Wonder Woman (Jenkins, 2017)

Problematic in many ways, not least in non-believable world creation (the logic of relationship between Diana’s world and the world of humankind simply doesn’t make sense, as the final scene is forced to recognise in deeply unconvincing gloss mode) and the ideals of female power (the paradisaical women-only society instantly slaughters a group of newcomers and tortures the sole survivor). These matters aside, we have the issue of historicisation. Superheroes by conception are anti-democratic: the hyper-privileged individual acting unilaterally above communal laws, and so on, and the decision to place one so specifically in historical context greatly deepens this problem. Wonder Woman would have us believe that the saviour of humanity was blissfully unruffled by global atrocities preceding the First World War. The only one explicitly referenced in the film, the colonisation of the Americas, is simply ignored: the scene merely fades to the next and is never alluded to again. The unavoidable implication is that our warrior Buddha saviour is only really concerned with the suffering of white people. The film would also have us believe (until the aforementioned fudge of the final scene) that the actions of a single hero, played by an actor who is both Jewish and an ex-member of the Israeli Defense Forces, conquered the impulse of violence and destruction in human history precisely in November 1918. Neither of these conclusions are easy to stomach.

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