Wonder Woman (2017)
Beyond (Gender) Expectations
3 June 2017
The moment Diana Prince took her first spear tackle at evil in Batman Vs Superman threw a gauntlet at the feet of an entire generation of older movie-goers who's lingering impression of Wonder Woman was a soft, curvaceous and inherently feminine Linda Carter of the seventies. Spinning magic girl transformations have been replaced with a monstrous power that frankly woke me up in my seat. She was my lingering impression and my first taste of a DC that left me wanting more.

The Wonder Woman role has big shoes to fill and sadly the shoes themselves will give her a scrutiny male counterparts are not burdened with. Will they be sensible shoes, combat boots or heels? Gal Gadot's counter-argument is a role that is strong, personal and honest. Her tremendous power is counterbalanced with a naivety that reaches beyond comic relief into an often scathing critique of the human leanings toward inhumanity. She reminds us of a bigger picture by becoming a passionate observer of our frailty and in doing so, often exposes her own while retaining all of her strength. In this regard the role of Wonder Woman is an unprecedented success as she struggles to find herself as a person rather than her role as a female superhero.

Although aspects of female gender roles are present they develop in other characters. The mother, the amazon, the witch, the submissive - all present as people rather than stereotypes and the roster of strong performances delivers with a confidence that define these women with substance and a dignified strength while avoiding becoming lessons or cautionary tales in femininity.

I feel it as important to note that the male characters in this movie also avoid the same gender stereotypes. The men who marginalize her share the same disregard for all life. The men who initially sought to protect her - as we are taught to by our mothers and sisters - quickly fall behind her and support her strength. She is never forced to explain herself.

In a genre filled with movies about other movies or stories that build momentum for bigger stories to come it's refreshing to see a movie that delivers a strong tale, genuinely warm characters and manages to embarrass us with the lesson that genuinely strong and honest characters make our gender expectations irrelevant.
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