The Muse

The sheer variety of symbols and artefacts in use across the ages and geographies does not necessarily point to a multitude of assumptions and values from which they spring. The study of mythology and folklore then, is a reverse approach to anthropology. This blog is dedicated to my favourite symbols, tales and artefacts - both ancient and contemporary.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Wonder Woman - Full review

As of now, Wonder Woman has a rating of 8.3 on IMDB, and a 93& fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
I'm here to tell you that it thoroughly deserves a 96% rating. But most of all, I'm going to embody my worst nightmare: I'm going to be that nagging parent who asks, "baki ke 4% kahaan gaye?"

The Wonder Woman of the DCEU is a highly mature individual. Though endued with outward youth and beauty, she was not born yesterday, and that knowledge shows. This movie shows us, in her voice, and from her view, how she came to be.

We follow her, from the present, to her childhood, as she begins narrating. We see her world being invaded, and we see her jumping at the call. We see the reactions of the audience surrogate, as he comes to terms with the reality of her existence. In turn, he tells her about the human condition. Their plan to end the War to end all Wars, their choice of comrades, the villain's reveal - each of these are executed with utter perfection of storytelling and direction. Full marks to all of these.

Just stopping here, one could say that DC had been redeemed, rescued from ignominy, and placed on a moral and practical pedestal way above anything that Marvel has made thus far (except maybe Jessica Jones and Luke Cage).

And then, suddenly, near the very end, the movie inexplicably begins to resemble Captain America: The First Avenger. Uncannily so. The namesakes have near identical endings. It is not a blunder, certainly not unforgivable. And I will go so far (and I hope I am proved wrong), as to say that most of the male audience would fail to see how this was to the movie's detriment.

But from my own POV it explains the "baaki ke 4%".

I loved the moment overtaken by tinnitus. If not for that particular scene the whole movie would have been, as my sister put it, "rubbished", by the choice of the ending. When I came out of the theatre my immediate reaction was one of betrayal, and anger. But calming down, I realised that Patty Jenkins (that's the director) was simply being courteous. Far more courteous than most male filmmakers have been to us (case in point: the Marvel series Peggy Carter. That was well executed, but alas, cancelled.)

Coming back, at the very end the movie brings us back to the present, showing us the Diana who had been transformed by these events.

It is useful at this point to compare Diana of Themyscira aka Wonder Woman with Kal-el aka Superman, especially within the DCEU. Both are superior beings, and not human. Both have parents who say things like "mankind doesn't deserve you", and "Maybe you should have let them die". Both ultimately reject this advice, due to their innate compassion, and the recognition of the simple fact that they have the ability to protect the world. Thus, they both do all they can to help us.

Unlike Superman in the DCEU, however, Diana knows better than to bear the burden of the world alone. She knows how to temper her mercy with justice. She is not a martyr. And that is the single most powerful message that the movie gives us all, men and women.

That we should do our best. But we should not have to be martyrs.

A Wonder Woman movie means a lot for humanity. There is not the slightest doubt aout it. A world in which future parents are told stories where women are normalised, where they are neither worshipped nor demeaned, is a world in which parents don't kill their unborn daughters, who raise their daughters to be all they can be, and who teach their sons how to be humans, not wannabe Gods. In telling stories that are inclusive, that represent without tokenism, we fight the actual disease of which the oppression of women and minorities is a symptom.

This movie, despite its flaws, fits the bill.

Do watch it.

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