On June 2, the most highly anticipated movie of 2017 hit the box office, and according to Forbes, Wonder Woman ended it's first week in theaters by raking in just under $150 million. Because this is such an inspirational movie, I decided to interview a couple of friends in order to hear their thoughts on the female-led movie that single-handedly saved the DC cinematic universe, and learn more about how this movie affected them.
1. What are your names and ages?
B: My name is Brooke and I am 20 years old.
M: I'm Molly Jane, and I'm 20 years old as well.
2. Why did you like this movie so much?
Brooke: Literally everything was awesome. It combines some of my favorite things to see in movies- superheroes, battles, action, humor- and it generally had a great story filled with relatable characters. It touched on things that are very real, like race, gender, mental illness, faith and beliefs, etc. It showed strong women in powerful positions who did not compromise their beliefs unless it was for a damn good reason. It’s a movie about a literal Wonder Woman, but it doesn’t make it weird or whatever, so people might think- yes, she’s a woman but she's a hero. A hero who just so happens to also be a woman. And I loved how Chris Pine’s character Steve realizes that! It was great because the minute he realized what these ladies could do, he’s just like, “Yeah, great, let’s do this!” instead of saying, “Ew, you’re a chick, you can’t do that!”
Molly Jane: It was empowering! This is a female superhero and the first superhero movie to ever be directed by a woman! I feel like pretty much every movie I've been to had a male director, so seeing something so epic and groundbreaking from the perspective of a woman was like trying on glasses for the first time. I was seeing what I wanted to see, how I wanted to see it!
3. What do you think was the strongest emotion you experienced when watching this film?
B: Pride, maybe? It was like watching your child go on to do something great and profound, because at first, we see her as this little girl who just wants to learn to fight, and she’s very naïve, but she wants to make a difference and help people. She risks her life multiple times in order to do what she feels is right, and despite all of the bad things that happen to her and change her as the film goes on, despite the pain and horror that she’s experienced, she learns “the ways of man,” and still chooses love over hatred. It made me proud to see such a strong, beautiful woman in such a position of power, who has seen darkness but still chooses to seek out the light and fight for the good in the world. She’s someone I would want my children to look up to someday. Her ideals of love and compassion are what we need in today’s world.
M: I felt overwhelmed, honestly. But like in a good way, if that makes sense.
4. Why is this film so important?
B: Some of the things I’ve said previously apply to this question as well. It’s just real (even though it’s about Greek gods and powers and whatnot). Firstly, this was a big budget superhero film directed by a woman. You’ve got powerful women in charge, as well as people of color, and those who are of all different ages and body types, too. They even show soldiers of different ethnicities, like Sikh and African (something that’s usually ignored in war movies). You have characters with PTSD and they’re not treated any less because of it. And you’ve got a hero who chooses to promote love and kindness, although she’s had to deal with such awful things as war and hatred. This film is so important because the actress who plays Wonder Woman, Gal Gadot, isn’t some random white girl, but someone who is actually from the Mediterranean region just like Diana, as her character comes from the mythical island of Themyscira. This is a film that shows real people without their realness being the main point. They just are who they are and there’s nothing else to be said. And despite this film being set 100 years ago, it’s still so relevant to today’s issues. We deal with hatred, war, and division amongst us, but Wonder Woman shows us that we can change that. We can love despite all the issues of the world and we should celebrate our differences. It’s what we as the world need. And if Wonder Woman means so much to me, a woman of privilege, how much does she mean to others? I literally get so emotional over this.
M: This film is important for many reasons, to be honest. But just the fact that it empowers women! The Amazons were so diverse, they were of color, they were old, they had wrinkles, and they still kicked ass! Diana was strong and smart and she was never overly sexualized. Even with Diana's literally flawless body, her thighs still jiggled on the big screen. She wasn't there for the male gaze, she was there to do what a hero is supposed to do and save the day!
5. What was your favorite scene and why?
B: The No Man’s Land scene! Pretty much everyone started tearing up and crying when Diana started walking across, deflecting bullets, and honestly, I started crying too! At first, I couldn't figure out why I was crying, but then I thought about it and realized that it was because of the intensity of the power and determination coming from such an awesome woman who was not going to let anything stop her from doing what she needed to do. There aren't really any accurate words to describe it. It's just this feeling, and when you watch it, you'll know. Patty Jenkins (the director) even said that it was her favorite scene and one that almost didn't make it into the movie!
M: The village scene where Diana pretty much took everyone out, including a sniper, and saved all the civilians single-handedly.
6. How is this movie different from other superhero movies?
B: First of all, it’s about a woman. Secondly, it’s realistic, yet still a superhero movie with all the superpowers and things. And third, the character development was fantastic! It's not a revenge driven movie. I saw an interview with Chris Pine, I think, where he talked about how the thing with Wonder Woman is that she genuinely wants to help without actually being like, "I’m just going to kill all the bad guys". She does end up killing someone to stop the war, but that wasn't her actual goal, per say. But really, she just wants to help. At one point, she thinks that man truly is helpless and corrupt, but in the end, she sees that the world isn't as black and white as she had previously thought. It shows hope for the future. Some superhero movies just end and you're thinking, “yeah, okay cool, the end,” but this one leaves you to contemplate how much good things like compassion and love can do. Also, she doesn't really put herself on a pedestal. She knows she's a hero, and that she can't get hurt the same way as humans, really, but she's not acting like everyone should worship her for it. Look at Tony Stark! This guy is just oozing arrogance, like, “Look at me I'm super rich and super smart!” but Diana is just thinking, "okay let's do this." She'll selflessly volunteer to do dangerous things because she knows she can handle it, not particularly because she finds humans weak. She just wants to protect everyone.
M: Typically if you see a female superhero, she's a part of a group and not the main focus (i.e. The Avengers or The X-Men). This is the first time a female gets the solo spotlight.
7. Why do you think it was important to have a female director for this film?
B: Because 'nobody' wants to see a movie directed by a woman. Patty had a vision for years and worked hard for this. She knew what Wonder Woman was really about. She understood her motives, and she knew that the world needed Wonder Woman, so she delivered. It's a double whammy. Not only do we get an amazing fictional female bad-ass hero, but we get a woman who directed this movie and brought this character to life. This just goes to show that even off the big screen, women are so incredibly capable of doing amazing things! They can do just as well as (and sometimes even better than) a man. It also breaks the stereotype that girls only 'like' superhero films because of their boyfriends. She's metaphorically broken through the barrier that kept women out; almost as if she's Wonder Woman herself.
M: I feel like with a male director, even when a female character is empowering, he still makes her out to be a certain level of eye candy. If you look at Star Wars, Princess Leia is super empowering and yet George Lucas said she couldn't wear a bra with her white dress and put her in that gold bikini.
8. Do you think that Marvel has any reason not to start producing superhero movies starring women?
B: Hell no. I've wanted a Black Widow movie since before I knew they were making Wonder Woman! Also, I wasn't hip to any of the other Marvel super ladies because I just didn't know them. Granted, I don’t know if any movie will be as good as Wonder Woman, but that shouldn't stop them from trying. Give us bad-ass ladies. Give us role models for boys and girls alike. Give us complex characters that are relatable. There's so many heroes that are so amazing, but it seems like the filmmakers have had a one-track mind with thinking that girls don't want stuff like this. Well we do! We've had real life super women who we look up to. Now give us some on the big screen. Show us that we are worth it. Show us that we are more than just a drawing on a page. Show us that we can make a difference. Show us that we are capable. Because we are.
M: I don't think I know enough about Marvel as a corporation to answer that efficiently.
9. Which lady superhero would you like to see on the big screen next?
B: Oh jeez, this is where my inexperienced superhero fan comes in.... I’m super interested in Black Widow because I've got so many questions about her past. Captain Marvel sounds cool too because I really don’t know much of anything about her. And I would really like to see Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy get their own film, but it might turn out like Suicide Squad, which wasn’t very good. They tried Catwoman but it was a flop, wasn't it?
M: Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy. I would love to see them pair up for an origin movie.
B: I don’t know much about them because they've just never been on the same playing field as the men, so it would be nice to be able to see them getting just as much recognition and screen time as their male counterparts. Another reason is simply that we need more representation in an obviously male dominated field. They're called superheroes, they aren't all called supermen (that'd be confusing), so why not give us more superheroes that are female. Who said they can't be heroes, too? Give us more movies, dang it!
M: These two characters have been cannoned as queer, so it'd just be another level of groundbreaking diversity in the superhero world.
11. How do you think this movie will influence younger girls?
B: It will show them that they can be heroes too. They don't need a man to save them, they don't need to take a backseat to men or other people, and they certainly don't need to have a love life to be worth something. But none of these things are bad! You can have both and be great, or you can have only one and still be great. For example, Diana doesn't need Steve except as a walking GPS, but her developing feelings for him doesn't hold her back. If anything, it actually helps her stay motivated in the specific story line with her being able to see the good in man (but that's another topic, sorry). Girls don't need to be spiteful, or mean, or hateful; they can have compassion for others and use that to work towards a better life. Fight for what you think is right. Fight for a better tomorrow. Fight for spreading love and not hate. Little kids see a hero that they can relate to as well. Diana doesn't understand the world of men, but she's not resentful towards what she doesn't know or understand. It’s the same with kids; they don't get it yet, but they can still see how much good she can do just by being a good person.
M: I think it'll help them believe that they too can be strong and powerful, and I really think that it will help them to challenge those gender stereotypes society tends to force on girls from such a young age.