Why I Love Wonder Woman

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With the release of Captain Marvel the inevitable comparisons to Wonder Woman are being made (even by myself). Some people like Captain Marvel better. Some people like Wonder Woman better. Some people don’t like either movie. That’s all fine and dandy but even with people who prefer Wonder Woman, I feel they never quite capture why the movie is so special to me. Patty Jenkins crafted a film I have a deep spiritual connection with and every time I watch it I ugly cry. It’s not just a superhero film but a movie that explains God’s love for all of us mortals, and I love it for that.

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In the beginning of Wonder Woman we get an introduction to the Gods of the DC Universe and the origin story for the Amazonian women of Themyscira. In this world Ares becomes jealous of humans because of their love for the other Gods and the choices they get to make. In his rage he fights all the other Gods and defeats all but Zeus. As his last act Zeus creates a weapon that can defeat Ares called the Godkiller. This weapon is Diana or Wonder Woman.

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Much like Mary protected Jesus as a child, Hippolyta tries to protect Diana from her role. Antiope, Diana’s aunt, takes the opposite view and feels her fight with Ares is inevitable and she must be ready.  Eventually Hippolyta relents and Diana’s training begins. When Steve Trevor arrives we see that Hippolyta’s worries for her daughter do not stop with her fighting Ares (like Antiope feels).  Hippolyta knows evil does not end with Ares and that her daughter’s pure heart is going to be broken by man. She even says so as she tearfully says goodbye to her daughter. Innocence will be gone to the horrors of war and that is a tragedy. 

In my religion we believe there was a war in heaven that is similar to this dynamic. Satan wanted to control mankind and Jesus wanted to give them choices and be a Savior for them. God chose the side of agency and a third of His children rebelled and sided with Satan or Lucifer. In many ways, Ares can be compared to Satan and he has a similar power to tempt and try the people on earth. However, just as we see in Wonder Woman, the humans still are accountable for their choices. Satan/Ares may tempt but it is in the end our choice to be unkind and hurt our fellow humans.

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Throughout the first 2 acts of Wonder Woman we see the purity of Diana. Her joy at seeing a baby. Her love for those she comes in contact with and her righteous anger at generals who speak casually of human life. This is the behavior of a God of hope and love. Even her dramatic scene where she fights at No-Man’s Land is an innocent act that everyone is telling her is crazy. She thinks in black and white and where there is pain, and she can do something, she goes and fights for what is right.

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This works so well partly because of Gal Gadot’s luminous and warm performance in the role. She is a former soldier so she can pull off the kick-butt action, but I grew attached to her in the quiet moments where she dances with Steve or sings with Charlie. She captures for me all that is good and kind, which is a huge contrast to the horrors of World War 1- quite possibly the most gruesome war ever fought. wonder woman4

So then we get to the much maligned 3rd act. I get the CGI could be better but to me that is like listening to a stunning sermon and complaining that the pews aren’t attractive. I feel like it is missing the whole point. Diana finally finds Ares, and she 100% believes killing him will end the war. However, Ares tells her that he is not responsible for such evils. He has given temptations and subtly given inspiration but it is humans who fall prey to hate and bigotry all on their own.

As the Godkiller she still fights Ares while Steve sacrifices himself to destroy the weapons. At the same time Diana is learning that mankind is both weak and strong. That we can cause all of this suffering (of again the most gruesome war ever) and yet we can sacrifice everything for each other. That is mostly devastating but there is a ray of hope.

In my faith, there is a story where Enoch has a vision in which he see’s God crying. He asks God “How is it that the heavens weep and shed forth their tears as the rain upon the mountains?” and God responds “Behold these thy brethren; they are the workmanship of mine own hands, and I gave unto them their knowledge; and in the Garden of Eden, I gave unto man his agency. And unto thy brethren have I said…that they should love one another…but behold, they are without affection, and they hate their own blood…Wherefore, should not the heavens weep, seeing these shall suffer?” (Pearl of Great Price, Moses 7: 31-37)

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I can hear some of you saying ‘whoa Rachel. It’s just a stupid comic book movie.’ Not to me it’s not. Wonder Woman chooses to love and serve humans despite seeing their hatred and the horrors of war because she also saw their goodness in Steve. So much hate can be undone by the love of a couple and the selfless sacrifice of individuals. I think that’s a beautiful thing. It’s as close to capturing why God loves us as I’ve ever seen in a film and even just typing about it I get emotional. It may not have that meaning for anyone else, but I don’t really care. It’s very powerful to me and the more I think about it the more I love it. It’s a movie that transcends genres and is something I treasure.

I’m honestly kind of nervous about the sequel because this original is so special for me. I’m particularly nervous about Steve being in the movie because his sacrifice is what makes the original movie work.

Normally I don’t recite scripture and such on this blog, so I hope you don’t mind it in this one case. I just really wanted to explain why Wonder Woman continues to have such power in my life and be such a favorite. If you understand what I’m trying to say I would love to hear your insight. Or perhaps share a movie that has moved you spiritually.  Perhaps it’s something others don’t pick up on? I would love to hear your thoughts! Thanks for indulging me and hooray for great movies! (And hey if you’d like more posts like this let me know!)

 

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18 thoughts on “Why I Love Wonder Woman

  1. Glad that you enjoy it…I was disappointed by it. I just hated that they squeezed Wonder Woman into a chosen one plot. That’s why I like Captain Marvel so much. She has more agency and the movie itself is actually addressing feminism on a deeper layer than most movies do. But that’s the great thing: We will hopefully now get enough of those movies that there will be something for everyone.

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    1. Yeah that’s a really good point. Something for everyone. I do think that the chosen one has always been a part of the Wonder Woman lore. At least in the comics I’ve read but I get your point. Thanks for reading.

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      1. I don’t read comics. I am mostly influenced by the Wonder Woman TV series…in which she earned the right to go on the mission into the human world by winning a tournament. As far as I know that is pretty close to her original origin story, but I am naturally not an expert. But that was the version which made her a feminist icon.

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      2. Fair enough. There are several origin stories in the comics but they are all fairly similar as well as the animated film

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  2. Glad that you enjoy it…I was disappointed by it. I just hated that they squeezed Wonder Woman into a chosen one plot.

    I never saw “Wonder Woman” simply as a “chosen one” plot. For me, that wasn’t the point. When I went to see “Wonder Woman” back in 2017, I was curious to see what had transformed her from that young and naive woman to the woman who is a little more jaded and eventually more balanced. I realize that a lot of people tend to mourn the loss of innocence and naivety. I don’t. I think being “innocent” and naive is a very dangerous place to be . . . for the individual. Innocence is lovely, yet can also be rather dangerous. And I saw this manifested quite clearly in “Wonder Woman”.

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    1. I agree. I wouldn’t really call it a chosen one narrative either. It’s more complex than that. But it is about a God learning to love human beings despite the fact we do horrible things to each other. That journey of loving the imperfect is what moved me

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  3. So… I hemmed and hawed about whether to try to contact you. I wrote a long review of this post, commenting about some interesting aspects of your faith that I wasn’t aware of before. Then deleted it. Then I read your latest post detailing how you’d been attacked for giving your honest opinion about “Shazam” and I thought, ‘How revolting that you are attacked over something so petty!’ Which may not at first seem to have anything to do with each other. So, here’s the thing. I like your writing and your personality and the fact that you seem confident in your religion. I am interested in talking with you about your beliefs (without attacks, or expectation of conversion on either side). I just like learning about different world views. I deleted my original post because I figured you wouldn’t be interested (or would be uncomfortable or whatever) and I’m still not sure that wasn’t the best choice, but seeing how upset (understandably so) you were about the various cruel things people were saying, I came back to the idea that maybe talking about something different with a curious stranger might actually be soothing. *Shrugs* If you think that’d be fun, email me, and if not either delete this post or just reply ‘no thanks’ and I’ll edit most of this out. Either way, I hope your life calms down and you aren’t stressed.

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