Wonder Woman

There is something quite apt in making the personification of the patriarchy (and villain of the film) into an old resentful man, rather than a hunky slice of beefcake. After all, these days CGI absolves the actor of needing to perform any feats of athleticism in action sequences. And it's a clever ruse to set up one burly alpha male as the bad guy, only to switch him with an unassuming, frail-looking member of the English ruling class. These were the kinds of pusillanimous creatures that sent the youth of Europe to die in trenches, after all. Ares embodies every single kind of privilege, playing games of divide and rule and dreaming of a world free from riff raff.

Wonder Woman is a symbol of the hierarchies being levelled. It's why she leaves Themyscira, which despite its heavenly appearance is an militaristic autarky ruled by a queen – not far from national socialism with the genders reversed. Diana speaks every human language, and cares for all living things equally, and yet the film must conform to genre expectations to the extent that the romantic interest is a buff American and the sidekicks are left to fill out the diversity criteria. It's a shame that Saïd Taghmaoui couldn't have the part of Steve Trevor. It would have made for a more enjoyable movie.

No matter. It's very good, with a nice enough message about evil not being the work of bad guys but of everyone, and that self-sacrifice can defeat it. Gal Gadot is superb in the role, selling her character's passionate distress at war, but also bringing a wry sense of humour to her interactions with all these weird men she has to encounter. In the cinema the effects and music are stirring, even if you've seen all these tricks before. The most depressing thing about it is the prospect of Wonder Woman again playing second fiddle to Batman and Superman in future films. Turns out she's more interesting than either of them.

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