The appeal of superhero characters with initiative, purpose and heart found itself in unchartered new territory in recent years with the release of Wonder Woman (2017), with actress Gal Gadot’s powerful, yet human performance of Amazon warrior princess Diana. It’s fair to say we were all blown away by Patty Jenkins-directed heroic and spirited version of Wonder Woman. It is arguably one of the best superhero films of recent years. Although Wonder Woman made her impressive debut in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, it is here in her origins story that she arrives from her mythological world of Themyscira, to help the allies defeat the villainous German General Ludendorff, whom Diana believes is in fact the incarnation of Ares, the God of War.
In short, Wonder Woman is an enthralling spectacle from beginning to end. And while Wonder Woman’s exploits may be fictional, the reaction from thousands of girls and young women around the world was (and still is) very real. Many truly see Gadot’s powerful and compassionate portrayal of Wonder Woman as nothing sort of inspirational – a statement of female empowerment. Personally, I cannot wait for the sequel!
But before we get excited for one of the most anticipated films this year with Wonder Woman 1984, I recently revisited the original (if you can call it that) and once again rediscovered all the things that I enjoyed about it the first time round. But if I’m to pick just one scene that left me totally awestruck, it is without a doubt the ‘No Man’s Land’ sequence. In short, it is arguably the most important scene in the whole movie, where Gadot truly becomes Wonder Woman!
What is interesting about the ‘No Man’s Land’ scene is that up until that moment, Diana’s focus was squarely fixated on her mission to stop General Ludendorff’s plan in releasing a deadly gas on the Western Front. It took only a moment of compassion in the trenches, when she is stopped by a desperate and frightened woman holding a child (who begs Diana to help her) that our Wonder Woman realises that she can no longer stand by and watch the innocent suffer in a conflict designed by warmongers who didn’t care about its far reaching consequences.
It is here that Diana tries to convince Steve Trevor, played by Chris Pine, that they should help the frightened woman and her village that was seized by the Germans on the other side of no man’s land. The exasperated Trevor explains to Diana that it is impossible to cross no man’s land and that they should concentrate on their mission. “We can’t save everyone in this war. This is not what we came here to do,” he tells her.
Only a moment after realising that her plea had fallen on deaf ears, Diana instinctively decided to take up the fight singlehandedly against an entire German battalion. What crystallizes from here on end is pure cinema magic, and without sounding cheesy, an act of heroism above and beyond the call of duty, maybe even for an Amazonian goddess.
Donning her iconic armour and with her shield in hand, Wonder Woman stands as beckon of hope and courage, as she shields against an onslaught of German might, encouraging her compatriots to eventually take up the fight besides her, arguably (I’m told) reminiscent of the famous 1839 history painting Liberty Leading The People by Eugene Delacrox. Enjoy!