Okay, so last night I saw Wonder Woman (my 12-year-old son’s choice for his birthday). It was fantastic, but something happened during it that I didn’t expect. I mean, maybe I should have? But I didn’t.
There comes a point in the movie a little ways in during which she rises — both to the occasion and literally into the shot on the screen — and I got chills. Tears pressed into my eyes and stayed. I just…it really hit me that I was seeing the origin story of a female superhero in a way I had never seen before.
I watched the Wonder Woman television show as a kid. But the rest of my life was watching/reading about male superheroes. Yes, there have been some films about strong women, and there have been great women in those male-centric superhero stories, but she genuinely was the star of the show here. It was HER story. She was always on screen. Even when she was quiet, people were turned to her, following her lead, putting their faith in her. She carried this movie. Diana Diana Diana, in her very own 2 hour, 21 minute feature film.
Anyway, it hit me that I was seeing something for the first time. I’ve watched all the guys’ and their male enemies’ origin stories play out in one way or another over the years, but this one was unapologetically Her Story.
And I felt it.
The little girl who was familiar with the tangible ache of a lack of representation, a lack of enough people agreeing that a woman’s hero story could be just as interesting and valuable as a man’s, was now a grown woman watching her daughter and son have their norm shifted from what hers was at their age to something so much better.
And I felt so truly, fully grateful for it.
ME IN MY RED WONDER WOMAN UNDEROOS, WHICH MY MOM DID NOT KNOW I WORE UNDER A WHITE SHIRT ON SCHOOL PICTURE DAY. 1980, AGE 4 1/2.
As for the movie, itself? It was kick-ass awesomeness. Full of action with the perfect amount of humor, darkness, and heart. It shows that kindness can fuel strength in a way not much else can. Go see it right now. Not sure whether to take this kids? This is a great guide to help you decide.
And a little more food for thought: A woman (Patty Jenkins) directed this movie, which currently has a 93% score on Rotten Tomatoes, making it one of the highest-rated superhero movies of all time. That, combined with an opening weekend of $101.4M (cha-CHING!), could possibly kick open more doors for female directors on big-budget films, and female-centric movies, period, which sounds pretty wonderful to me.
(I should note that Catwoman was technically an origin story in theory, but it was missing so many things. When I watched it, I didn’t get the same feelings I got with Wonder Woman. It felt more like something gratuitous by men for the pleasure of other men, rather than a genuine character film. So even though it’s about a woman, it wasn’t for her or the females who may have seen her as a hero, and the focus wasn’t on her origin at all, really. Making it — in my book, at least — not really count as a pure origin story film. Now, in comparison to WW, I think we all can see that they could have done so much better by her if they really tried. Let’s hope that from now on they do.)
Kim Bongiorno is an author, full time freelance writer, and the blogger behind Let Me Start By Saying. You can find her on Facebook and Twitter, hire her to write for you or speak at your event, or buy her banana pancakes because they are delicious.