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Wonder Woman

The days between Mother's Day and my wife Christy's birthday are called "Christymas" in our home. It's a time to celebrate her. According to the calendar, that range of days can be anywhere from two to eight days. I buy her little trinkets for each day. This year since I was traveling I lined out the gifts for her to open each day. One of the days included a Wonder Woman plastic water cup, some WW car fresheners, and... five tickets to take the boyos to see the new film on opening day at the Alamo Drafthouse, one of my favorite places on earth! We went yesterday. The whole experience was incredible.

Christy has loved Wonder Woman since she was a little girl. She wore her WW t-shirt. She posed front of the Metropolis background flying the invisible jet while wearing WW's crown and bracelets. I have great pictures but she banned me from sharing on social media.

Wonder Woman is not our first exposure to Gal Godot. She appeared in last year's otherwise disastrous Batman vs Superman movie (read my theological review here). She was by far the best part of that movie. Here's I said about her fifteen months ago:

And in a nod to the future JUSTICE LEAGUE movies coming soon, they partner with Wonder Woman, who is all kinds of awesome. She is a strong woman not defined by her looks or the men around her. Her powers to deflect Bruce Wayne's flirting are just as strong as the tools she uses against Doomsday. She'll get her own solo film next year.

And that solo film is a smash hit, one of the best of 2017. Debate is already happening online as to whether WW is the best DC, or any comic book, film of all time. I'll reserve comment on that; The Dark Knight has a solid hold somewhere in my top 5 all time.

This movie takes place (at least the prologue and epilogue; the actual setting of the film is during WWI) after the events of BvS. Bruce Wayne obviously knows her. Her first words (narration) are, "I used to want to save the world." And I thought: oh no, DC has gone and done it again. They've already made two depressing Superman movies, where he reluctantly identifies as a hero. His own father would rather die in a tornado than have his son reveal his powers to the world (what???). But the sentiment about saving the world doesn't mean that Wonder Woman has become jaded. It refers to the mindset she had when she first left Paradise Island to fight the battle she believed would end war forever. By the end of the movie (she repeats the same line again) she understands her place in the world differently. Here are a couple of lines that speak to her mission:

I loved this movie. It has all the action you want in a summer blockbuster/tent pole movie. It is hopeful and optimistic. Unlike Clark Kent, Diana Prince is not afraid to own her power. When it is time for battle, her focus in not where the others aim. She wants to save the hungry and the lost. When everyone else gives up on the innocent because the risks are too big or the outcome is not guaranteed, she leaps into action-- not needing the approval of the men or the experts around her. In fact, she publicly shames their laziness, cowardice, and complicity in the killing. Likewise, when they act justly she lauds them. Her example and bravery inspires the same in others. I wanted to jump out of the cinema and into battle alongside her as well.

There are also many sweet, funny moments in Wonder Woman. One of her companions, talking about his life before the war, says he wanted to be an actor, but was unable to because of the color of his skin. Another, an American Indian, says his people lost all they had to the ancestors of the Chris Pine character. The fifth member of the group is a Scotsman who was once a sure shot with a long range rifle. After years of war and violence he has lost this gift. But one night after a victory he's heard playing the piano and singing in a local pub-- the first time in years. The next morning, Wonder Woman encourages him to remain part of the group despite his doubts in himself: "You can sing for us."

The central theme of the movie is about the human character-- or the human condition, as we say in the church. Are we inherently good or evil? Are war and violence the result of the actions of a few individuals or is there something imperfect in all of us that leads to destruction-- the opposite of which could be our redemption? I would love for Justice League to pause the fighting (it's not going to happen, but roll with me for a second) and have its heroes and shero sit around a Thanksgiving table and debate their understanding of the human story: Batman, whose parents were murdered when he was a child and who grew up seeking vengeance; Superman, whose home planet was destroyed, growing up here as an alien in every sense of the word; and Wonder Woman, whose understanding of the world evolved with each step she took away from her insulated home.

But enough about Batman and Superman. There have been so many films about those guys, some good, some transcendent, some dubious. Today is the 75th anniversary of Wonder Woman. It's her day. #WonderWomanDay is trending on Twitter. I tweeted this out a coupe of hours ago-- check out the number of favorites and retweets vs. the tweet I listed above:

That's a ton of social media interactions! Go see the movie this weekend if you can. Boost the numbers. It's important. Take your girls, obviously. Also take your boys. I have three (15, 12, 9). We all loved it. We went as a gift for Christy (she was blown away, BTW). It turned out to be a gift for everyone. Have fun, share your experiences on social media, and embrace a more positive view of the human condition in these difficult days. We all need it.


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