Wonder Woman, featuring Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, and Robin Wright
–Review by Ashley Linne
While it isn’t a perfect movie, Wonder Woman is officially my favorite superhero movie of all time. And for me, that’s saying a lot. There are many extremely important and timely themes in Wonder Woman that are being highlighted in other reviews, and I’m fairly sure, I won’t do it justice (pun intended) here. This film has been successful on multiple levels and has layers of meaning to be found if you’re looking.
I could be biased here, but I think this film is quite “Christian.” What I mean by that is, Diana’s mission is fueled not by revenge or selfish gain, but by compassion. She hears about the suffering of innocent people—even though they’re total strangers and beings completely new to her—and she sees the opportunity to help. Instead of turning a blind eye, giving in to pressure from others, or shying away in fear, Diana heads in to battle on behalf of those who cannot do it for themselves.
At the start of her journey, I was struck by her innocence. (One review I read called her the “ultimate homeschool kid.”) It reminded me of my early 20’s self when I went on my first overseas mission trip. I thought I was going to go save everyone from Satan but had no idea what actually awaited me. Diana is convinced that Ares is the puppet master of man, causing all the suffering and wars himself. But as she learns, humans embody a confusing mix of good and bad decisions, and are capable of both devoted self-sacrifice and great evil all on their own.
Identity is a key theme throughout the film. Diana’s strong, assured sense of her identity is enriched by her search for how she fits into a strange new world. What comes as more of a surprise is the identity reveal of her archenemy, Ares. Ares is cloaked in a deceptively benign form, and fancies himself a benefactor of humanity in that he simply shows them what they want to see and offers them the choices they are already looking for. Ares’ dialogue in his fight with Diana stood out to me because it dealt so much with the concept of free will. I’m sure this scene will be used in many a sermon illustration in the future.
I’m excited to have a new visual for the “armor of God” passage in Ephesians 6. (Obviously Diana has a lasso of truth instead of a belt of truth, but still.) In her fight sequence in No Man’s Land, she is under heavy fire from the enemy and uses her shield (and wristbands) to deflect every one of those bullets. She’s totally alone out there. But she doesn’t shy away from the struggle—she leans into it. It was such a moving scene for me that I was in tears; it is quite unusual to see a movie scene featuring a woman in such a brave, confident show of strength, and this scene provides significant imagery for men and women alike. Even now in the challenges I’m currently facing, this scene comes to mind frequently as I’m praying on my “armor” in spiritual warfare—heck, if Wonder Woman can fight like that, why not me? Greater is He who is in me.
I am pretty sure Wonder Woman will be a movie I watch again and again, especially in times when I am feeling under attack. Gal Gadot’s Diana provides a worthy role model for us all.