, Gaea, and Aphrodite in this (pro)creative process is undoubtedly unique because of the female symbolism.

What a stunning spectacle of feminine power! This child, Diana, grows up among the Amazons who love her like a daughter/sister, nourishing her, giving her love, sharing wisdom and compassion, encouraging strength of mind, body, and spirit. The first man Diana ever meets is Steve Trevor when he crashes on their island. This man, a positive example of what Man's World has to offer, becomes a guide for Diana in the outer world. He never seeks to control her or influence her to do his bidding.

THIS is why incorporating Zeus into Diana's origin is harmful. Diana never needed a male figure/father in her life. She has a mother as well as the entire Amazonian sisterhood to be her family. This was William Moulton Marston's intention, to create a female heroine surrounded entirely by creative feminine energy and ideals. With this foundation in place, Diana later supplements her understanding with experiences in Man's World alongside Steve Trevor. But, her beginning is undeniably from a female perspective.

People can certainly relate to a mother who has a daughter without a father present. Why some feel that a father in Diana's life makes her more "relatable" is a patriarchal failing that assumes a child must have a father AND mother. A child needs loving, caring parents. Diana has that in Hippolyte and the Amazons. Surely, many people have been raised by a single mother and turned out quite well.

The idea that perhaps Zeus as father gives Diana something to shun or denounce in order to empower herself is also misguided. Like with most of his offspring, Zeus is an "absentee father" who contributes reproductive material and then goes off to dally with the next woman he desires. Giving Diana this absent parent, but leaving behind his power, like lightning, means that Diana is not truly empowered by the Amazon training she experienced. Even when Perez imbued Diana with the strength of the Earth itself, it required knowledge of that power to use it. At least, in that case, the deity was a goddess, a primordial one, more powerful than any god. I can hear some people say that Diana was raised by her mother, so regardless of her father, she would still look to her mother as the guiding example in her life. So, if the father has no role, he shouldn't be there in the first place.

Here is how I might amend the movie:
  • Hippolyte tells her daughter that she sculpted her from clay and Aphrodite brought her to life. (even saying "the gods" implies that goddesses had a hand in it)
  • Diana could still learn about a sword that allegedly would stop Ares, and that the role of the Amazons is to protect the world from Ares' wrath.
  • Everything else could have played out (the beach scene, Antiope's death, etc.), and Diana could still have left with Steve (against her mother's wishes).
  • In the scene when the sword fails to work on Ares, Ares could claim it didn't because he's grown too powerful in Man's World due to their interest in warfare.
  • Diana then realizes she has the one tool she needs to subdue Ares—the lasso.
  • She ensnares him in it, telling him that she sees the good in Mankind and that they are capable of love and compassion, and that she believes love is a better way. She then compels him to see that the outcome of war would ultimately destroy the world, thus leaving him nothing to rule over (like the first arc of Perez's Wonder Woman).
  • Instead of killing him, (a) she takes him to Themyscira where he is imprisoned OR (b) his glimpse of how the world's end would leave him nothing makes him charge Diana to make the world better, or he will return (like Perez), thus giving him the chance to reappear in a sequel, or not.
I still love the Wonder Woman film for many reasons. No art is flawless, however. Diana fights against the control of patriarchal ideas, seeking equality, and she stands against those who would seek to dominate others. It is through her matriarchal, and empowering, lineage that Diana achieves this best.

I think an audience would certainly understand my "version" of the story just as well. To reiterate, I love the film. Go see it. Many times. Just understand—Diana is her mother's daughter and no one else's. :)

Saturday, June 3, 2017

My Wonder Woman Review (Spoilers)


At 8 years old, I learned about a superhero who ultimately would change my life—entirely. Anyone who knows me knows this to be true. Just how she and I became acquainted is for another post, but, suffice it to say, for the past 42 years, I have read Wonder Woman comics, seen her in animation (SuperFriends, Justice League/Unlimited, Justice League movies, Brady Bunch), and live action (Cathy Lee Crosby, Ellie Wood Walker, Lynda Carter, and now, Gal Gadot). I have even cosplayed as my own "Captain Wonder" character at conventions.

She obviously holds importance to me more than some humans do.

Friday, June 2, the first live action Wonder Woman movie debuted in the United States. This groundbreaking event in her 76 year history would forever change the Amazing Amazon's world in ways beyond imagining. But, before I talk about the movie (which I have now seen twice), I want to talk about someone I call...

MY DIANA


Every Wonder Woman fan has his or her own "Diana." She embodies certain elements that speak to the individual's sensibilities, preferences, personal "spin" (pardon the pun), and all around idea of just who she should be. My Diana is physically like George Perez's version from the 1986 reboot. I like her armor, her hair, her facial structure, etc. When I saw her jump from the pages of Wonder Woman #1 in 1986, I cried real tears of joy. How we got a #1 for Wonder Woman in 1986 when she made her original debut in 1941 is another story, but she was back, and in full George Perez-ian force. This Diana, as like her predecessor, was sculpted from clay by her mother, Queen Hippolyte of the Amazons, and she was given life by the goddesses (as well as Hermes) of Mount Olympus.

In addition to her physical skills, her other gifts were her capacity to love, her compassion, her wisdom, and her strength of spirit. Her loving heart, to me, was perhaps her greatest tool against war, hatred, and deception. This Diana rarely, if ever, used a bladed weapon, relying largely on her bracelets and lasso of Hestia. While skilled in a myriad of combat styles, she would rather open her hand to someone in peace before striking him or her in battle.

TODAY'S DIANA


When Batman v. Superman came out in 2016, the biggest anticipation was the appearance of Wonder Woman—her first on the big screen in 75 years. The Amazon princess did not disappoint. In fact, many claim (like me) that she was the best part of the movie.

This Wonder Woman wears Greek-inspired armor that has elements of her iconic costume, but she also wields a sword and shield. More on that later.

This brings me to the highly-anticipated solo Wonder Woman film. With the moment of its announcement, the anticipation ran in all directions, with some worried that Patty Jenkins couldn't succeed in bringing Diana to the big screen while others felt electric with the possibilities of seeing her in all her red, gold, and blue glory.

As information became available, the buzz about the upcoming film ranged from the gentle one of a beehive to the that of an angry hornet's nest.

Some questions that arose were:
  1. Would she be the daughter of Zeus, as she was in the New 52 DC Comics version of Wonder Woman. (Brian Azzarello had re-invented her to be the love-child of Hippolyta and Zeus, the king of the gods.)
  2. Would she fly or have the invisible jet?
  3. Would she be a violent, killing machine or a gentle ambassador?
  4. What time period would this be set in? World War II or the modern day?
  5. Would she use a sword and shield?
Many, many, MANY more questions sprouted up around this film. Speculation grew, and teaser images as well as trailers hinted at many possibilities, frustrating those who yearned for answers.

So, let's get right to it, shall we?

WOMAN WOMAN — THE FILM • 9 out of 10


There is much more I can and will say on this movie in another post, but I want to give you what you came here to read—my review.

WHAT I ADORED


  • Diana—Gal Gadot WAS Wonder Woman. I can't see how people think she is a "wooden" actress. She emoted very well in many situations, and I bought her Princess Diana/Wonder Woman. Her facial expressions were on point, and her physical acting (fighting, when she was not using a stunt double) looked great. If the tiara is indeed passed from Lynda Carter to Gal, then it was passed on to a worthy princess.
  • The Amazons—Their depiction on Themyscira was awe-inspiring and empowering. Their diversity made my heart happy because it made clear that Diana grew up with a group of women who reflect the world, not just one corner of it. Whether or not these women were all the original Amazons or whether some had been taken in along the way of their past journeys is never made clear, but nevertheless, the Amazons and their life on the idyllic island they call home emulated strength, regality, and individuality. The history of the Amazons as Hippolyta tells it was gorgeous, and the nod to Perez's water-rebirth was stunning.
  • Themyscira—Also known as Paradise Island. Itself, breathtaking, its waterfalls (and water imagery) and unique buildings, as well as the heart-stopping beach and crystalline waters made this island assuredly a paradise. A mystical barrier (as well as heavy mist and rocks) protected the island from outsiders.
  • Queen Hippolyta—Regal in all ways, strong, protective of her daughter, and one of the finest warriors of her people. Her dismount/spin off her horse was extraordinary and unlike anything I had ever seen.
  • General Antiope—She did indeed live up to her reputation of the finest warrior in all of Themyscira. I found her to be understanding yet firm when it came to training the young Diana.
  • Amazon Credo—"We are the bridge to a greater understanding" is how Diana expresses who the Amazons are to Steve Trevor. That is merely a piece of it, and they have the unique position of protecting humanity, something quite admirable.
  • Clay Origin of Diana—I will discuss this further later on, but that this aspect was even mentioned made me smile. It's an important part of her origin and needed to be part of the movie.
  • Selflessness—While always a part of Diana's canon, her willingness to dive in to save Steve, not knowing anything about who he was or where he came from, speaks to her desire to put another life first and echoes that mission of protecting humanity. 
  • The Lasso of Hestia—This "magic lasso" was used brilliantly (pun intended). Wrapped in its coils, one cannot lie. That Diana used this quite a bit in the movie had me in tears (the good kind). While normally sporting a loop at one end, the lasso still managed to move as if alive, following the manipulation of its mistress. Seeing it used on Trevor on Themyscira was one of the best parts of the movie.
  • Bracers—In most versions of the character, Diana wears metal bracelets (one version being silver ones formed from the shards of Zeus' shield, the aegis), but in this version, she wears bracers strapped around her wrists that give her the same ability to deflect a barrage of bullets with a flick of the wrist. This and the lasso made me love this character (as an 8-year-old).
  • Compassion/Goodness—Diana's desire to go into Man's World with Steve Trevor, her willingness to help women and children, injured soldiers, among others, gave me the feeling that she wanted to make things better without hesitation. Even during perhaps the most emotion-filled scene in the movie (when she rises from the bunker), her motivation is to save innocent lives. While she seeks Ares, god of war, to stop him, she never stops thinking about those who need her help.
  • Sense of honor and purpose—Diana leaves Themyscira to do what's right. Also, when Etta Candy takes hold of the sword, God-Killer, Diana immediately charges Steve Trevor's secretary to guard it with her life—from one woman to another, she expects respect and understanding of her mission. She also sees the honor in others, especially the crew that Trevor hires to help.
  • Diana's naiveté—Diana believes that if she kills Ares with the sword that men will fall from the war god's control and be righteous men again. This simplistic idea, perhaps given to her by her mother as a child's tale, gets tested throughout the film, and I liked seeing her become less and less naïve as the story progressed. 
  • Diana's intelligence—While she is new to Man's World, she has been educated on Themyscira. In fact, she knows of Clio's 12 Treatises on Body and Pleasure, telling Steve that, while men are good for reproduction, they lack the ability to give women pleasure. She also tells Steve, and demonstrates in a few places in the film, that she speaks many languages. I enjoyed seeing this aspect of Diana.
  • Martial prowess—While not fully realized in the Amazonian sparring early in the film, Diana truly earns Antiope's tiara with her abilities. In every scene where she engages human adversaries, she outthinks each opponent, never being captured or in any way compromised. No man needs to save her.
  • No Man's Land—That this part of the battle field is not only traversed by Diana, but completely owned by her in this epic scene speaks to her confidence and ability. It's true: no MAN can cross this desolate landscape. It takes a woman to do it.
  • Love conquers War—Part of the last scenes in the film, Diana realizes that it is love, specifically her love for Steve Trevor, that will defeat Ares, not a sword or lasso.
  • Chemistry/Humor—You truly saw Steve and Diana's relationship blossom over the course of the film. It was organic and plausible. The humor in the film was natural and actually endearing. It didn't seem forced or out of placed.
  • Costume design—Spectacular images and iconography. The Amazon armor was designed with layers and color, not just a simple, skimpy dress.
  • Message—Diana is a hero. She learns, grows, and understands what's important as time moves on. This is a character who comes to understand the nuances of Man's World.
  • Diana's armor—I know some people love the Lynda Carter "satin tights," but (and I am a HUGE Lynda Carter/Wonder Woman fan) don't think it would translate as well in the film. With some modifications, it might work in a sequel, perhaps, but the armor had the "W" with the eagle, the red bodice, gold belt (with "W" logo), and the blue skirt/pteryges (timely for a Greek-inspired society). Her boots had the red with a white stripe, as well as knee protectors, something more accurate to the culture she comes from. It's a design decision.
  • Villains—I think Dr. Maru aka Dr. Poison and Gen. Ludendorff were excellent choices. Maru is a Wonder Woman villain from her early days in comics, and she definitely added in the "creepiness" factor, and while Ludendorff is based on a real man of the same name, he was a great character in his own right (especially since he gave the impression he might be Ares). Ares as the first BIG baddie was fantastic. Since he comes right from her own cultural background, it made sense that he show up. He might show up again (movies do funny things with death), but this now opens up sequel(s) for other villains like Cheetah, Circe, Dr. Cyber, etc.

THINGS I WISH WERE DIFFERENT


  • Amazons should have been born of the goddesses with more of a matriarchal focus. No Zeus.
  • Ares as the adversary works, but Diana should have used the lasso on him to help him see the truth of a world with the war that he wants (like George Perez). Or, a prison on Themyscira. Something less violent.
  • Some CGI issues. More of a nitpick than a complaint.
  • Diana should have competed in a tournament (in disguise) to be able to take Steve back, as in the comics.
  • David Thewlis was okay as Sir Patrick, but I am not entirely sold on him as Ares in full form, but again... more of a nitpick.
  • While I understand the placement in World War I, Diana's origin takes place during World War II. It worked fine in the movie, but it wasn't canon. Ah, well. 
  • Even though Diana DOES use her lasso and bracers more, I just wish there hadn't been a sword. The shield seems redundant to her bracers, but that's just me.

THINGS I DIDN'T LIKE


  • Diana's origin should be entirely matriarchal. Hippolyta sculpts a clay statue and it's brought to life by Aphrodite. No father.
  • She is never addressed as 'Wonder Woman' at all. Not even in a newspaper headline or in the voice over by Diana at the end in the modern day. Diana could have said, "and the world now knows me as Wonder Woman." The modern elements of the film are POST-Batman v. Superman, so it's very possible that the press has dubbed her a name. 
  • Themyscira is found by the Germans pretty easily which then brought about the killing of Amazons. Not needed. I feel this was meant to ramp up the tension and "action" early in the film.
  • All the teasing in trailers as to whether Diana flies or not. She rises in the sky when fighting Ares, but that's not really flying. I'd like to think at the very end she does, but it's not clear.  
  • Wonder Woman is the God-Killer. She shouldn't be an instrument of destruction.

OVERALL... I'm happy. It gave me the essence of the character I love, even if it's not MY Diana (see above), so I have to live with the changes made. Perhaps the sequel will change some things. I understand why people might not enjoy this film. I do get it, and I will not try to persuade anyone to like it. This generation has its own Wonder Woman, and I will enjoy watching a new audience embrace a version of the character I fell in love with 42 years ago.
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