So last night I saw this film, and on these very (virtual) pages said that it was the best Wonder Woman film of 2017. It was, because it communicated what the character was all about, which Patty Jenkins’s blockbuster starring Gal Gadot did not.
Wonder Woman was about love, pacifism and hope. She was about the triumph of compassion over war, over evil, over hate. I say she was about those things because she often is not about them anymore. In her new, iconic incarnation, she’s about women being able to be just as strong, just as aggressive, just as violent as men. That is not what her creator intended.
So I just got back from seeing Professor Marston and the Wonder Women, written and directed by Angela Robinson. I want to tell you why it’s a better Wonder Woman story than the one which starred Gal Gadot this past Summer, but I think I’ll start by explaining why the Gal Gadot film (actually, the Patty Jenkins film) disappointed me. I wrote this review the day after seeing that Summer blockbuster, but I didn’t publish it. It felt like I was spitting into the wind, because damn near everyone had declared that Wonder Woman (2017) was just the best superhero film ever–especially people who knew nothing about Wonder Woman and didn’t like superhero films.
Now, though, presented with what I think is a far superior film about Wonder Woman, if not starring the character, I want to share what I wrote then. Tomorrow, I hope to share my reflections on Robinson’s film.
A Lifelong Wonder Woman fan’s response to Patty Jenkins’s film
(Consider yourself spoiler-warned right now. Don’t read this if you haven’t seen the movie and don’t want to know plot details.)
I love super heroines. Always have. Before I started reading comic books, the women of the Starship Enterprise fascinated me. A while back I wrote this tribute to the character I thought was Captain Kirk’s equal as an officer and an action-heroine.
I discovered Wonder Woman when I was about nine years old. The very first story I ever read was her first cover appearance in Sensation Comics #1. (Not the original issue, but a repro from the 1970s, when DC Comics cared about its history and took lots of opportunities to introduce new readers to old stories.) I quickly ordered a similar repro of Wonder Woman #1, and so I pretty much knew from the beginning that Wonder Woman’s creator, William Moulton Marston, who wrote under the name Charles Moulton, was a psychiatrist. I knew he was the inventor of the lie detector test (but, sadly, not the person who wound up with the patent for it), and that he had created his character intentionally to give comics readers an example of a strong female. (Not just, it turns out, as a role model for girls, either.)