Our associate reviewer Dr. Markus Watson offers a second look at this popular movie.
Rated PG-13. Running time: 2 hours 21 minutes.
Our content ratings (1-10): Violence 7; Sex/Nudity 2.
Our star rating (1-5): 5
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.
1 Peter 3:9
Themyscira is a beautiful island whose existence has been hidden for centuries from the rest of the world. It is inhabited by the mighty Amazons, an all-female tribe of gorgeous warrior women.
It is on this island that we meet Diana (Gal Gadot), the princess of Themyscira. Diana wants to learn to fight, has a passion for doing what is right, and she wants to protect her island and the world from whatever evil may attack.
Then one day, Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) crashes his plane into the ocean just off the coast of Themyscira. It is through him that Diana discovers the world is at war. But not just any war. It is World War I, the War to End all Wars.
Diana is ready to fight. More specifically, she is ready to kill Ares, the god of war, who she believes is behind this Great War. If only Ares can be destroyed, the war—Diana is convinced—will end.
So she follows Steve Trevor back to Europe where she finds a world unlike anything she could ever have imagined. She sees pain. She sees suffering. She sees cruelty and cowardice. The more darkness she sees, the more she is convinced that once Ares is dead, the world will be good and beautiful and whole once again. When Ares is dead, there will be peace.
Diana, together with Steve and three mercenaries, embarks on a mission to destroy a chemical weapons factory. When they arrive at the factory, Diana does finally face off with Ares (David Thewlis). But as Diana does battle with Ares, Steve sacrifices himself to destroy the chemical weapons. It is then that Diana recognizes what will truly bring an end to war and save the world—love.
It sounds cheesy, but Diana is right. It is love that will save the world. It is love that will bring an end to the darkness. It is love that will make the world whole again.
This is, in fact, how God did save the world. When the world was at its worst—or as the Apostle Paul puts it, “while we were still sinners”—God sent his Son to conquer the world’s evil through love. Instead of judging people, Jesus embraced them. Instead of excluding people, Jesus welcomed them. Instead of hurting people, Jesus healed them. Rather than taking from people, Jesus gave. And when the authorities attacked, tortured, and executed him, Jesus absorbed their violence and forgave them. Rather than making them (and us) suffer for our sin, Jesus endured torture and death for our sin.
In some mysterious way, Jesus broke the power of sin. Not only did he demonstrate the only way evil can truly be conquered, Jesus really did conquer evil through his sacrifice. And he made it possible for the world to be made whole once again.
Is this how Diana conquered evil in the movie? Well, that’s the irony. She says she understands now that “only love can save the world.” But she still defeats evil through violence and force. It’s the other character—the one who died while destroying the chemical weapons—who overcame evil through love.
At least Diana (aka, Wonder Woman) is on the right track.
This review with a set of questions will be in the July 2017 issue of VP.