Wonder Woman: the Rufus Review

First, a disclaimer. I am not a teen-aged girl.
I don’t think I have ever read a superhero themed comic from cover to cover (as a kid I looked through a few at friends’ houses, but I don’t recall ever reading one).
I don’t like CGI.

With that all out of the way, let’s get to the review. Pretty darn’ed good. Glad it was made.

There are movies and books that had a positive influence on me in my childhood. They affected my worldview and helped me become the man I became. I know there are times under duress, especially physically, when images and character arcs I had seen in movies helped drive me to push myself harder. Even when studying or facing a moral dilemma I sometimes thought about characters from books and film who distinguished themselves in scholarship and ethics, and those role models helped me towards self-improvement.

Monkey see, monkey do. There is no question we humans sometimes model our behavior on others, and this is especially prominent in the years when we do the most development; infancy to adulthood.

Not to sound like a Post on Jezebel,

but there is no denying there are plenty of such archetypes in literature and film for boys to key on, but far fewer for girls. Throughout history there have been many more male authors than female, and authors tend to write about what they know. “Wonder Woman” does a good job of providing an archetype for girls to key on. Of course, role models don’t have to be gender specific, but why not? There are plenty of scenes in this film that a girl or young woman can use as motivation when facing a struggle; physically, emotionally or mentally.

And, to my wonder, Wonder Woman is portrayed as a woman. She doesn’t need a man like a fish needs a bicycle. She’s actually from a race of people who literally have no practical need of any men whatsoever, but she loves mankind and that is not hidden. The film also makes a point to show she reacts to babies like most women typically do. She’s nurturing and caring. And, what so many women in the clutches of feminism fail to grasp; the movie shows those traits as strengths, rather than weaknesses.

What too many people promoting Girrrlllll Power!! miss is women already have immense power. More power than men. They can create life, for God’s sake! What’s more powerful than birthing a member of your species and being able to feed it with no outside help, along with having the hard-wired mental capacity to raise that baby to adulthood? I learned how to raise my kids by doing what my wife did, and doing what she told me. She is a genius at it. I always knew that. Most men do. And there are plenty of other things she is better equipped to do than I. The cruelest joke of modern feminism is feminists are convinced they need to act like men to truly be emancipated women (while juggling this with an internal self-loathing of male traits). Wonder Woman as depicted in this film is not that woman at all. Yet she does most everything better than men. She does not compete with men, nor concern herself much with what they do. She is motivated to do her best at what she determines is important for her to do. And that importance centers on moral and ethical good. Her character is openly disrespectful of some of the male characters, but it’s not because they are male, it’s because they lack character.

The movie spends a lot of time, more time than I would have guessed, on the island of Wonder Woman’s origin. As mentioned earlier, it’s a manfree zone; a civilization of women, by women, for women. Yet, amazingly, the movie doesn’t take any pot-shots at men. It simply depicts women performing the roles in the society. Part of the mythology, a big part, is they are a warrior race, so a lot of this section of the film focuses on combat training, but it’s all just competent women being competent because that’s what one does; one works to improve oneself to be of benefit to others. The creators deserve credit for avoiding shifting the focus to men, even the absence of men. As I wrote above, far too many women calling themselves feminists fixate on what men are and are not doing. When you’re competent, truly competent, you don’t fixate on what others think about you.

Yes, it’s a comic book movie and it’s a fantasy, but children and young adults learn through fantasy and imagination. Wonder Woman offers a wonderful image of femininity in all its diversity and dimension.

16 comments to Wonder Woman: the Rufus Review

  • I enjoyed the movie but I wouldn’t think too hard about it.

    Who fixes things in Amazonia or whatever that place is called, because all I saw were women haphazardly training for ancient combat and Diana’s minders, that’s it. Never saw anything else. I don’t expect a travelogue of her birthplace but when the camera pulled out to give us the sweeping view of the place didn’t see any farmland…so they must eat a LOT of fish there.

    I would get into spoilers, but I don’t want to ruin it for those who haven’t seen it. Suffice it to say if a bunch of people suddenly went missing don’t you think someone would notice? Their families if nobody else?

    Finally I’m ok with the WWI setting, but I’m pretty sure the German Army hadn’t got it’s Nazi on quite yet. Additionally, seeing the no man’s land scene reminds me of what a bad ass Alvin York must have been.

    • Rufus

      I agree with your comments, but I disagree about thinking too hard. Yeah, it’s a summer, popcorn movie, but role models are important for young kids, even when they (the role models) are fictitious characters living in fantastical worlds. I imagine Frodo and Sam have been truly inspirational to many people. Yet, they’re ridiculous Elvin creations of one man’s mind. I think Diana Prince in this film can do the same, especially for girls. (And there were probably fields of grain being tilled on the other side of the mountains! 😉 )

      But yes, there were parts I didn’t like, and I think it could have been a better movie. I also won’t give out spoilers, but I found the final battle scene boring and tedious. It’s been done to death. And there was so much CGI I didn’t feel emotionally attached to any character, nor overly concerned for anyone’s well-being. And the previous battle scenes didn’t do much for me either. Some cool, Matrix-y slo-mo (also sort-of done to death in so many movies) (but still sort-of cool), but also some very cheesy CGI.

      Also, like you, there were times where I had concerns that this may be all younger generations “learn” of WWI. I had a flash to a future, like the scene in “Idiocracy” on the “Time Machine” ride where Charlie Chan ordered his Nazi T-Rex to battle the Allied T-Rex.

      I doubt I’ll see any sequels, including the upcoming “Justice League” preview shown before “Wonder Woman” started. As I wrote, action comics never were my thing, but I do give the writers, Director and actors credit for writing a good, solid role model. I kept waiting for a sucker punch, but thankfully, none came.

  • Rgallegos

    Gal Gadot (And Chris Pine) made this movie. No doubt about it. She had the confidence of someone who might, say have been in the military before (the Israeli military to be precise). She looked like she was really enjoying playing WW. And she is hot! But that did not take away from her ability to look like she can kick ass. As for Pine, he was the perfect co-star for Gadot. The chemistry between them was magic. A very good film, not the best comic book based one (Cap 2 :TWS and Superman: The Movie are), but a thoroughly enjoyable popcorn summer movie with a lot of heart thanks to Gadot.

  • WW did everything right while the Lady Ghostbusters did everything wrong. GB played the Gender Card, the Victim Card and they ‘hey, my trailer sucks but that’s cuz you hate wimmen’ card.

    The GB stars/director/executives mocked the audience. They ramped up the Hillary connection. And they made a mediocre movie with Bill Murray’s worst performance… ever.

    Gal Godot and director Patty Jenkins let the movie speak for itself. They didn’t go negative or play any card whatsoever. They made a smart, funny movie brimming with great chemistry (and a meh third act) and let the box office take it from there.

    • Rufus

      I agree with the meh 3rd act, but that seems standard for CGI action movies these days. The final scenes are a video game.

      • No argument about the murdered-by-numbers-of-times 3rd act CGI-fests (and, after all, Zack Snyder is one of WW’s producers), but between this movie and the latest season of FX’s Fargo, I simply cannot get enough of David Thewlis.

        • Been a fan of Thewlis since I saw him in Mike Leigh’s “Naked” in the early ’90s. A dark and disturbing movie, but man is he brilliant in it. From Dragonheart to Harry Potter, he really knows how to liven up a blockbuster, too.

          • Thewlis was also great as a devout Puritan minister in Restoration with Robert Downey, Jr. and Sam Neill (and Meg Ryan) bck from the mid 1990s.

            He was so gentle in that role it was good to see him kick some ass as Ares

  • Good review, Ruf! Agree with your points, although I liked the third act more than most. Yes, it had the usual CGI-laden mayhem, but it was more emotionally resonant because it’s intercut with Steve Trevor’s heroism, and it was really a clash of two philosophies rather than a mindless slug-fest. And as I said in a previous comment thread, it really caps the movie off with a conservative theme regarding Diana’s naiveté regarding war and humanity. For most of the film, she lives under the misconception that most anti-war folks have, that war is something that can be inherently overcome just by throwing out the “wrong” leaders and putting peace-loving people in charge. What she learns in the end is that war is an inherent part of human nature that cannot be overcome, and sometimes it’s those who profess to love peace the most that are the most responsible for it.

    • Rufus

      That’s why I included the disclaimer; I’m just not very in tune with the comic superhero genre, nor video games.

      I wrote 95% of the post last Thursday or Friday and scheduled it to post Monday morning, then someone (you, I think), posted a link to a post written by an aspiring Priest who is godfather to an infant girl. He did a great job of outlining the movie’s message to girls and young women, better than me.

      I think you’re right about the theme of the final battle, and it was really important to Diana’s character arc as depicted in the movie, but I’d seen that theme a hundred times before too, so I sat bored, trying to make out pieces of hurtling, CGI metal. However, there are movies I saw at certain, key formative ages that conveyed themes new to me that were inspirational, even though they had been done a hundred times before in literature and earlier films. You make a good point that it was a good message, especially for girls and young women who may be new to those concepts.

  • How can you write a review of WW and not put a picture of Gal Godot with it? Are you dead?