Top 5 Moments in Wonder Woman Wonder Woman
In a movie that was chock-full of amazing visuals, engaging story and incredible action, it's hard to narrow down just a handful of moments to tout as the best. And yet here we are, doing the impossible. Will wonders never cease?
So without further ado, and in no particular order, here are my picks for the top 5 moments in Wonder Woman:
"This is No-man's Land"
Let me start off with the most obvious one. You'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who didn't absolutely love the No-man's Land sequence, and with good reason. It's an incredibly powerful moment in the film, where Diana, finally fed-up with being told that she cannot help, literally steps up to embrace her role as an active participant, rather than a passive bystander.
Everything, from the way it's set-up, the angles it's shot with, down to the pounding score behind it, elevates this scene to one of the most epic superhero moments on film. The gravity of seeing a female superhero showcased in such mythic proportions for the first time, was emotionally powerful. This moment screams importance.
This is a cheat moment, because it really encompasses two moments in the film. The first is on the beaches of Themyscira as the Amazons war with the German soldiers. There's an unforgettable moment where Antiope, the general of the Amazon Army, shouts "Shield!", and the Amazon nearby knows exactly what to do, using her shield to propel Antiope high above the battlefield and take down three Germans with one shot. It's a testament to the Amazons' training and skill at working together, not to mention it's just an outright bad-ass moment.
There's an extremely satisfying call-back to this moment much later in the film, when Steve, having witnessed this move on Themyscira, mirrors it to help Diana take out a sniper in the tower of the German encampment. Not only is the move executed perfectly, it results in Diana literally annihilating the tower; the perfect finale to the extended battle that liberates the village from hostile control.
"Is this what people do when there are no wars to fight?"
It's rare for a summer blockbuster superhero movie to spend much time building their characters quite as deliberately as Wonder Woman does. One of those exceptional quieter character moments happens after the battle at Veld, with the villagers celebrating their freedom into the night. What starts as casual banter about dancing, turns into a wonderful intimate discussion between Diana and Steve, as they dance under a light snow-fall.
The setting itself is beautifully romantic, but the conversation itself is what elevates the moment. The discussion of the mundane beauty of life outside of wartime, serves as a point on the futility of war in itself, but perhaps more importantly, subtly hints at a common desire between both characters to explore the possibilities of their relationship once the war is over.
"We are all to blame"
It's the final nail in the coffin of Diana's naivety regarding the world of mankind. It's her final realization that humans are not simply pure beacons of goodness, but can be agents of corruption and darkness all on their own. After killing General Ludendorff, and witnessing the activities of war continuing around her, Diana is confused and reaches a state of panic, as she realizes that all that she once believed in is put into question. Steve's speech to her about the harsh reality of mankind is poignant at this time. He needs her help to stop the war, but he doesn't sugar-coat reality. He tells Diana the truth. There isn't one bad guy to blame. We're all to blame. And even as Diana whispers "I'm not", Steve's reply is even more telling of his character; "but maybe I am".
Steve accepts that even he probably doesn't deserve Diana's help, and that mankind is inherently flawed, and he along with the rest. If help were dealt to merely those that deserve it, then perhaps none would really deserve help. But believing in doing the right thing to change a world full of wrongs, is more important, and it's the philosophy that stays with Diana and shapes her morality long after the war is over.
"Fighting does not make you a hero"
This statement is made almost off-hand by Hippolyta at the start of the film when she tries to convince a young Diana that war is nothing to hope for. It's a strange statement to be made in a movie that is at least partially a war-film. However, it is the final driving message of the film, that Diana herself realizes by the end. War merely breeds more war, and sometimes the greatest acts of heroism have nothing to do with fighting. This is exemplified in the heart-breaking moment when Steve courageously sacrifices himself. It's this act that spurs Diana to embrace a more optimistic outlook on mankind as a whole.
The double playback of his farewell to her is used powerfully to remind Diana, that not all men are selfish war-mongers. Steve isn't sacrificing himself for her, he already knows she's immune to the poisonous gas. So rather than it be some sort of epic gesture of romantic love, instead it's an act of pure selflessness for what he believes is right, giving up any future he might have had with her, in order to save thousands of nameless and faceless people. And it's this moment, when played for the second time, with the realization of what Steve had really done, that causes Diana to set aside her wrath, and show mercy to Doctor Maru, and declare that she believes in something far greater than war and judgement.
In the end, it's not a grand act of combat that serves as the lynchpin for the outcome of the movie, but rather a very human and very flawed person seeing beyond themselves, to make the ultimate sacrifice, thus proving to Wonder Woman that mankind is worth saving. And it allows her to shine as a beacon of hope and love, and truly be the superhero we all really need.