Book reviews, art, gaming, Objectivism and thoughts on other topics as they occur.

Jun 11, 2017

Wonder Woman

So, I finally got to go see Wonder Woman, and I have to say . . . I didn't really like it.  It had the same problems that other DC movies have had for me.  I think ultimately it all boils down to one issue, though--it's too much like very common forms of anime in a lot of really poor thematic concepts.

Here we have a perfect (or near-perfect) innocent superhuman who has come to pass judgment on all of humanity.  This is already a trite and over-done notion, but then there's no conflict, character arc, or decision to it.  "I come from Utopia to judge you, and, well, you suck, but I'm going to protect you anyway".  Superman vs. General Zod is the same thing all over again as Wonder Woman vs. Ares.

The main character is, effectively, an immortal, indestructible robot.  They're not functionally in any DANGER at any point during the movie, so it's pretty hard to laud their successes.  A person who has nothing to fear cannot be courageous . . . and they certainly don't get any credit for being PREACHY, either.

And "humanity" is meaningless in these movies.  It's just a formless mass for the hero to despise, or love, or save, or whatever, but always, ultimately, passive until the hero (or villain) comes along.  The romance is really meaningless because Steve never manages to articulate any values or exhibit any particular reasons to prefer him over anyone else--in fact, the three sidekicks have FAR more personality and much more deeply exhibited values than Steve Trevor does.  What's Steve Trevor's most exhibited personality trait?  "No, you can't do that.  Nope, that's wrong.  Don't do that.  Nope, you're embarrassing me.  Nope, bad idea."  Maybe he's supposed to be some kind of voice of prudence, but the writing of his part is so inarticulate that he actually comes across more like a twitchy teenager.  In the hands of a competent writer, he could have had a powerful character arc from "haha, I'm not going to get involved, not my fight" to, at the end, actually being the one to come up with the crazy plan to save the day.  Instead, he flops back and forth between worldly semi-virtue and being a flapping, useless duenna.

The real way it's like anime, though, was in the final climactic moment when Wonder Woman defeats Ares.  How does she defeat him?  Does she realize something important about herself?  Not really.  Does she discover something about Ares?  No.  So how does she win?

She does the anime thing and concentrates HARDER THAN EVER BEFORE and wins.  Yay!

This is pure magical thinking.  It is dull and meaningless.

And, honestly, it would have been much, much better if Diana had crushed Dr. Maru like a bug.  No, seriously.  That at least would have been a shocking moment of re-evaluation.