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Why Wonder Woman fails as a feminist hero

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As many will have noticed, I’ve been a lot more active in the film reviewing category as of late. Because of this, I’ve had the pleasure (and displeasure) of sitting through a lot of films in a small amount of time. One of those films was the recent Wonder Woman (2017). Now in my review I lambasted the review for being, well, a bit dreadful in every sense of the word. Apparently me saying that was wrong or something.

See, there’s been a large growing for the Wonder Woman film and there’s a noticeable fan base for it. Why? Because it empowers women of course. That’s why Wonder Woman is doing well, it’s certainly not down to the plot, performances or literally anything of else. See, there’s a difference between pushing the boundaries of stereotypical gender conventions and what Wonder Woman does. What Wonder Woman does is sly and was ineffective at best for me.

Or is it that I’m in the wrong? I’ve never really thought about that before. However after writing this article, I can safely say I am firmly in the right. Because I said so.

Historical accuracy

One of the main hails from critics I read about was that Wonder Woman manages to prove that she can defy the men that think she is stupid. Now, yes, that is impressive, but you have to remember the time period the film is based in. World War One wasn’t an entirely equal time for men and women to say the least.

See, we had a similar problem with Dunkirk (2017) and I wrote all about that in this article here. The problem a handful of people had with that film was that it was basically an all white, male cast. But do you know why that is? It’s because the actual Dunkirk, in the majority, was full of white males. The same can be said for the treatment of Wonder Woman in this film. It’s 1918 or something like that, so why were people expecting there to be nothing but kickass Wonder Woman?

Surely by now they must know that the key ingredient of the superhero film is padding. You slap some boring old business people talking to one another scenes in there and away you go. I’m not saying Wonder Woman isn’t a strong character in this film. She is a strong character, but brings nothing new to the table that Batman, Superman and The Avengers bring anyway. The only difference is that she’s a woman, therefore she can be related to by women. Something like that anyway.

Gal Gadot

Now, let me get one thing very straight, I found her performance very poor. But for me, the acting as a whole from everyone involved in this film was bad. Most notably though there has been a hell of a lot of praise for Gadot. For me, I just don’t see where the praise is coming from. Her character is that of a stone wall with less personality than a carrot.

Now I should preface this with the fact that Wonder Woman to me is a boring character. To be fair though, so is Superman, The Flash, Green Lantern and Aquaman. The only DC Comics hero I like is Batman, simply for the villains. But then again, I did like Ryan Reynolds as The Green Lantern, I didn’t like the film though.

What I’m trying to say is that you can have a good performance in a bad film. Wonder Woman achieves neither a good performance or a good film whatsoever. When we transport Diana Prince to the cities, she doesn’t seem like a learning superhero. If anything she’s a bit like Buddy off of Elf (2003) but with less character development.

Female led fiasco

This is not to say a female led film cannot work. Of course it can, it’s ridiculous to think it can’t. Alien (1979), Underworld (2003) and Kill Bill Vol. 1 (2003) are all great examples of female led films. However what about female directed films? Well, there’s Bend it Like Beckham (2002), American Psycho (2000) and Lost in Translation (2003) are all great examples.

So the problem we have is that Wonder Woman is quite simply a poorly made mess of a film and nothing more. But there must be a logic behind why there’s so much support for the film. Well, because female directed and lead films are not the norm, they’re made into a spectacle. Because we have a majority in the male branch of films, people are under the assumption that female directors can bring fresh direction.

I don’t mean to be sexist when I say this, but name a revolutionary director. My answer to this would probably pop a stellar director. Quentin Tarantino, John Carpenter, Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kurbick and Orson Welles. What do they all have in common? They’re all men. There hasn’t been a female director that has amounted to the constant critical acclaim that these male directors get. This isn’t down to sexism, it’s down to content, production and a whole host of other ideals that relate solely to film.

Conclusion

Look, it’s not a problem if you like this film, not at all. It’s also not a problem that people enjoy this character. But, as far as equality goes, Wonder Woman is most certainly not the character to look at. Sure, the concept of Wonder Woman is great and all, but this movie is nowhere near what we should expect from DC. It was poorly written. A bulk of reviews I have seen have praised this film simply for having a woman director and woman lead.

Unfortunately, that is not how film diversity and equality works. See, women directors and female led films are great and all, but they’re nothing from the norm. The sooner we realise that this surprise we get from women directors is ridiculous the better. Once they become a normality, the sooner we have equality in films. It’s very simple, but simply not something that will happen. The sooner women directors and female led films become a norm and not a novelty, the better.

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Sarcastic. Pessimist. I write what I think, hopefully you enjoy that.