I was worried about Wonder Woman. Not about Gal Gadot being fit for the part, nor even if the story would continue the dismal DC parade of failed narratives. (Okay, maybe the latter a little.) No, mostly I was worried I’d have to watch reams of stupid sword stuff like this.
I covered why this sword-on-the-back thing is terrible in my essay, “Four of the Dumbest Things Done with Swords in Fiction and Film.” It applies to both katanas and beefy, quasi-gladii like “The God Killer.” This photo appears all over the Internet whenever anyone talks about Wonder Woman. It makes the movie look dumb as dirt. (To me, anyway.)
Fortunately, this image didn’t appear in the movie at all. I remember one scene where the sword had been fastened to her back with leather thongs, only to magically appear in her hand a few moments later after a scene cut, but that was about it. In an earlier scene, she wears the sword at her side, where it’s actually accessible. As for the dance scene, I’m going to pretend that didn’t happen…
…because, for the most part, this movie was glorious.
I don’t want to add any more photos or details in case of spoilers. Suffice it to say that, as I watched the Amazons fight, it was so beautiful I cried. The Amazons were chiefly comprised of professional female athletes. They absolutely killed it with the battle choreography, making every moment breathtaking. And they looked frightening in battle. In fact, I didn’t even recognize Robin Wright as Antiope, not until long after the movie was over when someone online pointed out who she was. Gotta say, to see thick scars snaking over Antiope’s body made me swoon.
(Also made me swoon: Chris Pine tied up with the Lasso of Truth, kneeling before the Amazons as he winced with pain. Ahem.)
As for Diana Prince, Gal Gadot fit the part perfectly, bringing a believable naïveté to her courageous personality. God, I loved her. The No Man’s Land scene is already a classic.
My congratulations to the stunt and fight choreographers and coordinators: Damon Caro, Wayne Dalglish, Allen Jo, Tim Rigby, Marcus Shakesheff, Lee Sheward, and Rudolph Vrba. Amazing work.
But most of all, thanks to Patty Jenkins. You made the heart of this swordwoman sing.