I expected to feel excitement and “female empowerment” when I finally saw Wonder Woman. Instead, I watched the movie in silence, crying, and hoping no one would notice. My mother and sister were also mostly silent. Some people around us were laughing and gasping, but it seemed that most of the women in the theater were struck by the same sense of awe as I was.
When I was buying our tickets, a women in her fifties asked me if I had seen the movie yet. She had also bought tickets to Wonder Woman. When I said no, she looked as if she wanted to say something, but she just shook her head. I realize now she must have been there for a repeat viewing.
I’m 44. My mother is 69. My sister is 37. None of us have ever seen a movie with so many powerful women. Honestly, the whole movie could have consisted of life on Themyscira and it would have made me happy. My mother is a retired police officer and said she physically felt the blows the Amazons dealt to the invading Germans.
The thrill during that sequence wasn’t about seeing women beating up men. It was from seeing women defending themselves, each other, their home, their way of life, and winning . . . but of course in a situation like that, the loss of life obscures the win. In many movies, a group of people like the Amazons would have celebrated the win and mourned their dead as heroes. The Amazons didn’t celebrate. They knew that something sacred had come to an end.
Hippolyta’s “you may never return” was heartbreaking and ambiguous. Diana’s resolve was also heartbreaking, but unavoidable. At some points, her bull-headed insistence on DOING IT RIGHT NOW made me want to shake her even though I thought she was on the right track. Until the end.
The scene where she is floating in the air absorbing everything that Ares throws at her is fixed in my mind. And then she threw it back.
I, and I am sure every woman, knows that feeling of wanting to throw it all back at someone. I’m not a proponent of that forgive and move on crap. I’m a proponent of throwing it all back at them, whoever they are.
I was shaken as I left the movie. So was my sister. She said she was going to ask her boyfriend to buy her a Wonder Woman doll. I thought hell, no, and we went to Walmart and I showed her all the dolls and bought the one she liked best.
I put up my Wonder Woman posters last night. They are a bit jarring in my room, which is traditionally feminine . . . but what is more traditionally feminine than an Amazon? Strong, passionate, nurturing, a woman who will die defending her family.
Today, I was depressed. I got on Twitter and read the news, the depressed tweets, the angry tweets, the tweets that divide us, I thought about our enemy, our common enemy, enemy to all women even if they don’t see him that way, and I thought that to set things to rights, we all have to be Wonder Woman. We all have to care more about what’s best for others than we care about ourselves. We all have to be willing to sacrifice everything for people we don’t even know, refugees, people dying for lack of someone willing to help.
I don’t see that. I see bickering and infighting and separation. I don’t see the obstinacy that characterized the young Diana: I will do this no matter the risk to myself because it is the right thing to do, and I will see the humanity in everyone.
So this is what I took away from Wonder Woman. The movie opened my eyes to things that I hadn’t fully comprehended before. It made me feel responsible for things happening in the world that I had not considered my responsibility.
It’s more than a superhero movie. It is the perfect movie for our time.