The Power of Wonder Woman
It’s safe to say that WB’s long-awaited Wonder Woman is a massive success. Having raked in just over 100 million dollars and earned a 93% on Rotten Tomatoes, it’s easily the film DC fans wanted Batman V Superman to be. But Wonder Woman isn’t just a success for studios, fans of the character, or female audiences, directors, and creators. It’s also a success for diversity as a whole.
Much of the crux of the story of Wonder Woman isn’t Diana learning who she is as a hero. By the time she leaves Themyscira with Steve Trevor, she fully believes in what she needs to do, even if she’s not aware of the full weight of her responsibilities. But as she experiences more of the world around her, her world view is changed, largely because of the kinds of people she meets and interacts with. Of course there’s Chris Pine’s Steve Trevor, whose inherent goodness matches up nicely with Diana’s need and desire to help everyone she meets. But where the film really drives the point home is when we meet Trevor’s war buddies Sameer, Chief, and Charlie on the way to the frontlines.
Steve Trevor’s three war buddies are all obviously from different backgrounds, but they serve as an important lynch pin for what makes Diana such an important champion for the human race. It’s not a stretch to compare them to Jonathan and Martha Kent from the Superman mythos. Much like the Kent’s major impact on the life of Kal-El, Steve Trevor’s band of misfits help shape Diana’s view of the world, and serve as the deciding factor when she faces off against Ares. While her fight with the God of War serves as the CGI punch fest we all expect from these movies, there’s a larger ideological battle going on as well. Ares points out all of the flaws of man to Diana. Our selfishness, our violent tendencies, and many more, and Diana admits that we are flawed. But she also chooses to look beyond our flaws and see that there is good within us as well, and that comes directly from her interactions with Steve, Sameer, Chief, and Charlie. If she hadn’t met them, do you really think she would still decide to stand up for us?
It’s this reason that makes Wonder Woman so important to me. Diana’s interactions with people who are not like her help shape her worldview for the better. Her empathy and compassion is her strength. That’s probably why the movie resonated so much with me. I’ve always believed that the more diverse people you meet the more empathetic you will become, and not to get preachy or anything, but it’s something that we need a lot more of today. Diana’s choice to see the good in us is something that I hope everyone who helped make Wonder Woman a success took home with them. It’s also something that helps show the difference between the DC heroes and the Marvel ones. The cool thing about the DC stable of superheroes isn’t that they could crush you with one hand; it’s that with all their powers and abilities, they choose to help protect mankind. It’s this important thing that was missing from Man of Steel and especially Batman V Superman, but when it’s included in Wonder Woman it reminds us that we can look to these characters for inspiration, guidance, and above all, hope. Here’s hoping that the future DC movies keep this in mind.