Wonder Woman Had Me Floored 5 Minutes Into The Movie

Wonder Woman Had Me Floored 5 Minutes Into The Movie

I had no idea what I was in for when I sat down to watch this iconic movie. Wonder Woman joins the historic ranks of all-time must-see movies.

Finally.

Women around the world are breathing out a sigh of relief. Finally, the female hero we need. The female hero we deserve. "Wonder Woman" is everything we wanted and more. It’s the feminist movie that isn’t a feminist movie, and director Patty Jenkins, a badass Wonder Woman of her own, outdid herself.

**Caution: Spoilers Ahead!**

Wonder Woman Poster (Gal Gadot) l Warner Bros.


The movie starts with a scene that you’ve seen many times before, yet it’s like nothing you’ve ever seen. It’s a battlefield, war horses with soldiers galloping through the ranks, valiantly fighting and destroying the opposition. But the soldiers are women, amazing, powerful and beautiful Amazonian women. The scene is incredible, a cinematographic win, with so many women on the battlefield, so much power and grace-- it’s truly moving. It’s something you didn’t even realize you needed, as Caroline Framke so eloquently puts it. But the best part about the movie is how natural it all feels. Clearly, seeing so many capable women in one place is rare, but the movie makes it feel like of course this is exactly what’s supposed to be happening. It presents these bold feminist statements as simple facts; Jenkins doesn’t let the fact that we’re seeing something unprecedented on such a big screen distract from the story. Which is the biggest and most important stride in feminism we need. We’re in awe of how amazing these women are, not the fact that they’re women.

The movie is not about feminism, but it still feels like a huge win with all of its bold subtleties (an oxymoron, yes, but how else do you describe something like this?) Diana’s costume is one of those bold subtleties; in fact, even the casting of Gal Gadot as Diana is one of them. Gal Gadot is 32 (which is often considered old for Hollywood, although she looks absolutely poppin) and is Israeli. WHAT A HUGE WIN. She’s of course the perfect choice, because she’s beautiful and a wonderful actress and strong and powerful beyond any imagination, but she brings a beautiful ethnicity into play as well. The movie does such a good job with representative casting (although I think we missed an South Asian Amazonian from this movie), and the lead being of an ethnic minority is a refreshing change from the caucasian faces we are used to seeing as our action heroes.

Gal Gadot as Diana l Clay Enos/Warner Bros. Pictures


Gal Gadot Gal Gadot is beautiful, but she’s also realistic, as are all of the Amazonian women. They take their flawless beauty in full stride-- if you’re beautiful, don’t be ashamed of it. But their beauty doesn’t distract. Makeup is minimal on screen, giving them a very natural look, and instead allows the attention to be drawn to the powerful head-dress pieces and crowns they wear. These aren’t your regular shiny gold and diamond tiaras. These are war helmets, strategically covering their faces but allowing for movement. It’s an amazing sight to behold; these women who are beautiful, yes, but more than that, who are powerful. But don’t get me wrong, their beauty isn’t understated. The Wonder Woman costume and the battle garb of the Amazonians beautifully accentuates their athletic and strong bodies. I was, at first, disappointed that they chose to keep Diana’s traditional costume, because I had always seen it as a sexualizing, mysoginistic outfit that they squeezed her into to create the sex appeal for the audience, which was mainly boys who got most of their action from movies and comic books. But keeping Diana in that costume was a great move. It celebrated her body and her physique, and yeah, it made her look hot. It took what was seen as sexualizing and reappropriated it into something that accentuates her power and her femininity. It sends the message to girls that they have nothing to be ashamed of, and that their bodies are nothing to sexualize or hide. Diana’s body was real, and damn it, she was beautiful. Once again, she empowered women by embracing what they have.

But the movie didn’t seek to diminish men in the midst of all this. Yes, there were a lot of “You don’t need a man,” moments in the movie, which I was absolutely in love with. It showed an independent and strong woman. Diana shamelessly overshadowed Steve, who was, by all definitions (including his own), not an average man. But it still showed that Steve was powerful too, as were all of his companions. What "Wonder Woman" did amazingly well, what Jenkins deserves a thousand standing ovations for, was the grace with which Steve was portrayed. He was all set out to act like a manly man and protect Diana, who in his eyes looked like someone lost and in need of protecting, aided of course by the fact that she was a woman. But when he realized that Diana was in fact badass extraordinaire, he stepped back and let her take the reins. He didn’t make a fuss about losing his manhood because a woman took the charge. He instead stood in awe of her, and respected her. That right there is what made the movie feel so natural and well-deserved. That is the example set for our young boys and girls, that girls can take the lead and that boys can follow. Amazing.

The movie has taught us to embrace our roles, and to embrace shifting roles as well. There is a lot of focus on the idea of love, an effeminate topic. Traditionally, there’s no place for love in a superhero movie, not while you’re blowing up bad guys. But Diana is a woman, and the movie has done an amazing job reminding us of the fact that running away from what biologically and evolutionarily makes you a woman doesn’t empower women. Embracing it and drawing your power from it empowers women. There is nothing wrong or weak about using love as your power, or about embracing what it is that makes you you.

There’s a lot to learn from "Wonder Woman" but the most important thing to learn from the success of the movie is that this can’t be a one-hit-wonder. "Wonder Woman" has paved a new path in major cinema, and my hope is that many more will follow, for all the Wonder Women in our world.



Wonder Woman Trailer l Warner Bros.

Cover Image Credit: Entertainment Weekly

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Why YouTube's New Regulations Discriminate Against Small Channels

No 1,000 subscribers? No money.

On January 16th, YouTube made changes to its Partner Program. These changes pertain to the threshold for monetization. Originally, content creators were eligible for monetization if they had 10,000 or more lifetime views, that is, 10,000 public views.

Now, creators will be required to have 4,000 hours of watch time from the past twelve months, as well as at least 1,000 subscribers. If a content creator does not meet these criteria, they will be unable to monetize their videos.

In a blog post, YouTube announced that this change in monetization regulations is being put in place in order to "prevent bad actors from harming the inspiring and original creators around the world who make their living on YouTube". YouTube also claims that they have arrived at the decision to create these new regulations after "conversations with creators". However, the online response by creators towards YouTube's new policies have been almost entirely negative, with many people saying that it would be better to simply punish the channels that are misusing the platform instead of punishing the platform as a whole.

YouTube themselves have stated in the previously mentioned blog post that these changes will effect a significant number of platform users, but have tried to write this off by explaining that 99% of the effected users are making less than $100 a year on YouTube. However, this really isn't a fair excuse.

Yes, $100 is not a lot of money, but think about it this way. This is money that these creators could be using to improve their videos and grow their channels. Now, however, they no longer will be earning the money to do so.

If YouTube wanted to gain more users and dedicated viewers, it is more likely that they would of implemented a different policy, perhaps one that makes stricter guidelines for content. By making it harder for small channels to monetize their views, YouTube appears to only care about their larger channels, often run by internet celebrities who partner with YouTube's streaming service, YouTube Red, to create or star in feature length films or television shows.

It is worth noting that the majority of the top comments on the YouTube blog post are "sub for sub", that is "subscription for subscription". Most of the people commenting this have also included additions such as "if everyone reading this did a sub for sub we could all get at least 1,000 subscribers".

It's clear that while the new guidelines are definitely a blow to smaller channels, many smaller creators are banding together and supporting each other. Many larger creators have spoke up online, offering smaller creators ways to make money while they build up their subscriber base, such as starting up a Patreon (a membership platform where people can give money to creators and receive small gifts or prizes in return).

If YouTube wants to continue to gain users, they shouldn't make changes to the platform that penalize smaller users. Yes, the bigger users bring in the money for YouTube, but in order to continue to grow as a platform, they need to appeal to new users, and encourage smaller channels to keep creating.

Cover Image Credit: pixabay

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'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' Is A Hidden Gem Of The 90s

The first film based on our favorite pizza-eating dudes is a lot deeper than you'd think.

Like many, I have been a fan of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise since I was a young boy. I have fond memories of watching the original cartoon, playing the various video games, playing with the toys and reading the comic books. Also, like many, I have fond memories of the live-action films that were released in the early 1990s.

While looking back on the first three film I noticed that films two and three didn't exactly hold up well. While "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze" is fun, it's overall a shallow experience. "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III" was a straight-up bad film with obnoxious writing and characters. However, that wasn't the case when I decided to watch the first film.

"Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" was released in 1990 and was a really big hit that year. Looking back at the film, I was surprised to find a sizable amount of thematic depth in the film. I know that sounds surprising coming from a movie based on a cartoon that was used to sell toy, but if "The LEGO Movie" has taught me anything it's that even films based on products can have great characters and depth.

The film's theme is primarily that of fatherhood. Through the characters of Splinter (Kevin Clash) and Shredder (James Saito) we see examples of loving fatherhood and exploitative fatherhood. Splinter is portrayed as an old fashioned father who disciplines the turtles, but always shows them that he loves them and would risk his life for their well being.

By contrast, the Shredder is a surrogate father figure to many of the disenfranchised children and teens of New York City. The Shredder uses their adolescent love of games, smoking, and a sense of belonging to lure them into his criminal empire (The Foot) and uses them to commit various street crimes. He he gives these emotionally troubled youths a "family" and in return he receives loyalty from them.

In many ways this is how real world street gangs maintain a sense of loyalty among its members. Most gang members start as children from broken homes and families. These young people find their escape in the gang which becomes a surrogate family to them. In return they pledge loyalty to that "family" and do everything in their power to protect their "family" from those that would harm it, such as police or rival gangs.

We see both of these examples of fatherhood play out in the film. We see Splinter try to reason with one of the members of the Foot and tells him the story of his origin. This act of kindness and the desire to understand the boy results in the boy helping our heroes in the final fight. We also witness Splinter putting his own life at risk to protect his sons, both when he is being interrogated by Shredder and during the final battle.

Shredder, on the other hand, cares only for his criminal empire and his desire to wipe out his enemies. He may seem like a "cool dad" who brings you games and totally "gets" you, but he eventually reveals that he wasn't all that great and wasn't the type of father you needed. This is punctuated by the boy beginning to fear him when Shredder discovers that he's been talking to the imprisoned Splinter behind his back, and when Shredder's henchman takes out his frustration on one of the Foot ninjas and doesn't seem to care.

The films is good for many other reasons as well. The characters are likable and the costumes are great examples of practical effects work. The fight scenes are really well done and impressive, especially when you remember that actors in hot and bulky costumes had to perform them. The film also has a well-realized gritty aesthetic that reminds viewers of the original comic Ninja Turtles and give New York City this realistic, lived-in feel.

While the film's dialog isn't that great, and the pacing and cinematography are nothing to write home about; it is still a well made children's film that may go a bit deeper than you realize. If you are a fan of the franchise or you have children who are curious about the things their parents loved as kids, then I recommend you give it a watch. It's certainly better than most of the Ninja Turtles films you see nowadays (wow, do I feel old saying that)!

Cover Image Credit: YouTube

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