“Wonder Woman” Is Overdue, But She Arrived At Exactly The Right Time

This review contains spoilers. 

Near the end of the first act of Wonder Woman, Diana tells Steve Trevor that he wouldn’t like Amazon writings on sex. The conclusion of the 12 volumes, she says, is that while men are necessary for reproduction, they are not necessary for pleasure. “Preach!” a woman in my packed theater in New York City cried out at Diana’s declaration, and a delighted ripple of laughter made its way through the crowd. That moment of collective bliss, however, had nothing on the unified chorus of cheers that went up 30 minutes later when Diana of Themyscira hoisted herself out of a World War I bunker in the middle of No Man’s Land, revealing her full regalia to the audience for the first time. Sword of Athena. Bracelets of Submission. Lasso of Truth. Wonder Woman, at last, on the silver screen.

Wonder Woman stands alone with Batman and Superman when it comes to iconic American superheroes — but unlike Batman and Superman, most people have no idea where she came from or why she took on the mantle of fighting bad guys. Everyone knows Clark Kent fell out of the sky over Smallville and Bruce Wayne’s parents were gunned down in an alley in Gotham City. Superman’s a do-gooder alien. Batman’s a tortured vigilante. As their faces and costumes have shifted from big screen to small screen to comic book and back again over the last 75 years, Superman and Batman’s origin stories and characterizations have remained largely the same. But until now, the only thing most people knew about Wonder Woman is that she looks like Lynda Carter.

The reason why is pretty obvious: To tell the story of Wonder Woman’s origin you have to introduce the world to Themyscira, a utopia where there is “no want, no illness, no hatreds, no wars.” There are also no men. Paradise Island is home to only women. Women warriors, women caretakers, women artisans, women governors, and a woman queen. “How can they not all be in same sex relationships?” current Wonder Woman writer Greg Rucka wondered aloud recently. It caused a stir, but he was only echoing what other writers have been saying on and off since Robert Kanigher first declared all Amazons lesbians in the 1960s. There’s a reason Wonder Woman and the her sisters exclaim “Suffering Sappho!” every time they turn around. The Amazons of Themyscira don’t need men for anything, not even for pleasure. Is it any wonder Hollywood had to be strong armed and shamed into making this film?

Gloriously, director Patty Jenkins lingers in Themyscira. Like Hippolyta, she is in no hurry to see Diana grow up and leave. Diana trains as a wide-eyed young girl. Diana trains as a rebellious teen. Diana trains as an adult and finally surpasses her mentor, her aunt, as the greatest warrior on the island. These sequences are breathtaking. The scenery, yes, but more than that: the women. Swords and shields and bows and arrows and javelins and fists and endless acrobatics. They delight in each other’s strength, never doubting their place as the rulers of their world or their ability to protect it. I felt such a pang of sadness and annoyance when Steve Trevor’s plane crashed through their barrier and into their sea. I only recovered my happiness when the Amazons decimated the soldiers who followed him.

An origin story is more than just the place that birthed our hero; it’s the journey from who they are at home to who they become to the world. For Diana it’s all very simple: She needs to defeat Ares, the God of War, so that men will lay down their arms and the planet will be at peace again. World War I is an unfamiliar setting for a superhero movie, but it’s a welcome one. World War II is always Good Guys vs. Nazis but the Great War before it was impossibly complicated treaties that came to bear on a royal assassination, tens of millions of men in trenches mowing each other down with machine guns for reasons they didn’t even understand. “They haven’t moved an inch,” Steve Trevor tells Diana when they arrive in No Man’s Land. It’s a metaphor, see? She moves them more than an inch, more than a foot, more than a mile. She takes on an entire German battalion with minimal cover and blows past them to rescue a town from enslavement and destruction.

What Diana finds as she makes her way across the battlefields to the castles and strongholds of the men who are controlling the madness is that things aren’t as black and white as she was taught on Themyscira, that Ares whispers suggestions rather than commanding obedience, and that humankind is weak and fallible and has a bottomless capacity for evil.

Wonder Woman‘s action sequences are stunning. Her sword, her shield, her bracelets, her lasso, her fists: she uses them all in equal measure and to full effect, over and over and over again. She leaps and she punches and she stabs and things around her go KABOOM! The pacing of her fighting is that precise kind of breathlessness that leaves you nothing but satisfied. Again: Jenkins. It’s an action movie and it’s a war movie and it’s a love story and it’s a character-driven origin story, and she balances all of those demands with uncommon aplomb. Critics will look for flaws to undermine her work because she’s basically an unknown woman director and how dare she, but they won’t find better fighting from even Chris Nolan or Joss Whedon.

There was always going to be too much Steve Trevor in this movie for my liking, even if he’d died in the plane crash that sent him careening into the ocean at Diana’s feet — but he is her sidekick. He knows it and we know it. There’s never any question. Wonder Woman flips nearly every gendered superhero trope it encounters. He follows her lead; she saves his life (repeatedly); hers are the lessons that need to be learned; his is the body that is scrutinized, objectified, and consumed by the gaze of the camera. She never listens to Steve’s advice, never heeds his warnings. She’s a princess from an island ruled by women; why would she stay outside while the men decide whether or not to go to war?

It’s impossible not to bring the real world with you into Wonder Woman. It’s a Warner Brothers backlot and you will see Aleppo. It’s an arrogant madman and you will hear Donald Trump. The men beside you in the theater will squirm and exaggerate their yawns and when it’s over they’ll flee from their seats as fast as they can or linger to complain that Batman didn’t appear after the credits (even though he was the center of the Justice League trailer that aired for four minutes before Wonder Woman even started). When Wonder Woman begins to lose her optimism as she comes face-to-face with the dark and complicated truths of the world, you’ll feel that too. A punch in a gut that feels constantly pummeled these days.

But maybe you’ll take something out into the real world too. Even as Wonder Woman finds her true strength and uncovers the magnitude of her powers, even as she unleashes fire and destruction, she finds glimmers of goodness in those who have stayed to fight alongside her. Something to believe in. She doesn’t have Batman’s cynicism, Spider-Man’s sarcasm, Iron Man’s arrogance, Hulk’s misanthropy, Thor’s battlelust. Oh, she’s as powerful as all of them and more so than most. But unlike them, she has hope and she has love. They aren’t gimmes; she chooses them.

When Diana of Themyscira stepped out of that bunker in her full Wonder Woman suit, the little girl behind me gasped, “It’s her!” And it’s true. She’s Lynda Carter, that cover of Ms. Magazine, and now she’s Gal Gadot.

Wonder Woman arrived in the world in 1941 fighting fascism and preaching the power of women, and despite all the diversions and oppressions her writers have inflicted on her over the decades, she’s been born again in a new and lasting way to a generation that needs her as desperately as ever. “Time beckons,” Charles Moulton wrote in Wonder Woman’s first days in Sensation Comics, “and Wonder Woman comes — to weave her spell of love and beauty and peace over throbbing human hearts.”

It’s her. 

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Heather Hogan

Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle senior editor who lives in New York City with her wife, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. She's a member of the Television Critics Association, GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics, and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer critic. You can also find her on Twitter and Instagram.

Heather has written 1718 articles for us.


  1. You said everything I was thinking, Heather. Thank you for that.

    I”m not ashamed to say I cried in the theater. I cried because we FINALLY had Wonder Woman on screen, in a GOOD movie. A movie that celebrated all the strengths of women (I loved the character of Etta Candy in this- I would have loved to see HER as the sidekick.) I immediately bought a ticket to see it again next week.

  2. Just reading this review made me cry, I can’t imagine what kind of mess I’ll be when I see it in the theater.

  3. Yay! I normally don’t give a shit about superhero movies but I’m definitely excited to go and see this!

  4. Thank you for writing this, Heather. I remember what a big Wonder Woman fan you are– I mean, hello, your infamous Twitter & Tumblr Avatar, for starters– and I was definitely curious about what you would think of the movie.

    Now that you have given it such a loving and full hearted review, I am even *more* excited to see it this weekend! Here we go!!!

  5. This was such a great way to start my morning. So good! I love it when you love things!

  6. This movie seems good and I’m genuinely excited for it but I’m also so so annoyed that they still don’t just let Wonder Woman be a lesbian…

  7. I am beyond excited to see Wonder Woman on Sunday. I even bought a Wonder Woman tee shirt for the occasion!

  8. The one real doubt I had about “Wonder Woman” is that they would treat WWI like WWII, in that us=good, them=bad. I’m glad that there is much more nuance to it.

    • There is some of this from Steve (in that he repeatedly explains himself as the “good guy” vs the German “bad guys” who are chasing him, perhaps because neither Diana nor the audience knows anything about the complicated web of alliances that led to the war), but even he also makes the point that the war is more complicated that that more than once, and the larger thrust of the movie counters it. There’s also a Native American ally who makes a point that Steve’s people have destroyed his people and taken his land, which does a lot to undermine Steve’s statements about “good guys” and “bad guys.”

  9. I am now going to say “Suffering Sappho” at every available opportunity.

  10. I’ve been feeling mixed about the movie, but this review has changed my mind. I’m going to see it right after work, and I’m so excited about it!

    Heather, you always manage to convince the grump that lives inside of me to chill out and let me enjoy things!

  11. It’s her. And she’s all of us.
    And the movie was very good, best DC movie since Dark Knight
    I got teary eyed when she walked into the No Man’s Land battlefield.
    When I was a child I would climb the monkey bars and sit up there piloting my invisible plane during recess.
    I’m happy that the little girls who may do that today won’t have to wait 30 years for a female superhero movie like I did.

    • Yes, and the fact that the film opens with a little girl running around and wanting to copy her own female heroes is such a wonderful endorsement of that!

  12. This review made me cry. That sweet little girl behind you! Can’t wait to see the movie.
    I have a Wonder Woman hat that I wear to the gym and I was getting a sandwich on my way home yesterday. The woman behind the counter excitedly asked me “Have you seen it?!?!”. It was amazing. Wonder Woman is amazing and so are women.

  13. Fantastic review, Heather.

    1989: Tiny queer girl has Wonder Woman pajamas complete with cape. Wears them 24/7. Spends a great deal of time ‘flying’ onto her parents’ big bed. (In case you want to try it, flying is running as fast as you can down the hallway and taking a giant leap and/or cartwheeling onto the bed. I highly recommend it.)

    2015: Newly barely out queer girl finds Wonder Woman t-shirt on Torrid, wears it to her first San Francisco Pride. Drinks whiskey, kisses girls, basks in a giant field of queer people. Has an absolutely glorious time. I highly recommend that, too.

    • This is all *without* knowing that she came from a planet of women, btw. I don’t read comics! I never knew!

    • Tiny Carmen SD high-fives Tiny QueerGirl from the top of the monkey bar through the space-time continuum

    • I’ve tried flying as a kid. It’s definitely fun. Pride… oh, Pride. I didn’t make it last year like I wanted. I was so resolute that it was going to be my first time. I got sick and cried when I couldn’t go.

      I really, really, really want to make it this year…

  14. *slow clap* Well said. Truly. Every word on this article rings with truth. I just came back from seeing this today and it was like a breath of fresh air and the warmest of hugs. This is the female superhero movie we’ve been waiting for and it delivered and then some. Everything about this movie was stunning – the storyline, the characters, the visuals, the emotions and oh dear god, those fight scenes in slow motion took my breath away. I was so tempted to jump into a second screening after I finished watching it for the first time but I wanted to savor my first experience and process all that I felt while watching the movie. I’m definitely rewatching it again though; maybe next week so I can relive the breathtaking beauty that is this movie.

  15. Thank you for the article! Saw the movie last night, it’s left me in such a good mood since then ❤️

  16. “I felt such a pang of sadness and annoyance when Steve Trevor’s plane crashed through their barrier and into their sea.”

    I took my mom to see it this afternoon and as soon as Diana walked out onto that cliff by herself, I leaned over to my mom and whispered, “Here comes Steve Trevor to ruin everything.”

    But he really wasn’t so bad. Much better than he is in the Wonder Woman comics I’ve read. My least favorite thing about the movie was the thing I knew would be my least favorite thing and that’s that DC still bowed down to compulsory heterosexuality. And I don’t mean that she and Steve fell in love. I’ve got no problem with that (since he wasn’t an obnoxious creep who asked Wonder Woman to marry him every five minutes like he did in the 50s). The things that bugged me were when she was surprised to see people holding hands (Like, c’mon! It’s an island full of women and no one even holds hands!) and that her only experience with sex was having read texts about it. And it seemed more like the movie was saying that they don’t need men for pleasure because of masturbation instead of the more obvious lesbian sex. But I do think they tried to very subtly hint that Antiope and Menalippe were lovers, at least.

    I also wish the movie could have spent more time on Themyscira because I would have liked to have seen Diana having a close friend or friends instead of just a mother and a mentor. She almost seemed like an outsider.

    But I still loved the movie and appreciate it for what it accomplished within the confines of a 140 minute movie that had to adhere to some outdated sexual identity politics that we’re still struggling with in 2017 for some reason. And I’m over the moon that there’s now actually a great Wonder Woman movie and I’m absolutely gleeful that it’s 100x better than the other movies in the DCEU. And now I just hope the Justice League movies don’t introduce a Wonder Woman/Batman romance or Wonder Woman/Superman romance because I think I might actually puke.

    • Yeah, the moment Menalippe cried out and came rushing forward-and that nobody seemed surprised, and she was the only one who did so, kneeling with Antiope’s grieving family-I knew instantly that there’s her girlfriend, and wasn’t it a beautiful world where her girlfriend is able to grieve alongside the family and nobody thinks a thing of it?

    • When she made that hand-holding comment I assumed it was because the Amazons are such dedicated warriors and healers that they’re usually holding their weapons/supplies and/or because they’re often on horseback. Maybe I’m being naive, but it seems impractical (though, to be fair, I think hand holding is always impractical).

      Menalippe+Antiope=definitely gay, right? I think that was as gay as the DCEU wants to canonically be on screen at the moment, but I’m really hoping that they a) don’t try to erase Diana’s canon bisexuality and b) avoid pairing her romantically with any of her super friends.

    • “But I do think they tried to very subtly hint that Antiope and Menalippe were lovers, at least.”

      I hope not considering they are sisters.

      • Count me as another who thinks that Antiope and Menalippe were a couple. I know in mythology Antiope, Menalippe, and Hippolyta are all sisters, but the film only made the point that Hippolyta and Antiope were.

        I actually think the film did a great job with Steve Trevor–he was a well-written and coherent character, and worked very well with and complemented Diana. I really believed that both characters got a lot and grew through the relationship.

        But it made me sad to see him onscreen, because I knew that if this was a male superhero film, the female love interest wouldn’t be as well-written, coherent, and admirable, and that she wouldn’t have the agency or heroic journey that he has. All love interests should be this well done, but it hurt that he’s the one they get right.

  17. It was awesome, yet left me hungry for more… and I don’t mean of the same. I’d love to see a Jew play a Jewish superhero, I’d love to see women (and men) of color, I’d love to see visibly queer and trans characters. I want to see a movie where the diverse Amazons are the central characters, not background. In taking Diana to fight the sexism of the world of men, they also removed all the powerful and diverse female figures.

    I loved it, but I suppose I always want more…

    • Agreed! I thought it was a nice baby step that they didn’t make Gal Gadot just fit the Generic White American Actress mold, but she spoke with an Israeli accent — she was, a little bit, herself. And all of the Amazons had the same accent, more or less. I’m pretending it’s an island of Israelis and the Amazons were ass-kicking Jewish ladies :-)

  18. A fantastic article, thank you! This paragraph made me tear up:

    “But maybe you’ll take something out into the real world too. Even as Wonder Woman finds her true strength and uncovers the magnitude of her powers, even as she unleashes fire and destruction, she finds glimmers of goodness in those who have stayed to fight alongside her. Something to believe in. She doesn’t have Batman’s cynicism, Spider-Man’s sarcasm, Iron Man’s arrogance, Hulk’s misanthropy, Thor’s battlelust. Oh, she’s as powerful as all of them and more so than most. But unlike them, she has hope and she has love. They aren’t gimmes; she chooses them.”

    To choose love, to choose hope- there is a power in that. A power greater than anything else. Especially when that choice is made in dark times. Dark times like a world war, or dark times like we live in now. It reminds me of an amazing quote from Professor Dumbledore. He told 11-year-old Harry Potter that it is our choices, far more than our abilities, that make us who we are. In the dark times we live in now, it is so easy to feel discouraged. To feel like we have no power, and to wish we had abilities like Wonder Woman. But Diana, Princess of Themyscira, reminds us of the true wonder of women – the power to choose love. That choice outstrips all of her other powers. And that choice makes us who we are.

    May you all find your power in dark times.

    • Thank you for this. Seriously, thank you.

      That gut-punching moment that Heather mentioned undid me–I just got back from seeing the film with my girlfriend and she spent the entire credit roll holding me while I sobbed. I’m still not quite over it; that scene struck me. All the present-day parallels brought to the surface a lot of feelings I’ve been trying to tamp down in order to stay afloat mentally, so while I absolutely loved every minute of this film and wish we had gotten to stay even longer in Diana’s world and see more of it, it also hurt a fuckton, which I wasn’t expecting.

      Reading your comment was a balm to that hurt. I’m going to keep it onhand to refer back to when I start to feel like things are impossible. It’s like you said: in the end, Diana is able to face down all the pain, destruction, and evil she witnesses and experiences at the hands of humankind and still choose to hope and to love, and that is the most powerful thing of all.

      So again, thank you. And thank you, Heather, for this incredible and moving review.

      • You’re welcome! Thank you very much for your comment – knowing I can help someone else with my words helps me keep going when things are so terrible. I’m very, very glad to hear I helped. Know that your response has helped me too. Together, we will all get through this.

  19. Not only am I stoked to see this movie with Gal Gadot as the hero, there’s also Elena Anaya (Room In Room) as the villain, Dr Poison!

  20. I loved this movie so, so much. I felt it in my heart-I loved the show with Lynda Carter, back when my mother found it on DVD and my brother and I were absorbed by it because look she’s so COOL and she’s kicking everyone’s butt and saving the day!!! I got the DVD set for myself when I started college-I made my girlfriend watch the first season with me until real life intervened. This is the movie I’ve needed.

    I went with two friends, and we went off to eat afterwards. And during our meal, every few minutes one of us would suddenly be overcome again, and go “Oh my god it was SO GOOD. She was amazing and it was excellent and it was SO GOOD.” We were at the food place at 3am and left telling our waitress, the host, and everyone we encountered to go see it. I did the same at work an hour later. And I’ll be doing that all weekend at work, and continuously until I get to go see it again. My girlfriend couldn’t go with me to see the midnight showing…so I get to take her and go see it again and I’m already looking forward to it.

  21. It was so good and it was even better because there was a drag queen dressed up as Wonder Woman at the screening I went to!!!

  22. I appreciate what you pointed out about the hero tropes being reversed, but I was honestly so annoyed that there was so much focus on her romantic relationship with Steve. The statement would have come off as more powerful to me if the film had simply defined and framed “love” differently. In Greek, there are the four different kinds of love, and agape (unconditional love) is so much more central to Wonder Woman’s character than “eros” (romantic love) as a motivating force.

    Wonder Woman doesn’t save the world because she falls for some guy. She saves the world because of her conviction that the good in people is worth believing in, but the intercuts with Steve’s declaration of love during the scene where she takes down Ares undermined that message in my opinion.

    I guess it doesn’t make sense to hope for a blockbuster Hollywood film that doesn’t centralize romance. I’ll definitely see it again with adjusted expectations in that regard, because I think Jenkins’ directing, Gadot’s acting, and the action sequences are just incredible.

    • I didn’t buy that they had a romance. To me the whole thing screamed friendship. I know the movie doesn’t think so, but who can watch that and tell me they had feelings for each other beyond friendship?

      • I didn’t really buy it either. When he said “I love you” part of me was like “you’ve known her for literally a week” and then also who wouldn’t fall in love with her so I totally get it Steve.

        I think they really didn’t bother trying to sell it that much but I am 100% ok with them not dedicating more time to it.

    • They had horrible romantic chemistry and AMAZING best friend chemistry. I wish they had leaned into that instead of giving us 10 seconds of kissing in the dark that ruined my fantasy.

    • I guess we see what we want or expect to see? I mean, Steve Trevor is as connected to WW story as Lois Lane is to Superman’s, so he was going to be in there. I, too, think their “friend” chemistry was better than their romantic chemistry, but I would also hesitate to saddle this Diana with our modern-day baggage vis a vis sexual congress. To me it felt very much like an intimate extension of their connection, versus some burning romance? Especially since it so wasn’t focused on, nor dealt with in typical morning-after tropes.

      But in the final reckoning, I felt that it wasn’t so much romantic love that motivated Diana as her relationship with Steve provided a lens through which she recognized humanity as flawed, but capable of good. I felt like the camera and perspective lingered on her other companions as much as Steve, because the point was Diana coming to grips with humanity’s capacity to overcome their darkness. Yeah, she had a particular reaction to his sacrifice, but that seems in-keeping with her character that was dealing with personal loss when she hadn’t much in her own life. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me?

      • I agree with you there.

        I was at first a bit irritated, but then, after thinking about it makes sense.

        See, in this case, What Ares tells Diana is that Humans are really evil, only capable of pettiness, jealousy and destruction. And her greatest interaction with anybody outside Amazons (whom she already considers good) is Steve. So, for her to decide humanity is more than darkness, she would have needed Steve to be an example of that. Even when she has that memory, it looked more like: Steve loved me; he was willing to let me battle for the world so that he could go sacrifice himself to save the battle. He had that love and goodness. Clearly, humanity is more than what Ares says.

        Also, I found, despite the Dr. Poison thing, that Diana is more likely to take for granted that women are good than men are (basically because of all the emphasis on mankind even in the Zeus stories), so Steve makes sense even there.

        As for heterosexuality, isn’t she bi? I thought she made it clear that she is by that statement about Clio and her works. She doesn’t say she knows all about it just because of the work; but that she also has read experts. At least, that is how I took it. She does come across as an innocent in some ways, but may be marriage and such are just mankind’s customs that Amazons don’t follow.

        And at the end, when she is writing that email to Bruce, She doesn’t feel sad about Steve. She is just happy for the memory. So, very in character I thought.

        • What I mean from that long comment is: I don’t think Diana was assigned compulsive heterosexuality; In this she needed to see there is good and love in men, and she saw that by Steve’s act. Could it have been more agape and less romantic? Yes. But, I don’t think she is defined by that, and it is only natural for her to feel Steve’s loss because she has spent the longest time outside of Themyscira with him.

  23. Weird how the film had a female director AND a really well-rounded female lead who avoids all the tropes of the typical “badass lady hero”. It almost suggests that women make damn good directors? Like, better than men? And are more capable of treating female heroes like…heroes? Instead of fetishizing them to death? It’s almost like…women make everything better?

    I dunno. Weird.

    All I know is I would gladly watch an entire series on the Amazons training for battle and/or happily and peacefully coexisting without men (and I’d binge that right after exiting my 12th screening of this movie).

  24. Saw it last night and it was SOOO good! I’m both happy and sad that it took so long. Sad THAT it took so long and happy because I think if this had been attempted any sooner Hollywood would have completely butchered it like they did Catwoman. I loved it so much that i want to have Gal Gadot’s babies <3

  25. A wave of emotion came to me when the amazons where training. I didnt expect it, i knew i was going to love it but not like that. I went hoping the movie was good, happy to finally get to see her in the big screen, waiting to love the accion scenes and her kicking ass. I didn expect to burst into tears at the amazons in the island, and it was because i felt HOW MUCH I NEEDED THIS MOVIE WHEN I WAS A LITTLE GIRL. It could have changed my life.

    • I think I felt that exact same wave. I basically spent the whole first act of the film on the verge of tears, which genuinely surprised me. So good. ❤️

  26. oh my god it was wonderful, and this review is wonderful.

    in the theater i was in last night, when she said men aren’t required for pleasure, the whole audience screamed and one woman behind me yelled YAS QUEEN and I was just so happy.

    Something i liked the movie it especially was, and bear with me on this, for the first time ever i think i saw someone on screen realize they were heterosexual. like, the way i’ve seen only a couple characters really slowly realize that they’re queer from meeting a gorgeous person (i’m thinking especially of alex on supergirl). like we get asked all the time, ‘when did you know you were queer’ and straight people never have an answer when we ask it back, but like, diana would HAVE an answer.
    before, diana knew there were men out there, had read about them and had discounted them, and then saw one naked and was like ‘okay’ and then they danced and she was like ‘OH SHIT, OKAY, YEAH I COULD BE INTO THIS.’ And like, yes, we have ENOUGH hetero representation, but at least this time, it seemed like something that wasn’t inevitable. we saw her have feelings for the first time like this and then decide to lean into them, and it just didn’t feel as compulsory as it usually does.

    and yes, the love stuff at the end was dumb, and what about love for her aunt and her amazon ladies, or the group of racially diverse men, or the soldiers, why the hetero love?

    but if any one man was gonna do that to this movie, at least it was Captain Kirk, you know?

      • Yeah, this is really good point, and is probably why I identified with Diana so much as a bi woman. The attraction isn’t inevitable, and there’s something about those scenes that erases a lot of cultural nonsense about the “naturalness” of heterosexuality.”

    • Aunt is an amazon; Amazons wouldn’t count as mankind and the point of contention was mankind (as in, should they be allowed to live). But, I do agree (sort of) with the rest. :) I was able to see it as generic love too.

      Also, she doesn’t say she loves him (does she? I don’t remember). She remembers Steve saying he loves her. And because again, the point of discussion was, whether men had it in them to feel better and act better, Steve’s ILU scene makes sense. What I mean is; I don’t think she had at any point in time any self-doubt herself (except when the German turns out to be not-Ares; so it is not her own love or capacity to love that is in question, but the capacity of mankind; and to be honest, I think that repetition of mankind instead of humanity stresses a bit on the ambivalent nature of men).

      If only she could have had some more interactions with women (not just Amazons) but I can see why they didn’t have the time for that in this movie. And considering, rest of them are men in Justice League, I don’t expect any until a second Wonder Woman movie.

  27. I saw it in a theater full of disrespectful men, so I’m really wishing I could have gone to one of those women-only showings… The dude two seats down was using his phone on and off the whole time, and when it actually rang, I leaned over and said, “Dude. Turn your fucking phone off!” The guy sitting between us seemed to think it was amusing, and the other dude didn’t touch his phone again for the rest of the movie. (Someone else’s phone rang literally right in the quiet moment after she destroys Ares. I wanted to scream.)

    I needed so much more gayness from them and so much less Steve, but once I was able to get past that, I loved it. I do love the way they subverted every trope (especially Born Sexy Yesterday, which was the plot of one of the trailers beforehand and made me super anxious through the first part of the movie until they crushed it beneath the heel of her glorious boot). I want a female writer for the next one in addition to the (flawless) female director. I think that will solve a lot of the problems, although the unnecessary heterosexuality was probably from the studio since the writer is gay.

    I’m probably going to see it again at the nicer theater next weekend. Or maybe during the week.

    • Also, some gross dude in the back made a loud creepy joke about Diana and Steve making babies after the kiss and everyone laughed that really uncomfortable heterosexual laugh and I wanted to throw up.

  28. I saw it last night and it was AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I also found this little thing that is funny as hell:

    “We at the Alamo Drafthouse would like to officially apologize for our role in the end of mankind as we knew it, and the ascendant Gynocracy that followed. We didn’t know our women-only screening of Wonder Woman would result in the overthrow of all world governments and the total subjugation of men, but in hindsight we probably should have seen it coming.”


  29. Loved reading your review! I cried several times before, during, and after the movie, it was just so good and I kept thinking about how many people NEED this movie and Wonder Woman.

    Also, when Diana had the line about men being unnecessary for pleasure, like half the men in the audience got all upset about it. There was a dude in the same row as my friend and I who scoffed and was like “Yeah okay” and I’m pretty sure his cluelessness and fragile ego are the reason I laughed pretty much until Diana and Steve got to London.


    Listen, I love comic book movies and characters. I see every one. And I have never felt this inspired before.

    Looking at this current generation of movies, I think you could make the case that Logan had the same fearless emotional power as WW. Black Panther will, I hope, feel just as revolutionary. And for all its many other sins, Batman v. Superman has a masterful score and decadent visuals.

    But Wonder Woman has all these things. And not only does it function beautifully as a coming age story, romance, and period piece, but it also has some of the BEST pure comic book action of the genre. Large-scale gladiator battles, acrobatic martial arts, grim trench warfare, CGI explosions. It doesn’t get any better than this.

    I was so scared for this movie, both as a huge DC fan and as a woman who just wants to see women-driven projects succeed. And I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out.

  31. Autostraddle and its commenters is usually really on it with its analysis and attention to intersectionality, so I’m really surprised to see all these praising reviews and no mention of the fact that this actress is a former IDF soldier, supporter of the Israeli state, and supporter of the occupation in palestine. We don’t need an imperialist feminist hero!

    • Hmmm, I don’t know if equating citizens of countries with the decisions of their government is a great move. You know not all Israelis condone the conditions over there, right? And that IDF soldiers are really just kids? It is a little troubling to reduce an actor to their nationality.

      • I’m not condemning all Israelis — obviously the nation is not the same as the state. But this actress is a vocal supporter of the Israeli state and the occupation of Palestine. If an American actress said nationalist things and denied the settler colonial history of our nation and then starred as a feminist icon in a film, we would be critiquing her, and rightfully so.

    • I hope you’re planning to spend equal time protesting American actresses then. Israelis have the right to exist on public.

      Since I loved this movie I’d really like this thread to not devolve into a screaming match questioning my legitimacy to exist. Let’s go with that warning to be on-topic.

      • I’m not condemning all Israelis — obviously the nation is not the same as the state. But this actress is a vocal supporter of the Israeli state and the occupation of Palestine. If an American actress said nationalist things and denied the settler colonial history of our nation and then starred as a feminist icon in a film, we would be critiquing her, and rightfully so.

        Autostraddle isn’t usually the type of place where we say “I really liked this movie / or show / or book so can we put politics aside?” so again I’m surprised not to see discussion around this. We certainly need feminist icons but we should be holding folks accountable for their participation in systems of power too.

        • I’d love to hear a member of Autostraddles staff chime in on this, because again, I expected people on the site to be more intersectional and transnational in their approach to feminist media.

          • Well, hopefully AS will follow up with an article to facilitate this discussion that seems like a good one to have. I think some of the comments in the other thread were flat-out racist so unfortunately the whole thread was deleted?
            I’d personally be interested in hearing what the actress has to say about her role as a visible feminist and Israeli and how it relates to her perspective on the Palestine-Israel conflicts, and what the AS crew thought of her viewpoints. That would be a really interesting article, I think.

          • It wasn’t the topic being censored, but the derogatory comments involved that got the rest of the topics unfortunately (though I assume inadvertently) removed with it. I see this not as a sign that such topics are off limit to discussion. Only that they should involve more respectful language or that they shouldn’t move too far from (for too long) from the topic of the article.

          • Also, friend, there’s a reason that this is a long-running dispute that’s never been able to solved simply. Though you may think otherwise, it’s an incredibly complex topic informed by a long history. It’s not one-sided and there’s no “right” answer. People are allowed to say different things, and that doesn’t automatically make them bad people.

            I doubt you have much of a personal stake in what’s going on here. You–and if not you exactly, then 90% of the people who yammer on about this–are probably a white Christian American who knows nothing beyond a general impulse to be helpful. Why don’t you try listening and learning?

          • They were disgusting and openly anti-Semitic and were deleted in accordance with the site’s commenting rules.

            Funny how everyone wants the rules to be different when it comes to Jews. How gross. Check your anti-Semitic bullshit.

        • I promise you, all prominent American actresses are vocal supporters of the American state.

          Can you imagine what would happen if they said otherwise? They’d be ripped to shreds and never work again.

          Let’s start with working on consistency.

  32. Wonder Woman was the first hint to mini me that I was not 100% straight. I have always been OBSESSED and I am less than an hour away from finally seeing this movie. I am so excited I might burst!!

  33. I feel in love in the theatre and I wish I could have screamed “yes Diana i’m ready to submit to you!!!”

  34. I went and saw the movie on Saturday and like, really really really liked it… but damn it if couldn’t find myself thinking after it was over that I really personally wished Wonder Woman was more muscularly defined. I mean, so many of those ass kicking Amazon’s were ass kickingly toned. And, I know it makes me a horrible person / feminist for judging an actor/actress on their looks, but then again I remember that I totally judge my male super heros based upon if they have the muscles to do the crime-fighting and world saving that they do… and the answer is yes… which means I’m equally judgy and equally ass-holey. Anyways, I know that Diana is supposed to be a God (and also sculpted out of clay) so maybe she doesn’t need to be that buff and how good is sculpty clay for muscle definition anyways?… But the rest of the Amazons were super awesome and would super scare me in a dark alley or on the soccer field. I can only chalk it up to the: if the Amazons were buff, it’s understood that they were lesbians, so it’s okay. Diana on the other hand, has to appeal to a mass market. We need her to be strong, but not too… um, muscular. If she was too buff, it might scare the men in the theater and on the screen away, and Wonder Women, in turn, would turn into a lessie fest. As an aside, I know that Gal worked hard for this and did bulk up from prior roles and was also preggers during part of the filming… so all the kudos for her, she did a great job. But, the lack of decent biceps was a bit of a bummer.

  35. I’m so conflicted because I really want to support a woman superhero movie, but at the same time that woman was a member of a colonial army (the IDF) I just don’t know what kind of message it sends to audiences that a superhero can be imperialist.
    Actually, I waited so long to write this comment because the little postscript at the end of the article about keeping comments “on topic” really got to me. Is autostraddle censoring pro Palestine comments now? I really hope not. I know there was an earlier comment thread that apparently devolved into racism (I didn’t see it) so maybe that’s what they’re preventing.
    Still though, ultimately that postscript + the lack of any mention of gal gadots background in the IDF….. I’m a little worried about the intentions here. Don’t let me down AS!
    Imperialist feminism isn’t feminism at all.

    • Personally, while there is a ton that could be talked about re: Israel/Palestine, I’m confused about how this is an appropriate venue for that discussion. All commenters that seem to want to bring it up in the context of Wonder Woman are equating the compulsory military service Gal Gadot underwent, as well as pro-Israel statements from an Israeli as some sort of imperialistic referendum in a way that seems a stretch? To me, anyway.

      However, a larger discussion of the themes of Wonder Woman…such as when she was intent on saving that village even though everyone told her not to…could be germane to the Palestinian plight. There are parallels to be drawn there. One of the things I thought WW as a movie got really right was that no one was all good or bad. Steve may have termed them “good guys” at one point, but Chief got to highlight how Steve’s kind and British (and American) Imperialism had recently destroyed his people. The WWI conflict always seemed to really be a strange mishmash of national loyalties, treaties, economic conflicts, and political upheaval to actually point to “good” and “bad”, but the negative effects of war on people are universal.

    • All Israelis serve in the IDF, unless you apply for and are granted a waiver. I don’t think we should condemn Gal Gadot for doing her mandatory duty to her country, regardless of how we feel about the actions of that army or the conflict it’s involved in. She’s also said that she’s anti-Hamas (which doesn’t mean anti-Palestine in general) and pro-IDF, but honestly as an Israeli public figure who served in the IDF, what do you expect her to say? I have my own feelings about it, based on my admittedly limited knowledge of the Israel-Palestine conflict, but I won’t condemn an actress for stating that she supports her own country or the army for which she served.

    • Yes yes yes, THANK YOU for putting this out there. I was real stoked for this movie and am glad to hear it is meaningful for so many and wasn’t terribly done, but for me it’s too hard to separate Gadot’s politics from this. I won’t be seeing the movie because I believe we get to demand more of our heroines. Yes, political purity is impossible. Yes, it’s amazing that this film was made and is getting such great reviews, but also yes “imperialist feminism isn’t feminism at all.”

      • Would an American actresses expressing patriotic sentiment about the United States be viewed as an imperialist? Certainly, if she’s white, she has benefitted from imperialism. She is living and thriving on stolen lands. She is supportive of a country that continues to systematically persecute Natives and take their lands from them. Does she enjoy coffee, sugar, tea, chocolate? Then she is most definitely finding pleasure in products secured through active and present imperialism, colonization, and slavery. Does she wear clothes from major American clothes manufacturer’s? She’s benefitting from child labor in Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia. Places never recovered from their colonization by European and American Christian missionaries. Perhaps more pressing, by expressing patriotism for America, is she explicitly condoning the racist, xenophobic, sexist, hateful words and actions of Donald Trump and his administration?

        I’m curious also if you all have unpacked the ways in which your feminism is imperialist. Again, if you are white and living in the United States or Canada or most of western Europe, you are certainly benfitting from active imperialism every day. Is your feminsim, then, not feminism?

        • To everyone asking if I would criticize an American for being patriotic: yes. America is a terrible country, and we actually are very similar to Israel wrt our continuing colonialist practices against Indigenous folks. As a citizen of a settler colonialist state, we have to be critical of our government – why do we fight wars? Who do all of these pipelines benefit? And whose land are they on?
          I also think that it’s important to listen to Palestinian voices in this issue. Or even the multiple countries that have banned screenings of Wonder Woman because of Godot’s support of the Israeli state.
          We’re talking about a state that bombs Palestinians, has claimed and settled land that belongs to another country (which nobody except us accepts as legitimate), I could go on. Where is the support for Palestinian women who had to leave their homes, or who are imprisoned for speaking out? Who have lost loved ones to bombings and attacks by the Israeli state?
          This is why I said that imperialist feminism isn’t feminism. Because it works against women who are victims of imperialism.

          • Brabkeb Has the based response to this one-sided political pontificating I’ve seen so far. However, this is the first time I’ve heard the news this movie has been banned because of the actress politics. Which is stupid.
            Banning I movie from the general public because of it’s supposed message is stupid enough and because of the belief of one person involved is even stupider. Censorship is not conductive to understanding other points of one. It counterproductive for the people who agree with those views and for those who disagree. It only breads further resentment and ignorance while giving both sides a reason to say “Hurray” for our side.
            For all that’s wrong with the United States Government, I’m thankful this is one thing that “probably” couldn’t be done here in this day and age, even though I’m sure many would like them too. For a whole host of political reasons.

  36. Loved it so much I saw it twice this weekend! Also: I LOVED that the God of War was a white male politician who sat inside, gave people money, and sent orders from his office. NOT EVEN SUBTLE <3

  37. I took my 8-year-old daughter to see it on Saturday and we both LOVED the movie. Most of the points I’d make about it have already been said better by others (the women! the action scenes! the jab at men not being needed for pleasure!) so I won’t repeat them. But I will add that as a parent of a young girl, I appreciate how kid-friendly it is. There’s a lot of action, but no blood or gore. There’s some romance, but nothing overtly sexual. The women are all strong & independent & in charge. And the core messages – that you should fight for what you believe in, and that when you see something wrong in the world it’s better to do something than to do nothing – are poignant/relevant but also simple enough for a child to get from the film. It left both me and my daughter feeling empowered (and her trying to leap over railings on our way back to the subway) and wanting to see it again. Two thumbs way up from both of us.

  38. Just saw this last night and really really enjoyed it! The things that stood out to me were: 1) Would 100% watch an entire movie just about the Amazons; 2) I love her delight at discovering her own strength and capabilities- that little smile she gets! 3) The message of turning pain into power by refusing to give up on her belief in love and people’s inherent goodness was just what I needed to hear right now.

    Also, as a historic clothing nerd, I was super impressed with the World War I era costumes! The fact that the outfit she settled on to blend in was still period-appropriate says a lot about how women’s fashion had adapted to the practical needs of women being a lot more active in various work roles than they had been before the war. It was really cool to see that depicted onscreen!

  39. Thanks for the great review, Heather. I hadn’t been in an actual movie theater in 13 years just because I prefer to watch at home and most movies just aren’t worth the cost and effort. I typically wait for a film to show up on Apple TV. This Saturday, i made an exception because Wonder Women deserved it. I ventured out (thankfully, my sister told me that you now order your tickets online and reserve your seats because I would have been looking for the person in the ticket booth) and saw a brilliant film with a strong, compassionate hero who is a true badass. Gal does a wonderful job bringing WW to life, and I admire her as well as Patty for her great directing. This is a movie all girls and women should see because we now have a hero that we can admire and that young girls can look up to with admiration. If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s definitely worth it!

  40. I haven’t been to the movies in about 2 years. Something told me to go see this by myself. I’m glad I did, because the tears kept rolling down my face. It was unexpected and overwhelming, honestly. I felt like a little kid.

    This whole thread makes me feel warm and comforted.

  41. Now that I’ve seen this can we TALK about Robin Wright?

    I stifled an actual gasp when she came onscreen.

  42. I am so happy that WW 2017 is a roaring hit! I wanted it to succeed very badly so this can continue with its own franchise and not weaved in with Justice League or delegated to a part player in another super-hero franchise in the future. I hope it encourages the studio to produce a few more sequels. Yes, I made an exception and went to the theatre with my 13 year old niece to watch this one because I wanted her to finally have a Woman Super hero to look up to.

    It was glorious that the camera did not fix on WW’s bounties. The initial training/fight sequences were a treat to watch. But…

    Maybe I watched in 3D, but I was more disappointed than pleased with the movie. Yes, it was glorious in bits and parts, but it was too long, and downright boring for about 30 minutes at the end. I started fidgeting right before the final fight started. Sigh.

    Steve Trevor- Was too disappointed and annoyed with the amount of screen-time (though I like the actor). Their Romance was just….

    The boat talk- About men not necessary for pleasure- Diana says that ‘they’ have come to the conclusion or it was concluded. She doesn’t say that herself!

    The dialogue with Ares- Earlier on Diana says that she had no father. Her mother sculpted her from clay and she was brought to life by Zeus. Later Ares tells her that she IS the Godkiller, not her sword; that she was not made out of clay but a result out of her mother’s association with Zeus. Are they trying to assuage the men that Diana is the result of copulation between a man and a woman at the end?

    Gal Gadot- I loved her voice. At the same time, I am completely at odds with most here. She became the source of my utmost disappointment. Yes, I did want someone to look appealing to me while she did all her ‘Wonder Womany’ things, but I also expected that this 5’10 Amazon to be toned and have some definition to her hands, her whole body (She completely ruined it for me). Come-on, she is an Amazon, she has to be beautifully rooted (Lucy Lawless was so damn believable as Xena), Mila Jovovich would’ve been a more apt choice. I wanted to root for her when she leaps, fights, thrashes during the fight sequences, but it ended up very ‘unbelievable’ for me.

    David Thewlis- As Ares was another major put-down after seeing Kevin Tod Smith in Xena.

    Maybe the cheeziness was the necessary allowance made to mainstream market, maybe some of these could be changed, bettered in the future offerings….One can only hope!

  43. Did anyone else notice that the movie has managed to avoid blood and gore, despite being an action movie that takes place in the middle of a war?

  44. I agree with almost everything in this review except Steve Trevor screen time, he served a purpose as a sidekick and introduction/navigation to a world WW was unsure of. He was the comic relief and never once was presented as anything but secondary to WW in every way. Also you lost me here *The men beside you in the theater will squirm and exaggerate their yawns and when it’s over they’ll flee from their seats as fast as they can or linger to complain that Batman didn’t appear after the credits*…..

    I saw it 3 times at the cinema and each time it was full of men with their daughters and sons, with their wives/sisters/girlfriends/friends, groups of teenage boys, groups of male movie/comic fans. All were there for entertainment and excitement and enjoyed the movie as much as women did. I even saw a few wearing WW T shirts, one father and daughter were both wearing the headband.

    The types of men you talk about – sexist, misogynist & archaic wouldn’t bother seeing the movie. Let’s not lump all men into this category.

    WW was a success because it is a great movie and is one of the few big budget studio movies to give us a strong, aspirational female action hero. It’s fantastic that so many kids, women, men, whomever have loved it because it means we’ll get sequels and more like it. Well done Patty Jenkins!!!! Can’t wait to see more

  45. Speaking just as a guy, I’m glad the movie is awesome. Maybe now the entertainment industry will stop stifling half (or more than half) of their talent. And maybe now Joss will stop getting asked the question.

  46. I sorry to say that what little sapphic subtext you saw in Antiope and Menalippe relationship was not intentional. In the myth of the Amazons (upon which the Wonder Woman story is based), Hippolyta, Antiope and Menalippe are all sisters (and all daughters of Ares actually). And in the ramp up for the movie, Patty Jenkins herself stated that these three sisters raise Diana while the movie’s novel explicitly states that she’s her aunt. It’s possible Jenkins might have decided to change things so that Menalippe is an aunt by marriage but then one might ask why the concept of marriage is novel to Diana in that boat scene. Perhaps the Amazons have an equivalent to marriage. Perhaps they call it a “union of love”. Due to the time constraints of the film and the need to focus on Diana’s journey into Man’s World, they don’t explore Themyscira and its unique society nearly as much as I wanted. Thankfully the film only explicitly states (and shows) that Hippolyta and Antiope are sisters and that Menalippe is the latter’s deputy, so they have some leeway to clarify their relationship in the sequel.

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