Movies + TV, Pop Culture

“Wonder Woman” is more than just a box-office hit, she’s my new hero

"Wonder Woman" exceeded box-office expectations by showing the potential of women to fight against more than just evil.

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Of course, I always knew about Wonder Woman.

Even without reading the comic books, I know she’s an iconic image in the Justice League with her superhuman strength and power to wield the Lasso of Truth. She has also been the missing link in the string of superhero movies being released by DC Comics and Warner Brother Pictures until just recently. 

Who doesn't know Wonder Woman? Click To Tweet

To my generation though, that’s all she is. Wonder Woman has never been there for me, until now.

My parents pushed me to go with them, even though I hadn’t been that enthusiastic to see the movie in the first place. Wonder Woman was their generation, not mine. Despite this, I ended up being one of many audience-goers watching “Wonder Woman”, in 3D no less, on opening weekend. What made her so special? I was about to find out. As I got comfortable in my reclining chair (yes, these exist!), waiting for the feature presentation to begin, the theater filled up around me.

My parents wanted me to see it more than I did. Click To Tweet

Obviously, this was a highly anticipated wait by many, as the film received an astonishing $103.3 million in the United States and another $125 million internationally after its release.

Not only was this a win for the female superhero, but also for her female director, Patty Jenkins. Wonder Woman achieved a new record for the highest grossing opening weekend of a female-directed film, as well as having a budget of $150 million, the most expensive production ever to be directed by a woman. Dedicated fans may be disappointed at how Jenkins made the film more internationally friendly, but personally, I never once missed the all-American colors on her suit paying tribute to an old America. The gold color of her outfit is a universal substitute for the red, white, and blue which a majority of the new viewership no longer feel comfortable to take ownership of.  Wonder Woman herself was unconcerned with the change, seeing as she had bigger problems to worry about in the movie than her outfit. 

With all that money being spent, Wonder Woman did not disappoint. What appeared on screen was the wonder of how the character Wonder Woman, played by Gal Gadot, came to be. For beginners, like myself, with no knowledge of superhero origin stories, this one was straight forward without the rest of the Justice League to add to the confusion. Aside from her status as the notorious Wonder Woman, I appreciated the development of Gadot’s character from inexperienced into self-assured, nor was she spared any of the struggles on her journey that make her transformation believable. Take away her famous reputation, and I still would have enjoyed this coming-of-age type of plot.

I loved it as a coming-of-age story. Click To Tweet

What convinced me that she was not just another one of Hollywood’s sexualized fighting females was that she did not grow up in such an environment. We find out that Wonder Woman grew up as an Amazon princess named Diana living on Themyscira, a utopian island occupied only by women. On Themyscira, strong, battle-hardened female soldiers are her only role models. 

Women are taught to fight because they must know how to protect themselves. Even better, they do it all in skirts.

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It has been a long time coming for this version of Wonder Woman to manifest. Although her core identity remains the same, she has finally been given some muscle to actually fight with in this version. According to DC Entertainment chief Diane Nelson, Wonder Woman has had a complicated history of character profiles that make it difficult for audiences to recognize only one. Even so, the fans still craved to know: who is the real Wonder Woman. Her character has changed so frequently to match the generation, but this Wonder Woman felt like a keeper. Not because she looks more modern or had an equipment upgrade; finally, this Wonder Woman acts as real as she looks.

Normally I am not a fan of the comic book universe, but thankfully, I did not see one colorfully clad man rushing to save the damsel in distress in this movie. I will admit, the live action did not lack any of its exaggerated grandeur that is stereotypically Marvel, but it still appeals more to me than a comic book reel. 

In fact, the World War I setting beat back the expectation that women should be kept away from violence on the front line or the all-male War Cabinet. Gadot was not impervious to human vulnerabilities, for she acted with emotion. However, emotion is only what made her stronger. 

For once, the men were looking to our heroine for help and learning a few lessons about virtue in the process.

I'm not big on comic book movies, but 'Wonder Woman' was great. Click To Tweet

The lead male role and love interest, played by Chris Pine, attempts to protect our leading lady from danger on a few occasions. After realizing he doesn’t have to (she does a better job of protecting him), he willingly embraces the role of sidekick. Nor can he stop her from doing what she wants; her response being, “What I do is not up to you.”

If this is not indication enough that women are just as capable of fighting for what they believe in – and winning – then I suggest you get your money back.

Wonder Woman certainly deserves the hype it received. Watching a comic book character come to life and fight evil on the big screen has been done before. Watching Wonder Woman fight for her female audiences on top of that is something to behold in theaters. I know Wonder Woman, but this is the first time we were really introduced. Not only that, this movie also helped me to understand what she is about. 

Now, I know her as a hero, in more ways than one.

Meghan Lannoo

Meghan Lannoo

Meghan Lannoo is currently majoring in Creative Writing at Oberlin College. She gets inspiration from books, friends, and the outdoors.

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