I’ve been looking forward to Wonder Woman since the character was the best part of Batman V Superman, and it did not disappoint. Not only did the film have a wonderful story, great cheer-able moments, and good characterization, but Diana Prince was a fantastic and inspiring Capable Female Character.
As I’ve written about before, I enjoy intelligent, confident female characters and want more of them in media, but due to some advance promotion of the Wonder Woman film and character from the film’s two leads – Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman/Diana Prince) and Chris Pine (Steve Trevor) – I was nervous, going into the film, about how the character would be portrayed, and whether I would get to add another intelligent, confident female character to my list of female characters I want to be more like, or whether Diana would be relegated to the hallow Strong Female Character or the hallow Incompetent Emotional Character.
In 2016, Gadot and Pine spoke about how Diana has a lot of emotional intelligence and how her heart is her strength , how she leads with compassion , and how Gadot didn’t want Diana to be a ball buster or bossy . Placing such emphasis on Diana’s emotional intelligence and compassion had me worried that Diana would be watered down, and instead of being a confident leader, she would be a mother type who had to take care of people and wasn’t willing to lead; that she wouldn’t be a Capable Female Character, but would instead be an emotional mess.
All my fears about the character, however, were put to rest when I saw the film. Diana was confident, she was intelligent, and she was in control of her emotions.
Diana’s confidence and belief in herself can be summed up in one spectacular line from the film, which she says to Pine’s character toward the end: “What I do is not up to you.” From the very moment we meet Diana, as a child, she is defiant and confident – running away from her tutor because she wants to learn to fight. There are moments throughout the film were Diana struggles with her confidence in herself, because movie has to movie, but overall Diana knows what she wants, is confident in her beliefs, and fights to achieve her goals. She does what she wants and she doesn’t let anyone get in her way, but she also isn’t rude and doesn’t make anyone feel badly for opposing her, except for when they genuinely deserve it. Diana is plain old confident and does what she does because she genuinely cares and wants to make the world better. In that way, Gadot and Pine did describe Diana correctly, although I still think Gadot and Pine went a bit overboard in their interviews to make Diana appear less threatening.
One aspect of the film that could have gone horribly wrong is Diana’s lack of knowledge about the human world. Diana is very intelligent about the topics that she knows, but she knows nothing of the human world and that lack of knowledge could have very easily made her seem unintelligent and stupid. Thankfully, while that aspect was used for comic relief, Diana was never the butt of the joke. Diana was so matter-of-fact and confident in what she said that everyone else’s lack of understanding her became the butt of the joke. As the audience, we were laughing at everyone else reacting to Diana, rather than laughing at Diana’s lack of knowledge.
One moment I had umbrage with was the sex scene in the second half of the film after Diana and Gang saved Veld. Since Diana had been so vocally confident and matter-of-fact about everything up until that scene and was again after that scene, the fact that she was not vocally decisive in that scene felt out of place to me. Rather than having the scene be all about looks, I would have preferred Diana to vocally ask or tell Steve to stay with her.
Overall, Wonder Woman was fantastic and Diana was awesome. Diana was the perfect amount of confident, intelligent, and controlled, she had the best costumes and hair, and there were many great fight scenes. The scene where Diana defies Steve’s orders and climbs out of the trenches and into No Man’s Land – where her Wonder Woman costume is revealed for the first time – and she stands solo against the Germans because she believes it is the right thing to do was so badass and inspiring that I started tearing up. It was that awesome.
“It’s not about [what they] deserve, it’s about what you believe.” Diana Prince/Wonder Woman has become my favorite superhero character: she has everything I love about Steve Rogers/Captain America (who used to be my favorite and is now my second favorite) but is female so I can connect and relate more. There were so many expectations placed on Wonder Woman to be empowering and inspiring, but, honestly, she is. My go-to line now when I am overly emotional or overly negative about myself is “Would Wonder Woman act this way?” I want more female characters like Diana who are confident, intelligent, and capable.
- Sara Vilkomerson, March 7, 2016, “Gal Gadot Is Wonder Woman: ‘She Is Not Relying on a Man, and She’s Not There Because of a Love Story'”, Glamour.
- Eden Univer, “The Many Faces of Chris Pine”, Dujour.
- Eliana Dockterman, December 19, 2016, “Wonder Woman Breaks Through”, TIME.