Home > Clement's Game, DC Comics > Superheroes Round 24: Wonder Woman

Superheroes Round 24: Wonder Woman

This movie was fun.  It was high time we had a Wonder Woman movie, and I’m reasonably convinced that it’s the best movie that DC has put out for a good long while.

In other words, I’m about to do some analysis and spoil the whole plot.

Wonder Woman, aka Diana, is definitely the central character of the story.

Culture Shock

One of the loveliest bits in the film was all the culture clash that happens when Diana goes out into the wider world.  “How am I supposed to fight in this?” and the scene where she is introduced to ice cream are both lovely.

Then again, we also see the more negative aspects.  This ranges from the hideousness of smokey, dirty London, to the reactions of the men around her.  She’s horrified at what they’re doing, and they’re horrified that she’s so forward.  Even her own friends don’t take her as seriously as they should until they see her taking direct action.  At least those friends figured it out.  Mostly.

Hundreds of Languages

The language problem in this movie is solved by… the Amazons magically knowing hundreds of languages in order to be protectors of mankind.

This leads to a delightfully funny scene with Diana and Sameer one-upping each other with their language skills.  But it does beg the question: how does that work, exactly?

On the one hand, perhaps this means that the Amazons are magically super-good at learning languages.  But, in this case, someone would have to leave the island periodically and travel the world to learn all the languages and bring them back.  At least we now have a reason for someone to have maintained the boat for leaving Themyscira.

However, in this case, we have another problem.  If this were true, someone should have brought back word of what the outside world is like.  What the countries are, and the tensions between them, as a minimum.  If the language-scouting expeditions are less frequent, so that they don’t have recent information, then their languages should be out of date, too — and Diana should have a really funny mid-19th century accent.  Worse, even if that were the case, they should have encountered guns before.

The only alternative I see is that the Amazons basically get to be universal translators thanks to magic.  But it still makes me wonder — shouldn’t Diana understand more of the vocabulary in that case?  Have some sense of what the word “marriage” means, for example?

Have You Heard Of The Parachute?

For serious.  This is the second movie I’d seen where a protagonist named Steve decides he has to go down with the plane.  Has nobody ever heard of a parachute?  In this film, the plane needs to burn up, so that the toxic gas is destroyed.  So, why fly the plane up, set up an explosive on a fuse (we know the group has them available), and then jump out in a parachute?  You’ve got better odds than just sitting there in the cockpit.

In this case, Steve Trevor may have more of an excuse than Steve Rogers, because Wonder Woman’s Steve is operating in WWI instead of WWII.

A touch of Internet research indicates that American pilots were not supplied with parachutes during WWI.  Why?  It was thought that they wouldn’t help much, and that pilots would jump out of their flammable flying deathtraps at the first opportunity.  The heavy parachutes of the day also added weight to the planes.

The Germans, on the other hand, had no such compunctions, and were regularly issuing them in the last year of the war — which saved the lives of a number of their pilots.

So.  While it may be that the German plane that American Steve Trevor commandeered may have had parachutes on board per German standards, Trevor himself would not have been accustomed to using them — and may not have even considered the possibility.

Ares’ War

I saw the fact that the Godkiller wasn’t the sword, it was Diana, coming a mile away.

What I didn’t expect was that Sir Patrick was actually Ares.

In retrospect, it makes sense — along with a comment that Ares makes when revealing himself to Diana.  As a profound misanthrope who wants to see the world restored to its pristine state prior to humanity’s arrival, he wants everyone to die.  He wants the armistice to happen… which eventually led to the flawed Treaty of Versailles, which is (by at least some historians) credited with helping lay the foundation for WWII.  Which killed even more people.

I like this portrayal of Ares.  He’s not the soldier at the front or the maker of bombs.  He is the politician and tactician far away, moving pieces around a board and feeling no empathy for the lives they represent.  He whispers ideas for terrible weapons, but it is ordinary people who choose to build or use them.  In his view, they deserve destruction.

Diana’s response, in essence, is that it doesn’t matter who they are or what they deserve — it’s about what she believes, and what sort of person she wants to be.

As pointed out by some other reviews I’ve read, this is undermined a touch by the fact that she goes through with killing Ares off.  I think that a curb-stomp fight, followed up by some sort of “it’s not worth it,” and letting Ares limp away, would be more interesting.  It forms a contrast with when Diana kills the man she thinks is Ares, but isn’t — and the war just keeps on going.  In short, killing one man doesn’t solve the problems.

As a bonus, that altered ending leaves open the question of whether Ares might change — or come back for an even more bitter second round.

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