Thursday, July 6, 2017

Girrrrrl, You Got it Goin' On...

by Stacey Fearheiley

So,  never to leave a dead horse unkicked*, Eric and I had a little discussion "offline" about the Wonder Woman film after I had a chance to see it and I thought I'd share a few of our takeaways.

So much controversy, so little reason?  

Eric: I say "Get over it."  All the complaining about this film not being “feminist enough” is just evidence, to me, that we only have one female-led superhero movie that was a hit IN THE HISTORY OF FILM. Let’s just enjoy the fact that this was a hit, and hope that this means more superheroine women will follow, and maybe those movies to come will be everything you want them to be. I could say a lot more, but our friend Stefani actually wrote a great essay about the whole thing, so I’ll just point people there.

Stacey:  I agree to a certain extent.  I think that it is a really good movie.  I think it is the best DC Comics movie so far.  I loved Gal Gadot.  Thought the casting was great. BUT.  I think putting this movie forward as the End-All/Be -All for women directed/led films isn't fair to it.  It is an action flick, plain and simple, where the lead happens to be female.  I want more of them, but to throw this up as the best and greatest isn't fair.  No movie can be all things to all people.  I think the expectations were unfair, whether you believe WW met them or not.

What about Chris Pine as the "heroine"?

Stacey:  I could watch Chris Pine dial a phone.  He can do anything he wants and I will watch.  Here's where I am....he's the love interest of the lead.  Since the lead is a straight female, the love interest should be a male.  He is...and he's lovely.  Not only that, he is a good actor and his comic timing is perfect.  Everything you want  in the hero's romantic lead.

Eric: YES!!  Chris Pine is so good in this movie. He probably gets to see more action than most of the Lois Lanes and Pepper Potts – the girls who hang out alongside male superheroes. But to my mind, that’s the fault of those other movies. He looks great, he’s really funny, and is a terrific foil for the very earnest Diana.

Some favorite moments?

Eric:  I loved how subversive this movie is. There’s a whole “shopping sequence” that – on its face – was taken right out of any rom-com where the heroine needs a perfect dress to make all her dreams come true. In this one, she tries on outfit after outfit and is dismayed by them all. Not because they’re not pretty enough, but because she can’t fight in them. Because it’s a funny moment, the social commentary is subtle, but if you’re looking for it, boy it’s there – all about the way that women are literally restrained by societal convention in a container to make them docile, subservient, and unable to bend over, much less go into battle.

I also loved the moment – a tiny, tiny moment – when Diana sees her first baby, and is immediately drawn to this infant, only to be deterred by Steve Trevor. It’s a telling moment, and awfully girly, but it doesn’t diminish her bad-ass self one bit. She can be girly, and she can kick ass, and both of those things can co-exist.

Stacey:  I totally loved the "baby" scene.  I felt it rounded her out a bit.  She'd never seen one, only read about them...and there was a live one right in front of her.  It was female, but also just human. 

One of my truly favorite parts was pure action.  When she steps out of the foxhole into No Man's Land, with her shield up and bullets bouncing all around and still she pushes on.  We've seen boys do this in TONS of movies since the beginning of time.  To see her do it with the guys behind her, kind of shrugging and then following....really fun.  Had a smile on my face the whole time.

Thoughts on the supporting characters?

Stacey: One thing I absolutely loved was the fact that when she finally gets her gang of misfit fighters together, there isn't this long drawn out conflict of "should we really be following a woman? Is she really suited for leading us?"  etc. etc.  Once they see her do her stuff...literally, ONCE, they're on board with it.  Done.  She the boss.  Let's go.  It was so refreshing.

Of course the show stealer/stopper and character there wasn't nearly enough of was...

Eric:   Etta Candy!!  She’s barely in the film, but I just adored Lucy Davis in this role. Because of the World War I setting of this film, she likely won’t be back for the sequel, which will probably step forward in time by at least a few decades – but she’ll be missed. Aside from the horrible “Dr. Poison,” there weren’t many other female characters of note once we left Paradise Island – and even though Etta is not an Amazon, she’s witty and a bit brazen, completely committed to her cause of helping the Allies defeat the bad guys, and – if you blinked, you probably missed it – a suffragette.

Stacey:   Here's my dream:  That in subsequent films with WW as lead, they go back in time and connect the modern story with history some how and we see Etta as Diana's secretary and are able to have fun with that relationship as Etta teaches Diana how the world works, etc.  That's my dream.

Downsides/ Disappointments of the movie?

Eric: Could we not have found a way to include Lynda Carter in a tiny guest spot? As Diana first gets to London, perhaps a gaggle of suffragettes in white being led by Lynda? It would have made the audience cheer, and I bet she would have done it. Oh well, you can still catch her on the CW’s Supergirl as yes, the President of the United States. 

Stacey:  Leave it to you, fanboy, to find a way to get Supergirl into a conversation about Wonder Woman!

For me, I could do without the higher heel on her boots when fighting for right, truth  and the democratic way against Nazis.  I also, sorry actor who played the main villain (trying not to spoil it for those who haven't seen the movie yet), would have liked a stronger foe. Disappointed in who Ares turned out to be and the actor who portrayed that god.

Final thoughts on Wonder Woman, the movie...

Eric: I think it is definitely a feminist movie.  No argument.  I love the fact that throughout the entire film, men keep telling her to either stay put or stay quiet, and she never obeys. 

Stacey: I concur.  Feminist in the truest way.  She was equal (sometimes MORE than equal) to any man she met.   Should this be the big FEMINIST BEACON of HOLLYWOOD?  No. I don't think so.  But, I reiterate that I loved that after initial skepticism, once she proved that she could play the game like the boys, the boys accepted it and moved on.  (Sometimes this was not historically accurate...but I don't care.)

Yes, loved too that she never "did as she was told."  She considered other ideas,  evaluated the situation, made her own decision and did what she wanted.  She kept on going.

Eric: Nevertheless, she persisted.

*No actual horses were harmed in the writing of this blog.

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