WRITING MOVIE WRONGS BY: JIM WEST (www.moviewrongs.com)
Directed by Patty Jenkins
Written by Geoff Johns and Allan Heinberg
This is perhaps the best DC Comic Book movie of recent memory and serves as a solid character introduction before this year’s Justice League hits theaters. It’s a film with heaps of gender equality, female empowerment and something for all the young fierce girls of the world to look up to. Yet even those aspirations get somewhat saddled in the final moments of the film. It’s easy to see why, as two men wrote the screenplay! Granted, it had a female director and great screen presence of Gal Gadot and her flawless hair (even in battle she gets to whip her hair!).
Here come the spoilers!
The film opens with modern day Diana working at the Louvre in Paris in Antiquities. Convenient and fitting as she is seen receiving a secure package from Bruce Wayne (Batman from Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice) containing a replica of a photo of her from World War I. This photo was seen before in the previously mentioned film, and this origin film will base heavily upon those events.
Flashback in time to a young Diana. Fierce, feisty and ready to fight. The film does a splendid job of using a montage to show her age and progress in her training to be a warrior, all the while carefully mentioning in dialogue exchanges between characters about a secret Diana must not know. More on that later.
Diana gets to see sacred weapons from the Gods including a lasso of truth, a shield and a magical sword called the God Killer. A sword she is told Zeus himself sent down to the Amazon’s island in order to protect it for the day it needed to be used to kill Ares, the God of War. It doesn’t take long before Diana slowly discovers she has abilities and strengths her fellow Amazonian’s do not possess. Then the world comes crashing in, literally in the form of an American Spy for British Intelligence. She leaves the island with the weapons from the Gods in tow to find Ares and stop the Great War. Sounds straightforward but wait, there is more! We get to add in a team of misfits. A sniper who can’t shoot anymore, a charismatic actor who missed out on acting due to the war, and an Indian Chief who thinks living in the edges of a war zone grants him more freedom than living in America where the white man has killed off his people and stolen all their land. All of them are mercenaries for fortune and this at first displeases Diana.
Now the team is assembled we get the sets of them in action, or rather of Diana in action. The rest of the team serves up as spectators for most of these sequences. The film makes a few subtle points of emotional depth to a couple of team members, such as the sniper who cannot shoot anymore due to the ghosts that haunt him. Later on, Diana connects him with his singing voice. The rest of the team soon comes to believe in her and they are willing to fight with her for the greater good. This is where the film falls flat on a missed emotional opportunity. In the final battle scenes she should witness one by one, each team member dying in order to either protect her or to stop the Germans, each death bringing her to another level of emotional turmoil and then culminating when the last team member dies saving London from chemical attack. The sniper who can’t shoot would then make one last shot while singing. The actor would do a final performance in order to distract the enemy before being shot. The Indian would start to turn away, but return in order to sacrifice himself for the war. That would build up a huge emotional payoff when Diana realizes her full power and potential once she finds out the sword is not the God Killer, but she is.
With all of that being said I will knock the screenplay writers on a flawed message of female empowerment. In the final battle, it took a man to inspire a woman to reach her potential. That just mires the message of female empowerment for me and, therefore, makes my recommended change in writing much needed.
Thanks for reading Writing Movie ‘WRONGS’.