Wonder Woman is about to become a champion of female agency.
I am about to do something completely uncharacteristic. I will write about a trailer. A trailer that had its debut at Comic-Con. A trailer of a superhero film. Basically, I am about to contribute to the kind of hype machine I myself didn’t indulge in previously. And I am absolutely not saying this to be disrespectful towards or dismissive of anyone. It’s just a fact that the world of comic book films and superhero franchises has never been my beat exactly. But I have good reason to pay attention now, with the unraveling of the fantastic trailer of DC’s Wonder Woman: one of the countless upcoming entries in a universe that continues to be foreign to me. But as our very own Rob Hunter already articulated with a healthy dose of swooning, the Patty Jenkins-directed Wonder Woman gives the vibe of a fun and fresh film to look forward to on many accounts. And for me personally, its trailer did something unique that no superhero film did since Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2 over a decade ago. It earned my heated anticipation.
What made Wonder Woman stand apart instantly is its unabashedly feminist tone that bookends and marks its trailer. It’s no secret that women have been severely underserved and underutilized by these muscularity parading, loud and proudly male cinematic universes that usually overtly objectify their side females, save maybe for a Selina Kyle here or a Black Widow there (even though I am aware of the over-sexualization criticisms aimed at the latter.) So it was invigorating to hear that this year’s Comic-Con was ruled by superheroines like Captain Marvel and Harley Quinn, as reported by Jen Yamato over at The Daily Beast. In the case of Wonder Woman, it is refreshing to see a superhero trailer that starts with the direct gaze of a female. The first words said by Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) in the trailer are “You’re a man.” So it is made clear from the get-go that not only this is Wonder Woman’s movie, but it also would be from the point of the view of a female through and through.
The trailer offers other hints along the way too on the upcoming film’s womanly themes. In one scene, Diana’s mother Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen) holds her daughter’s face as she tells her she’s been her greatest love. Later in the trailer, Diana goes on to explaining that she’s never had a father and was brought to life by Zeus. So…a female superhero, who is raised solely by the love and power of her mother? Count me in.
And Wonder Woman doesn’t stop there. The trailer indicates we are in the presence of a film that truly understands, respects and celebrates female agency. When Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) protests and says “I can not let you do this” to Diana, surely within regards to a brave course of action she is about to shoulder to work towards the well-being of others, she responds with “What I do is not up to you”; a line that instantly brings down stock female tropes of action movies who usually are made to beg their men to stay at home and avoid selfless courage. So allow me to gush for a second here over the prospect of a movie that lets its female lead take charge of her own and others’ destiny.
The end of the trailer gives us a glimpse of her exchange with another woman who works as Steve Trevor’s secretary. “I go where he tells me to go, I do what he tells me to do,” she says, in an attempt to explain to Diana what a secretary does. “Where I’m from, that’s called slavery,” she says, bringing down yet another trope of nurturing, obliging and agreeable women who are only there to support and further a male agenda, so men can shine while women “happily” take a backseat.
And finally, a few words on the costumes of Wonder Woman. Well, they are spectacular from the blue gown that hides a sword on its back to the character’s stylishly functional warrior costume that makes her look empowered and thrilling more than anything. Her looks convey unapologetic authority and not objectified sexuality.
Like I said, count me in.