It’s interesting to me how, generally, when women are love interests in films, they’re often thinly-drawn characters of very little substance, there to further the male protagonist’s story, but not much else. Yet when the tables are turned, and you have a story with a female protagonist being crafted by a woman, the male love interest is treated with equal respect and given nuance and substance. You know, how all filmmakers should attempt to portray all their lead characters. **SPOILERS IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE FILM**
Without question, this film belongs to Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman, and she (thanks to Patty Jenkins’ artful direction) delivered a nuanced portrayal of a powerful woman who is inexperienced with the ways of mortals. Yes, she can claw her way up walls with her bare hands, but her heart also breaks for how much suffering human beings seem to allow. She can leap high and far, almost like flying, but when she is told that it’s not a god that’s responsible for humanity being warlike, but that human beings are capable of it themselves, she visibly crumbles, not wanting to believe that the people she believes in so much are capable of such atrocity.
This film, in large part, is about Diana reconciling that. People are gonna do what people are gonna do. So, do they deserve her help or not? And it takes a relationship with one outstanding human example for her to realize that “it’s not about ‘deserve,’ it’s about what you believe.” And Wonder Woman believes in love.
As female-led as this film was, and as important as the variations on femininity it portrayed were to it, the thing that firmly locked Wonder Woman‘s themes of love and feminism in place was its portrayal of Steve Trevor (played beautifully by Chris Pine), and he did so in an important way: by showing us an amazing example of how men and women can interact in an actual, equal partnership.
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