As I write this, I’m fresh off of a second viewing of Wonder Woman. The movie has remained on my mind quite a bit. Even I’m surprised by how much, and I write epics that feature Amazon-like warrior women.
I’ve written before about how Wonder Woman’s origin story is a block in the foundation of my storytelling, so it’s probably no surprise I went to see the film on opening day, or that I took my wife so I could see it again. A lot of reviews have spoken to the novelty, and even the awe felt, in seeing an entire host of skilled warrior women riding into combat and kicking ass. But I’ve spent the last decade or so vividly imaging just that.
So it isn’t just the presence of warrior women that has left me thinking about a blockbuster superhero movie (a story venue that rarely leaves me thinking beyond the drive home from the theater). It’s more about the S-word.
It’s the S-Word, Not the F-Word
Wonder Woman has gotten a lot of buzz for a superhero movie, even in the mainstream media. A lot of the talk has centered on the f-word… feminism. And I know for many woman and girls, seeing a movie of this type that features a woman is a powerful thing. I also know that, for some, WW is a slap to feminism—a side-step rather than a step forward. I’m sure that debate will not end soon.
But Wonder Woman’s gender is not what I want to address here (though I suspect it may have been an influence on what I will address). As I said, what made the experience powerful for me has more to do with the s-word… sincerity.
“I’m tired of sincerity being something we have to be afraid of doing. It’s been like that for 20 years, that the entertainment and art world has shied from sincerity, real sincerity, because we feel like we have to wink at the audience because it’s what kids like. We have to do real stories now. The world is in crisis.”—Patty Jenkins (director of Wonder Woman)
For me it was just so refreshing, and ultimately inspiring, to see a blockbuster so unafraid of embracing a belief in a “greater good.” Princess Diana of Themyscria is earnestly portrayed as a hero with innate goodness, one who is powerfully motivated by the desire to save mankind. Plus the story doesn’t shy from romantic impulses such as the innocence of youth, the corrupting influence of industrialization, and the power of love. In other words, it’s brimming with good old-fashioned sincerity. [Read more…]