Maria Morera Johnson reviews the newest Wonder Woman film, noting its focus on femininity and sacrificial love.
Watching Patty Jenkins' new film, WW84, the latest DC treatment of Wonder Woman, left me nostalgic for my childhood. The opening sequence took me back to the carefree days when I ran through the woods and fields near my home with a pack of neighborhood kids. We were always pretending to be warriors and carried makeshift spears and twine bows with stick arrows.
Oh! How 8-year-old me would have loved this movie. 58-year-old me adored it.
Little Diana is a spunky self-assured child, but Gal Gadot’s portrayal as the adult Diana brings a charming sweetness and strength to the role that is disarming and brings to life a richness in the character that captures the foundational element of Wonder Woman: love.
I explore the comic book character of Wonder Woman in my book, Super Girls and Halos, because I’m fascinated with her origin story – not just her unusual birth on the island of Amazons, but her creation by William Moulton Marston. Here is a superhero whose superpower is love.
Now let me be clear, Wonder Woman is a badass through and through. A demigod. A warrior. An intelligent woman with physical prowess capable of domination. Instead of leveraging that power for personal gain, she leads with love to help humanity. Wonder Woman’s strength is her femininity, what St. John Paul II calls the genius of women.
In Wonder Woman, Diana Prince takes on the enemies of humanity to put an end to war, and we see the great cost of many lives sacrificed, including her love, Steve Trevor. In WW84, the sacrificial nature of love once again saves the day. Set decades after Wonder Woman, WW84 introduces a Diana who is chic and accomplished in the often-hilarious backdrop of the eccentric fashion of the '80s.
Always ready to help humankind, Wonder Woman finds herself on a quest to reverse the damage brought on by humanity’s selfishness. The world is caught up in the dangerous antics of a villain granting everyone’s deepest-held wishes. Weakened in battle, Wonder Woman’s sensitivity appeals to the villain’s own capacity for love to save the day.
As always in superhero movies, the special effects are spectacular. Some visual gags and '80s-era comic relief play well, too. However, it is the character story arc that continues to draw me in, and I am left wanting more of Diana Prince’s adventures.
Oh! Don’t forget to watch the credits!
Copyright 2021 Maria Morera Johnson
Images copyright 2021 Maria Morera Johnson. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Maria Morera Johnson, author of My Badass Book of Saints, Super Girls and Halo, and Our Lady of Charity: How a Cuban Devotion to Mary Helped Me Grow in Faith and Love writes about all the things that she loves. A cradle Catholic, she struggles with living in the world but not being of it, and blogs about those successes and failures, too.