One of our back-to-back appointments here in California was cancelled, freeing the Saturday afternoon hours, so we decided to go see “Wonder Woman,” a great hero of my childhood now back in living cinematic color.
The Israeli girl they found to play her looks absolutely fabulous. Not muscle bound (“overtrained” they call it in Israel) but agile as service in the IDF renders you, the martial athleticism and stunning good looks are not artificially combined in this instance. The computer magic that extends her native powers blends seamlessly with what the real woman can do. The script is tight and the dialogue often amusing. Though the setting is World War I, the pacing is very much of the present hour.
There was a move to ban the film in Lebanon (on account of the Israeli actress) which I believe was unsuccessful. So it’s showing now all round the planet.
Which is interesting because – am I the only one who has caught this? – it’s a cinematic expression of Jewish theological assumptions about good and evil as well as Jewish experience of these realities.
- The terrible weapon that Wonder Woman battles to overcome is partly exported from the Caliphate in Ottoman Turkey. Of course, those jihadis whose aim is a revived global caliphate are also dedicated enemies to Jewish political independence.
- The world’s most terrible weapon exudes poison gas, surely a reference to Zyklon B, the gas that was used to murder Jews en masse in the Nazi era.
- The mistaken approach to the combat turns out to involve laying down arms and entering a negotiation with an enemy whose will-to-kill is entirely active, uncured and dangerous as ever.
- Appeasement of this kind is finally unmasked as evil’s handiest instrument.
- The dreams of prelapsarian and post-apocalyptic innocence — where the devil is conceived as a being external to our human condition — are alike exposed as escapist fantasies.
- All of us have a good and an evil impulse and we have to do the best we can with the real people that we are.
And, as the original Wonder Woman used to say to her acolytes in my childhood:
You can do if you think you can, girls!