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This is not a highly scientific article, just an essay by a student who likes comic book adaptations and cannot understand why Wonder Woman so hyped. I would like to use meticulously researched examples to prove why my opinion of this film is justified, but for that I would have to watch it a second time and my money is too bad for that.
Warning: This text contains massive spoilers. Anyone who has not seen the film and intends to do so should not read any further at this point.
In this film, women are guaranteed not to be portrayed as unrealistic sex objects. Promised!
All the positive reviews overWonder Woman- and I've read at least half a dozen exuberant reviews praising the film about the green clover - highlight the fact that the film breaks with sexism and the popular gender stereotypes inherent in the genre. After all, it is Wonder Woman the first superhero film to feature a female heroine (something that Marvel has not managed to date) and was also made by a female director. It is all the more sad that he still falls into the sexism trap, even if he tries very hard to plead the opposite.
An example: the scene when Diana stands in front of the mirror in London in the early 20th century and complains that you can't fight properly in the stiff clothes of the era. After all, what is she wearing when she confronts the “bad” General Ludendorff at a party organized by the enemy? That's right, an evening dress and one with such a wide neckline that you can easily see the sword that she is carrying strapped to her back. And the reason that she had to wear the outfit to sneak in at the party doesn't make it any better, because what kind of camouflage is that when you can see the budding murder weapon at first glance?
Besides, has anyone ever looked at Diana's combat outfit? I mean that armor that looks like a metal-reinforced swimsuit that vaguely resembles the American flag. The boots that come with it have a heel that I couldn't even walk on, let alone fight. But hey, the main thing Diana looks exactly like her oversexualized counterpart in the comics.
Just to make it clear: I don't mind women walking around in films with light clothes on. Gal Gadot is a stunningly beautiful woman and her outfits really show that off. In addition, women can wear whatever they want. The question is how this is presented to the viewer. Why am I now being sold as feminist in a film in which only women walk around in hot costumes while all men wear uniforms or dirty clothes? Why, even with the work of a female director, is still unmistakably the paint gauze to be recognized as focus? I don't mind the fact that Diana is sexy, but the way you get poked at it over and over again, as if this superhero really doesn't have any other attributes.
Of course it has Wonder Woman also its strong points. A scene that I appreciated, even if it was somehow different awkward felt like (which was probably intended) is where Diana falls asleep on the boat next to Steve Trevor. First the American spy wants toblatant love interest were the proper distance, but Diana, who has never met a man before, does not understand at all why a man and a woman cannot just lie next to each other without the situation having to have a sexual background. Diana actually proves that she knows more about human relationships than Steve. Unfortunately, that's pretty much the only moment like this in the whole film, which brings us to my second problem in the category sexism come: Permit that Born Sexy Yesterday trope.
Born Sexy Yesterday is a film cliché that was first described by the Youtuber Pop Culture Detective (the video can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0thpEyEwi80&t=799s). Roughly speaking, it describes the situation in which an adult woman who has no experience of our world is given a male companion to explain the world in question to her. Often the woman has never met a male before and is therefore fascinated by her new partner. Needless to say, she falls in love with him shortly afterwards. And although the woman is often portrayed with almost childlike naivety and innocence, a “romantic” sexual relationship naturally emerges from it. Yuck.
Well what can I say, Diana is the perfect example of this. All I have to do is cite the scene in which Diana meets Steve bathing and stares curiously at his body while she asks him if he sees himself as a typical representative of his species. "I'm above average," Steve explains to her and I just grimace at this not at all funny joke. (By the way, you can do one too paint gauze disguise as feminist.)
The growing romance between Steve and Diana runs throughout the film. One could argue that the reason the two find each other so attractive is because they fight side by side, creating mutual admiration. In reality, however, their shared experiences mainly consist of scenes in which Steve tries to prevent Diana from doing something that is socially prohibited, while Diana overrides it and gets them both in trouble. (Sometimes, and these are the highlights of the film, however, she also has success, which in turn makes Steve look stupid.) On the whole, the dynamic is more reminiscent of a mentor and his student, which makes the romance cringeworthy here.
Maybe I'm alone with this opinion, but Diana's almost childlike naivete, which is often used for slapstick jokes, does not go well with her romance with Steve and the implied sex scene later in the film. It just feels wrong on many different levels and I say that, who is by no means averse to a good romance. Above all, however, it is simply not a bit feminist when a strong heroine is propagated, who then in reality only needs a man who she can admire and who explains the world to her.
When one of my British friends asked me after going to the cinema how I thought the film, my somewhat capricious answer was: "It was okay, but the plot was bullsh * t." And I hold on to it.
On the one hand there are strong parallels to the first Captain America film, which has a very similar concept: A tall, blond, American hero named Steve with bright blue eyes, who is supported by a dark-haired, brown-eyed beauty, fights against the German Empire , represented by a bunch of brutal ones weirdos with partially disfigured faces. In the end, the hero sacrifices himself by bringing an airplane loaded with bombs out of range of human settlement areas and killing himself in the process. (Or, in the case of Captain America, it is frozen in the ice.) Incidentally, a plot element that was also used in the last Batman part of the Nolan trilogy and, in my opinion, is ripe for the moth box.
Disregarding the logic flaws of the end - why didn't the Steves just parachute themselves to life before the plane exploded / crashed? Couldn't they somehow defuse the bombs? Why is it always the man who has to sacrifice himself for everyone, even if the protagonist of the film is a woman? - there are some other inconsistencies to be found. For example the fact that Diana is able to speak English and all other languages in the world without errors because she has learned a prototype of all European languages as a mother tongue.
I'm really not a linguistic genius, but that's complete nonsense. On the one hand, because not all European languages actually go back to a common predecessor. (Ask a Finn or Estonian how easy it was for him to learn English!) Second, because the Indo-European language (the common ancestor of English, Greek, French and other languages that Diana speaks) has been extinct for 5,000 years and certainly did not survive on a small island that was only created in ancient Greece. Third, because even the ability to speak Indo-European would not allow a person to understand their daughter languages. I mean, it would be as if, just because I learned Latin, I could suddenly speak all the Romance languages. Funny, the last time I heard Romanian, I didn't understand a single word. And hardly two millennia have passed since the two languages were separated!
As ridiculous as that explanation is the way the languages are portrayed in the film. Whenever Diana speaks Greek, English or French, it is actually that language that is used and so does all of the other characters. But as soon as any character speaks German, this is made clear by the fact that the character continues to speak English, but with a strong and extremely bad German accent. Dear actors (and yes, this is mainly aimed at Chris Pine), I know what a German accent sounds like in English. I have one myself. And I can assure you that it is not enough to simply replace all "th" sounds with an "s" and pronounce everything much harder and more brutally. The latter will only mean that a few frustrated German cinema viewers will only watch the synchronized version in the future.
Whereby we would be on the last point, the representation of the bad guys in the movie aka Hollywood's favorite group of evil, genocidal super-fascists: The Germans ™. I thought I'd seen everything about bad representations of my nation in Hollywood movies, but Wonder Woman taught me better.
At this point, the points merge seamlessly, because I have to start with what is probably the worst plot in the film: the motivation of the villains. The scriptwriters just couldn't make up their minds here. Right from the start, you are presented with the historically not entirely undisputed fact that the First World War (yes, we have one of the rare cases here where it is actually not about the Second World War) was started by Germany. Just - why?
The film offers two explanations for this. Diana's reasoning, and the main plot drive of the film is that The Germans ™ were possessed by the god of war Ares in the guise of the real German General Ludendorff, who turned them into the evil, callous creatures who commit one massacre after another during the film. I admit, when the explanation first came up, I laughed out loud, but not out of amusement. Ludendorff? Seriously? Sure, the man was a Nazi sympathizer from the very beginning and has millions of lives on his conscience, but under Ares I always imagined a young, muscular man in Greek clothes and not a uniformed Prussian general with a ridiculous snot.
Throughout the film it is assumed that Diana's rather naive idea will turn out to be wrong, although Ludendorff tries hard to be an even bigger A **** than his historical role model. When Diana finally rams a sword through his heart, the spectator is almost relieved because his death has absolutely no effect on his soulless Minions, i.e. the German army.
But then comes the only, not completely predictable plot twist of the film. The real Ares reveals (senselessly) his identity and provides reason number two for the outbreak of the First World War. People are just naturally violent, he explains, and he just gave the Germans a nudge in the “right” direction.
This not entirely nonsensical justification, which would at least give the film something like a moral, is destroyed again at the end of the film when Diana also kills the real Ares and you can see how the evil shadow on the faces of the now completely disoriented German soldiers who have just torched an entire Flemish village. You ask yourself: If it was really only Ares ‘evil influence that drove the Germans to war, how does DC explain World War II to us? Perhaps this time it is Mars, Ares ischer Roman successor, who wields his diabolical power? Or someone from Norse mythology, Tyr, maybe? The spirit Ares Geist may also have survived and is now attacking one of them post-credits scene a certain Austrian corporal who ought to be hanging around somewhere on the front in Flanders? Honestly, I wouldn't have wondered anymore.
However, the film made the Second World War impossible anyway because, contrary to the historical reality, it did not allow Hindenburg and Ludendorff to survive the war. Later, however, both were more or less directly involved in Hitler's seizure of power and at least without Hindenburg, who succumbed to the fatal error that he could “control” Hitler, he would probably never have become Chancellor. I'm curious about the explanation DC will offer us in the next film, even if I doubt that one will come.
But why, the interested reader might ask, did I call this section “Germanophobia” when it’s all about plot holes again?
Very easily. It is a well-known phenomenon in cinema history that apparently only Germans and Russians make good film villains. Every now and then a Brit or a member of another nationality comes along, but he always has to be in connection with one of the two nations mentioned above in order to pass as a convincing villain. That's just the way it is and apparently nobody seems to care. Germans and Russians make good antagonists because you don't have to justify their motivation. They are simply evil by nature, or at least unable to question the insidious intentions of their superiors. In many films this even works, because the background of the Second World War is used and the Nazis can simply never be portrayed evil enough to come close to reality. I mean that seriously.
Nobody expects a concentration camp commandant or Stasi lieutenant to be presented in a differentiated manner. There are films that do that, and they are often very good ones, such as The Lives of Others, but ultimately it takes a lot of space and time to shed light on the nature of such a character and there is no room for that in an action blockbuster. As I said, that's understandable. Why me the phenomenon Wonder Woman still pissed off? Because it's the First World War. And the classic black-and-white division simply cannot be applied to it.
A war that began when a Serb shoots an Austrian cannot be broken down to the basic formula “The Germans are angry and the rest of the world must defeat them”. And there are moments in the film when even Steve Trevor has to admit that the politics behind this war are too complex to simply differentiate between good and bad. But unfortunately the film shows its incoherence again by leaving no room for other interpretations at the end.
In my opinion, both of the above reasons are fundamentally wrong and even offensive to all people who consider themselves German or whose ancestors fought on the side of the Central Powers in the First World War. If one goes after the explanation that Ares ‘has no real power over the people, one comes to the conclusion that the Germans are fundamentally evil and only commit the crimes shown in the film because it corresponds to their true nature. This includes experimenting with poison gas on living people and of course the gas is only used by the Germans in war. Exactly.
The other reason, namely that Ares filled all German war participants (the participation of Italy, Bulgaria, the Ottoman Empire and Austria-Hungary on the part of the Central Powers is of course ignored) with his evil energy, is just as insulting. She is a slap in the face of all young men, many of them still teenagers, who fought on the German side in the war because they actually believed in doing the right thing and protecting their country. A motivation that should not be alien to the Americans.
One of the films that has influenced me the most in my life is nothing new in the West. I would love to see the makers of this film Wonder Woman Acting out so that they realize that the German soldiers were also people with dreams and goals and that it did not need an evil god of war, but only targeted propaganda and an outdated ideal of masculinity to drive thousands of young men into war and thus to their death. In World War I, and I just have to emphasize this again at this point, there was no good or bad. In fact, there is no war to which this black and white painting can be applied, not even World War II. And I say this without any political agenda, without patriotism or (God forbid) the intention to in any way downplay the war crimes that were also committed by my ancestors. Simply because a reason such as “The Germans are angry” ignores the great tragedy of the First World War. Because touching moments like the Christmas peace of 1914 cannot be explained with it. Because the assignment of sole war guilt to Germany after the defeat was viewed critically even by contemporary British and Americans and was perceived as such an injustice in Germany that it garnered massive votes for the NSDAP in the 1933 election. War and politics are so much more complex than Wonder Woman and other films of its kind would lead us to believe. And therein lies the danger. Because the moment we start dividing up into good and bad, we forget that there are always people on both sides and we ourselves become the callous puppets as the German soldiers in Wonder Woman being represented. At least in creating this image, the film left an interesting message.
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