I am looking forward to this part more than the first.
Now I get to talk about the meaning of the movie.
(Let me preface it by saying I am not claiming this movie is christian. But I think they used Christian elements to tell the story. Maybe just because that was what they thought would work. I won’t assume more than that. And I think it’s good whether they did it on purpose or not.)
This is where I feel this movie did do something new.
And I also feel that the fans are entirely missing the point when they nitpick the plot for being like other films. The plot was never supposed to be what made this movie different.
It’s Diana herself.
I think I related to her more not because she’s a woman, but because I felt like her story was kind of like my story.
At least par to fit was.
She was homeschooled after all. And very, very sheltered.
So what happens when you stick that combination into the real world?
Diana’s reaction to the horrors of war really hit home with me. Her honest admission that it was horrible. And her demand that promises be kept. Her insistence that they help those who could not help themselves. And her shock when she learned that Steve, one of the good guys, was a liar, smuggler, thief, and that his people had mistreated other peoples of the world. Just as the Germans had.
Diana starts off believing that even Germans are good, truly, and that Ares is to blame for the evil they are doing, and all the evils of war. When she confronts him, she is ready to unleash justice on all their behalf. But to her astonishment, Ares, while under the rope of truth, tells her that he doesn’t make men do the evil they do. All he does is inspire certain parts of it, and manipulate them into doing more things to prolong their troubles.
I believe Ares was still mincing the truth somewhat, though not completely. He’s bound to have more resistance to the rope than a human could, and he only told part of the story.
But Are’s here is a pretty obvious representation of Satan. The tempter, the deceiver, the one who encourages man to sin. But who will say, “I didn’t make him do it.”
Well, no. Satan can’t make a person sin. As in, he can’t put a gun it their hand and make them pull the trigger. But God is pretty clear about tempters still having a major share of the guilt when someone listens to them.
But Diana and we ourselves can’t avoid the truth that man does sin, and he does it voluntarily.
I still remember when I felt the way Diana did when she saw the men still fighting, and she realized Professor Poison really was a psychopath, only getting helped by Ares, but not set on that path by him.
I remember that sick horror when I realized the evils of things like Abortion, or the holocaust, or abuse.
The look on her face was just the look I remember having. And I remember feeling the same doubt about people. In fact, I still struggle with wondering if people can change. If there is truly anything in most of us worth saving.
And by the way, Ares does not highlight anything except the evils of man and his blindness to his own folly. That’s because that’s all Ares cares about. That’s all the devil cares about. The goodness in humanity makes him look less successful.
And like Diana, I have wished I could help everyone who needs it. I don’t want you all to think I’m saintly or anything for feeling that way. If you ask me, it’s no more than decent to want to alleviate the suffering of fellow creatures.
But the truth is, even a superhero can never help them all.
And the smart thing the movie does is come to grips with that fact. It’s basically what Civil War tried and failed to do. And what every Spiderman movie has dealt with.
Diana realizes that she can’t do it all.
I loved the moment at the end when she says she can’t save the world. Though Steve told her she could, she realized the truth: A hero can’t save the world. “Only love can save the world,” she says.
Diana doesn’t mean that just being nice to everyone can save the world. She means that, though evil still rises and men still commit it willingly, the other men who give up everything to stop them and save their people are the ones who save the world.
Essentially, only the ultimate good is more powerful than the ultimate evil. And Diana means to promote that good, and if necessary, lay down her own life, until that good wins out.
And since I believe love is a Person, I know that love has saved the world, and continues to save it. And will triumph in the end. So Diana is completely right.
And Steve’s sacrifice is our example of that love in action. It’s not just a cliche that his last words were “I love you.”
One more thing:
Earlier on, Steve tells Diana that maybe saving people isn’t about what they deserve, but about what you believe. I didn’t get it and thought it was some cheesy one line moral, until Diana was in the final battle with Ares, and she chose to spare Professor Poison’s life, even though she could have justified killing her as an act of war.
But she didn’t, because int hat moment for Diana, it became aobut more than just ending the war. And she repeated what Steve said to Ares as she turned from taking revenge.
You see, what Steve meant was not that you believe in the good of humanity. That would be flimsy and the movie proves it false.
What he meant was, you save people because you believe that is the right thing to do. You believe that somehow, someway, it’s important. It means something. You believe that there’s a different solution than just eliminating them.
If that’s what you believe, and that’s who you are, then you won’t change that just because they don’t deserve it.
And wow, was that a powerful message for me.
Maybe defeating Ares isn’t about stopping war. Maybe it’s aobut winning the war inside yourself. Maybe it means throwing off your own lust for revenge, for power, for the ultimate solution.
Because you don’t have it. But you can be part of it.
Isn’t throwing off all that what truly ends a war anyway?
In that sense, I think Diana killing Ares was symbolic. That was her personal battle. But she recognized that is was not so for all of humanity. The battle is different for everyone.
Diana starts off the movie proud but unaware of her own power; she ends it knowing what she is capable of, but humbled.
And darn it, if that’s not an amazing character arc, then there is just no pleasing some people.
So, I recommend the movie.