The Story Geeks blogger Ashley Pauls responds with an additional perspective to the same topic discussed in this week’s podcast – debating the best movie in the DCEU. Want to share your own take? Join the conversation in The Story Geeks Facebook group!
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It’s not just my favorite DC Extended Universe film — it’s one of my favorite superhero films AND one of my all-time favorite films of any genre.
“Wonder Woman” is a movie that’s very close to my heart, for several reasons. We still don’t have enough female-led superhero and action films, and “Wonder Woman” was an important milestone. The film also was directed by a woman, Patty Jenkins, who is herself a trailblazer. But on an even more personal level, this movie premiered in theaters during a difficult time in my life, and Wonder Woman’s journey in this film served as a source of inspiration for me.
I could fill up waaay too many blog posts writing about how special “Wonder Woman” is to me, but here are the top three reasons why I think it’s the best DCEU film (and why it’s one of my favorite movies, period).
1. Love conquers all
We’re not necessarily used to superheroes stopping in the middle of a “big boss fight” to tell the villain about “the power of love.” However, that’s exactly what Wonder Woman does with her declaration “I believe in love” at the end of the film — and I support that 100%.
It’s weird to me that sometimes in the past, love has been perceived as a “weak” or “silly” emotion. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Love is a strong, powerful force; it inspires hope and compassion, and pushes people to look beyond themselves and reach out to help others.
A true superhero is someone who is motivated by kindness, love, and compassion, and Wonder Woman exemplifies this beautifully. It’s why I also love Rose’s line from “The Last Jedi” about “not fighting what we hate” but “saving what we love.”
Some people see this line as too on the nose, but with everything we’re seeing in our culture these days, this is a message that needs to be shared as overtly as possible. Love should be celebrated, not mocked, and I appreciate that “Wonder Woman” took a step back from the fighting for just a moment to remind us that we should be driven by love rather than hatred, selfishness, or a desire for revenge.
2. Diana and Steve
One of my favorite parts of “Wonder Woman” was watching the relationship develop between Diana and Steve Trevor. It’s probably my favorite romance in a superhero movie because it’s handled in such a beautiful way and comes from a place of mutual respect.
Despite the time period and cultural issues of his day, Steve has no problems following a female leader. He respects her as a warrior and loves her so much that he is willing to die for her, clearing a path for her to save the day.
Steve also shows Diana that humanity is worth redeeming, and her love for him inspires her to keep fighting.
It was great to see Diana and Steve’s camaraderie throughout the film, and how their relationship made them both better people. Both Gal Gadot and Chris Pine gave really great performances, and I’m excited to see them both in the sequel (even though I’m not quite sure about the logistics surrounding Steve’s return).
3. No Man’s Land
No Man’s Land is one of my favorite scenes in a superhero film. I love the acting, cinematography, and music in this scene, but what I love even more is what a significant character moment this is for Diana.
World War I is one of the most horrifying conflicts in human history, and “Wonder Woman” gives us a small taste of what it might have been like to live through that horror. When she arrives on the front lines, she finds soldiers who are weary and demoralized.
I probably would have given up and turned around in that moment, but Diana doesn’t. She is not going to abandon people in need.
And so, she climbs up out of the trench and faces a line-up of gunners, a lone beacon of hope shining in an incredibly dark place. Her heroism and courage inspire others to keep fighting.
This scene also means a lot to me because less than a week after “Wonder Woman” premiered, I received a life changing medical diagnosis. 2017 had already been a very difficult year, and this was a yet another blow.
I was tired and discouraged. It was hard to find the strength to keep fighting. But I came to think of Diana climbing up out of the trench in No Man’s Land as a metaphor for my own journey. I couldn’t give up, no matter how much I felt like it. I had to keep persevering. I would listen to the “Wonder Woman” soundtrack on my drive to work in the morning, and remembering the No Man’s Land scene helped.
I’m not a superhero, but this scene reminds me that I am strong enough, and I am brave enough to face the challenges life throws my way. I’m thankful to Patty Jenkins for giving us a film that continues to inspire me.