Welcome to the new Blog! This isn’t about family photos or updates, it’s just me writing. Sometimes it’ll be theology, sometimes, it’ll be random thoughts, sometimes, a review of something I’ve seen or read. Like this one! I figure I’ll let the first post be a movie review. Advisory: I am not a film critic, and I am easily pleased, though I do have a few idiosyncrasies when it comes to certain philosophies that drive me batty. So now you’re warned. Let’s do this:
I went to see Wonder Woman with my 8-year-old daughter, my wife, and friends of ours. We were all unanimous in our loving the movie. It seems DC can make a good superhero movie this century after all (though I did actually like Suicide Squad) and, even more shockingly, they can do it without Supes or the Bat.
Although I get all the “girl power” and feminism happy feelings this gave some people, I don’t think it was that, at all. In fact, if it had been that, it would’ve suffered. It was just a straight-up kick-butt superhero movie, and it really didn’t matter that it was a woman (I know it matters because there just aren’t female superhero movies made – but my point is that, purely as a superhero movie fan, I loved it as much as a Captain America, Spider-Man or Batman movie – it didn’t make it any more or less cool that it was Wonder Woman – and that, my friends, is how you make a good movie!).
There were plenty of theological angles to draw from, too. Actually, one of the things that makes this movie not a “girl power” movie is that the Amazons, from whom WW comes, are not human. They are a special race made by the (Greek) gods to protect humans, and we learn that (no spoilers here) WW is actually even more special than her Amazonian family. So the idea that “girls can do anything” is no more or less true than the idea of Superman inspiring boys to be heroes. Sure, if you happen to be an alien or a god and possess superpowers, you can do anything you want. Sign me up?
That simply was not the point – the point (theological and philosophical) was summed up in the quote by Captain Trevor, “It’s not about what they deserve. It’s about what you believe.” This was the transformational moment in the movie for both WW personally and for the battle that was raging. No matter what someone else deserves, you still have to do what you feel is right. This is the powerful message of Wonder Woman, and girl, boy, man or woman alike can take that moral to heart.
[THIS NEXT SECTION CONTAINS SPOILERS – SKIP AHEAD IF YOU WANT, I’LL WAIT]
One more thing: since my undergrad, I’ve learned to look for depictions of Christ in film. The hero sacrificing his or herself to save others, perhaps even dying – this theme runs throughout many films (and, incidentally, speaks to the power of the Gospel story). A dead giveaway is that the hero making the sacrifice will usually take the cruciform position (or, to quote the late Chris Cornell and Soundgarden, the “Jesus Christ Pose”), where the body is straight, but the arms are cast out to the sides.
WW takes the cruciform shortly after Captain Trevor (as the sacrificial savior) sacrifices himself to save the world, but then WW, after striking the pose, without sacrificing herself, proceeds to blast the crap out of the badguy, defeating evil and saving the day. In theological terms, we would say that Captain Trevor played the role of Christus Vicar (the atoning sacrifice on the cross), while WW was Christus Victor, the conquering king who defeated the enemy and won the victory.
[OKAY, WELCOME BACK – HERE IT BE SAFE AGAIN]
I really don’t have any criticisms of the movie, except that I think the talented Lucy Davis was largely lost in her bit part of Etta, Captain Trevor’s secretary, and one could make the argument that Wonder Woman borrowed many elements from Captain America: The First Avenger. All in all, though, it was a great movie, and DC has redeemed themselves and once again gotten hopes up for the upcoming Justice League film. As good as Wonder Woman is, and as well as it will do at the box office, I have to ask: why on earth did it take this long to finally get this movie and why is it the only female superhero standalone movie we have as of this point (hello, Marvel, I’m talking to you and Black Widow)?
Alright – if that meant anything to you, I’d appreciate a follow, especially on Twitter. Thanks!