WARNING: If you have not seen Wonder Woman, but plan to soon, maybe don’t read this. Or do read it and just consider yourself spoiler alerted. If you have not seen Wonder Woman, and don’t plan to, DO read this. It might change your mind.
I’ve seen it twice now. And started to write about it at least 10 times now. Every time, my thoughts have flooded my fingers faster than I could type, and I have had to back away–not ready. Not focused enough in my thoughts to communicate them effectively. Because there so much to say. So. Much.
Look, the critics, the experts (and some not), the thinkers–they’ve all written about it. And I don’t know that I have anything new or somehow provocatively insightful to say, I just know if I don’t say something, I’ll regret it…because 2017’s Wonder Woman is hands down my new favorite movie. And Diana Prince my new favorite hero. And here’s why:
- Because there are times when this life we live feels like a No Man’s Land. After loss or heartbreak or death, our lives can feel like desolate plains of existence. No map. No rules. No sure way through. And it’s tempting to give up. Or to at least focus on the path of least resistance in an effort to simply keep breathing. And the moment when Diana makes the decision to march across that No Man’s Land, bullets or no, bombs or not, destruction be damned, is the most powerful visual I’ve ever seen of what it means to just keep going. To just keep going. No matter what. Through literal hell and into raging battlefield. To just keep going. Because you have to. It’s the only way forward. The only way into something good.
- Because sometimes it takes a has-been marksman who can spin a Scottish tune, a Middle Eastern goofball who wants to be an actor, a brave and strong Native American who has lost his homeland, and a slightly nutty but surprisingly smart and willing secretary to round out an earnestly brave soldier and his superhero love in getting the job done. Which is to say–we’ve all got our gifts. Our place in the story. The Story. And we all matter. Help often comes from the most unlikely of places and far be it from us to judge whether a person is capable of being a hero in any given moment. One of the most achingly beautiful parts of the movie for me was hearing Charlie sing again, playing the piano as he did, after they’d saved that sweet French village. All the heartache and horror in his life had been suspended, just for that moment, so he could really live again. Only he could have filled that particular role in Steve Trevor’s gang with such bittersweet heart and tender courage.
- (Paraphrasing Steve and Diana) Because very little in this life is about what any of us deserve. Most often it’s about what we believe should be possible for all of us. Because the best things we know in this life–grace, mercy, love–these things are not about deserve at all. Thanks be–because I’ll tell you right now I wouldn’t always deserve any of it. None of us would. These things are simply and beautifully gifts that the goodness to be found in this life can offer us. And extending them wherever we can, without stopping to think about who or doesn’t deserve them is maybe the best way we can live into really being human.
- Because yep…we’re dark. Capable of such selfishness and hurt and wrongdoing. But that’s not all we are. We are so much more. So. Much. More. Diana Prince sees this about humanity in the selfless and full-hearted sacrifice Steve makes, and her ability to see how his actions are what define humanity–not a raging war–is maybe the bravest thing she does. It takes a heroic heart to find beauty when all around you pain and death are evident. But Steve…he is all love…all grace…and in him she’s able to see such healing and powerful hope for the world. And then she’s able to fully take her place in the story. Fully embrace who she is. Completely step into her destiny as Hippolyta’s daughter and do the work she’d come to do.
- Because rising above the things that tear us apart takes enormous courage. But we’re built for that kind of courage. We’re wired to be more than our suffering. And as Charlie and Sameer and Etta and The Chief join Diana on Armistice Day, to find their Steve among the wall of heros, they do so standing tall. Bound together irrevocably. More, together, than each of them, even a superhero, could ever be on their own. Having triumphed over tragedy and pain to come full circle into the grace that binds together those who have known heartache and survived.
More than anything, I found in Wonder Woman a challenge to be real. To be vulnerable. To be brave. To rise above the horrible things and give our lives to beauty. To care for one another. To stand up for those who need it and not back down in the face of hate and anger, no matter how loud or fiery or insistent those things are. Because in the end, as is always true and has been since the beginning of time: Love wins. And so the battle is always worth fighting.
Or, as Diana Prince says:
I used to want to save the world. To end war and bring peace to mankind. But then, I glimpsed the darkness that lives within their light. And I learned that inside every one of them, there will always be both. A choice each must make for themselves. Something no hero will ever defeat. And now I know, that only love can truly save the world. So I stay, I fight, and I give, for the world I know can be.