Only having watched wonder woman a little over 3 days ago, I am regrettably, extremely late to the Gal Gadot party…
I wasn’t expecting much before it’s release when you consider the disastrous tropes the DC cinematic universe have been adopting in recent years, but once it started showing in cinemas everyone was falling over themselves trying to tell me how great it was. It’s clear now that you can only Marvel (oi oi) at the talent that is Patty Jenkins and the dramatic U-Turn she took far away from DC’s past mistakes. There was an undeniable weight on Jenkins’ shoulders when she took on the project, not only must she carve a new path for DC directors, she was taking on DC’s first project centred around a female superhero. So not only did she have DC’s new reputation to contend with she had to take into account negative/positive female representation in the history of cinema.
For me, she hit it all the way out of the park and beyond.
In the gifs below, you can see Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) trying ice cream for the first time, a small inclusion from the Justice Leauge comics in which she declares her love for the dairy goodness.
Cinema has a bad habit of over-sexualizing and fetishizing women eating which is rarely shown, to begin with. However, the power of Patty Jenkins stepped in and deviated from this completely. Firstly, Diana eating isn’t even the main focus of the frame, my eyes were drawn to Steve (Chris Pine) paying the vendor rather than Diana’s first bite, the audience isn’t asked to pay mind to the eating heroine with visual cues, in my experience I was unconsciously ignoring it. Beyond her eating not being the focus of the scene, there is no unnecessary sexualisation, no tentative first lick all under the gaze of a male suitor. She bites straight into the scoop in the same way most ordinary women would. There’s no fuss or fanfare there is just a woman trying ice cream for the first time and it happens to be in a film.
This is just ONE example of hundreds we see in Wonder Woman that shows Patty Jenkins making Diana a feminist icon for women across the world without added emphasis on the character’s sexuality or feminine aspects of her personality all without main characters on screen falling into the trap of gender roles in the early 1940’s. She managed to show a balance between Diana and Steve on screen in which neither appeared to be the damsel in distress and neither gave me a femme fatal vibe. So without reversing gender roles common in superhero movies and without sticking to them the scripting, the production, the direction and production all come together to give the fans everything they have craved in a female superhero that DC has failed to provide for quite some time.
Who would’ve thought that all we needed to correct poor female representation in superhero & action movies was a female director? Oh, Wait…