The creator, William Moulton Marston, of the comic hero, Wonder Woman, envisioned a female arch type that exhibits “force, strength and power.” Now that she is on the big screen, Wonder Woman’s powerful force and strength would rival that of Superman, Batman and Iron Man. A paraphrase of Greek mythology, she is from Themyscira, a beguiling island-state where Hippolyta, her mother, is the Queen and Antiope, her aunt, is a warrior. Growing up free and free spirited, and drawn to her aunt’s martial influence, the future Wonder Woman is destined to be a warrior wonder.
One day, puttering across the clear blue sky, a fighter plane dislodges a clear blue-eye fly boy (Chris Pine) into her idyllic existence. In time, the warrior wonder returns with Steve Trevor to Europe. The Great War’s great darkness – the war that is to end all wars – has descended on that great continent. Gal Gadot’s (a former Israeli soldier) Wonder Woman has an effortless beauty. Soon known as Diana Prince, at once she projects a physical and existential beauty. With lush, long, black hair, she adorns her sexuality the way she wears her armor-plated bra. She is an aesthetic wonder to behold.
But it is her perplexed countenance in rectitude glances at evil that reveals her interior beauty. She is compassionate but not temerarious and tender but steadfast. Mystified by humanity’s greed for power and wealth that led to the war, Wonder Woman is assiduous. “Why is the world so evil?” she asks. Steve’s confession puts all evil in proper perspective, “We’re all to blame!” Another warns her, “Men are easily corrupted.” In small and great ways, this global village is evil because its villagers have mostly bad intentions and behave mostly badly.
Wonder Woman, the action hero, is refreshingly different from the others. A truer hero, she does not possess the dark demons of Christian Bale’s Dark Knight in Batman nor the messianic complexity in Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man. Her invulnerable powers are equally matched by her vulnerable ideals. In purity of spirit, she considers it her sacred calling to perpetrate peace into a conflicted world. In purity of will, her veracity viscerally seeks to right all that is wrong and free all those who are oppressed.
Wonder Woman, the movie, is instinctively fun to watch and serious enough in subtexts to ponder long afterwards. My Christian’s worldview resonates with Wonder Woman’s moral center without imprecation. These post-modern days, there seems little moral clarity in heroes, super or not. More skepticism than realism, motion pictures’ portraitures muddle mostly in darker shades of moral greys. Pale is its lucidity between good and evil, right and wrong, heroic and villainous. Wonder Woman calls her illuminous rope “lasso of truth,” letting on that her fight against evil is corralled by the purity of her desire for what is true, just and good. Her purity of spirit gives me hope.
Can a single woman right what is wrong with the world? Of course not. Ares, evil personified, taunts Wonder Woman to look around. Evil apparently is winning! Wonder Woman retorts, “Is not what you see; it’s what you believe.” That is, her purity of hope believes that goodness will ultimately triumph. She keeps good company with Habakkuk. That ancient Hebrew prophet witnessed a world gone hellish but clung to hope: though the fig tree don’t blossom, nor fruit on the vines . . . and the fields yield no food, the flock cut off, and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. Wonder Woman’s purity of hope gives me hope as well.