Yes, we saw the early trailers for “Wonder Woman” and thought we’d be in for a rip-roaring action adventure movie with a female lead.
Not since Luc Besson delivered “Lucy” in 2014 had we seen anything interesting with a female lead.
Of course now with “Wonder Woman” we were dealing with DC Comics and a Comic-Con, boys-with-their-fingers-up-their-noses sensibility.
And sure enough, the Little Boys Club School of Movie-making is on full-blown display in “Wonder Woman.”
We know. We know. We’ve seen the director’s credit of Patty Jenkins splashed across the screen for “Wonder Woman.” Patty Jenkins, we’re told, is a woman.
Well, just as children are known to be cruel to pets, female directors can be cruel to their female protagonists.
Wonder Woman – Diana Prince -is not her own person. Once the boy – Steve Trevor -enters the picture, the picture becomes all about the boy.
The action follows Steve. The camera follows Steve. Director Jenkins even gives Trevor more prominent positioning within the film frame than Diana. Many times, it’s Diana that’s following Steve as they walk along, a subservient Wonder Woman.
In a British Parliament scene Steve actually shoves Diana out of the room.
Wonder Woman gets pushed out the door by a man? Yes!
Line readings? Trevor has more lines than Diana. Count them.
The film’s action is driven not by Diana but by the men in the film. Diana simply reacts to what the men in the film are doing, whether it’s hero Steve or his acolytic band of merry men.
How is THIS a female empowerment film?
At one point during a WWI battle scene Diana charges out alone onto the battlefield with her shield against hundreds of German troops. Ooops! She gets stuck! With all her superpowers, Wonder Woman gets stuck.
What’s a girl to do? Why, wait for the men to rescue her, like Hero Steve and the troops do here. Wonder Woman gets rescued by the boys. This is not the only example. Diana gets rescued numerous times by Steve and the boys.
Yeah. And this is a female empowerment film.
Did we forget to mention the film was written by some teenage boys? Oh. Well. It was. (Hmm…some editor just whispered in our ear we can’t print that about the screenwriters being teenaged boys, cause it’s not true. But, what the heck, if it seems true, we’ll write it anyway.)
We saved the worst indignity for last:
The entire thrust of the film was supposed to be Wonder Woman’s “Inner Strength” coming from believing in herself – this was established in the very beginning of the film in scenes when she was a small child learning how to fight.
Flash forward to her Grand Battle Royale with the Evil god Ares. And Diana isn’t doing so good. In fact, she’s losing.
But wait! She finally gains that Inner Strength and belief in herself that all Enlightened, Modern Women seek!
And how is this miracle accomplished?
Wonder Woman gains all her power and becomes whole when – get this, now – little ol’ Steve Trevor tells her that he luvs her wit all his iddy bitty heart.
Yes. A woman cannot be whole unless she has the love of a man.
To use the vernacular of these times – WTF!?
To drive home the point of who the real hero is of this film, at the end Director Jenkins gathers a huge London crowd adoringly around a shrine of the now dead Trevor as the soundtrack soars.
Diana, Wonder Woman, the real hero of the story who killed the evil god of war and ended WWI and brought peace to Earth, our female director Patty Jenkins has her positioned as just a small figure amongst the crowd.
Directed by a woman.
Touted by all as a female empowerment film.
Even more, touted in mass media publications as part of a Grand Movement for Women Everywhere.
The media was sure Hillary Clinton was going to be the next President of these United States of America.
Just like the media now believes “Wonder Woman” is some conquering feminist hero film movement.
When The Trumpster does his ridiculous riffs about the media it resonates with his ignorant base. We tend to laugh it off.
Yet, there are other distinct narrative angles taken by the media that are in direct contrast to the facts.
Buying into these false media narratives without discernment or logical discourse by those who know better, well…whether it’s Rupert Murdoch’s Right-wing publications in Great Britain or Arthur O. Sulzberger, Jr’s ragsheet here in New York, what does it lead to?
Lemmings to the sea.
Or, Trump to the presiden-cy.
PS: It cannot be discounted that the film “Wonder Woman” was largely backed with Chinese funding by Chinese Wanda Pictures and most of its profits will come from overseas. How much influence did the Chinese – who see NO interest in Women’s Rights – have over story content in this, the biggest tentpole film of 2017?