I have been unsure if I wanted to voice my issues with this movie, because it is making so many people so happy and I don’t want to distract from what a major victory it is. Beyond the great stride that Patty Jenkins just took with the film, beyond how many barriers it smashed through, and what it meant to a legion of fans both male and female; it was a damn good film.
However, I do have one issue that I just… couldn’t stop thinking about. While I do have some nitpicks involving the mythology and origins of Wonder Woman, I can let those go. I do think they closed the door on some potential stories but this is an adaptation and they are allowed to make some changes or go with whatever run they want to as a basis, despite my personal preference. No, the thing that bothers me is the same thing that has bothered me with all of the DCEU, I HATE that the Trinity is killing people. I just can’t get past that. There is this odd thing where out of all of them people seem most willing to accept Diana as a killer due to her warrior upbringing. However, that just rings so false in my ears. She wasn’t raised in a war-like culture, but one based on peace. Combat training would be something more akin to how we think of martial arts than marine training. They prepare for battle in the hopes of never needing to use those skills. And somehow this martial prowess seems to make people think Wonder Woman is the one most at peace with death?
Wonder Woman loves everyone, truly. This is one of her defining character traits, she genuinely cares about everyone and would not want to hurt them. Still, I should have known what to expect when that started having her run around with a sword and shield. Why? WHY would Wonder Woman needs a sword and shield?? That is like giving the Flash a motorcycle or Superman a suit of power armor! Wonder Woman already has her vambraces to deflect bullets and will heal from just about anything(she is nigh invulnerable at times but they seem to not be following that continuity which is fine). She is also incredibly strong and has no reason to carry around a weapon that is for killing. Her only weapons she carried over the years have been her bracers and lasso. These are very telling because they don’t say warrior or killer, they aren’t tools of destruction. She is wearing armor to protect herself and a tool to subdue her enemies, not harm them. Murder is nowhere in the mission statement.
I probably should have come to expect this from the DCEU, and its been my biggest problem throughout. I tangentially was enjoying Man of Steel until the Zod neck snap had it crumbling down. And I DESPISE that we have a Batman who both uses guns and kills people in his first outing. I swear to God that is more abhorrent to the canon of Batman than the entirety of the Gotham tv show. And now we have a Wonder Woman willing to kill in battle and I just… I would love to be able to be excited for the upcoming films because Wonder Woman was such a good time. But I am not sure if I can, I don’t know if I can get past this or rather, if I should?
I am worried about being hypocritical because the heroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe do kill. The Netflix heroes being the only ones to show a serious distaste for it. However, it did make me ask why can I enjoy a film where Captain America kills people but not one where Wonder Woman does? And the answer is simple. I hold the Trinity to a higher standard. I love the Marvel heroes, but they are more human and flawed. The Trinity are known worldwide and are pillars of modern mythology because they are more than just characters; they represent something. They are meant to show us what we can become. Superman shows us a bright future we can achieve and to never stop looking up. Batman shows that anyone can accomplish great things and shows how one person can inspire their community. And Wonder Woman fights for the truth; that everyone, no matter how different, deserves our love and respect.
These heroes mean a lot to me. So when I see them with blood on their hands, for the sake of making them more human, believable, or dark. I see our ideals tarnished. Rather than looking up at our heroes, seeing the distance between us and striving to move ourselves forward, we have opted to drag our heroes down closer to ourselves.