MASSIVE SPOILERS from Wonder Wonder Woman are ahead. Proceed at your own risk!
“It is our sacred duty to defend the world. And it is what I am going to do.” – Diana Prince
Wonder Woman is easily the most beloved DC superhero film since The Dark Knight Rises concluded Christopher Nolan’s spectacular trilogy. Patty Jenkin’s stepped in and directed quite a masterpiece. This movie starring Gal Gadot has won over critics and audiences alike. In fact, this is the first DCEU film to be beloved by both sides.
While the Wonder Woman trailers have clearly shed light on some of the major villains (General Ludendorff, Dr. Maru, and Ares: The God of War), it’s really the war itself that’s actually the main villain of the entire film.
War, What Is It Good For?
Captain America: The First Avenger gave us an interesting taken World War II as Hydra maintained control over the German army. Led by the evil Red Skull, Hyrdra sought world domination and planned to eradicate any who opposed them. While this Captain America film showed us some of the necessary war combat, it didn’t truly show us the cause and effects of the war.
One the other hand, Wonder Woman takes place during the middle of World War I and it plays such a pivotal role in entire movie. So much so, that all of the decisions from the characters are based around the war itself. Diana Prince is constantly fighting an uphill battle time and time again, but we as an audience are with her every step of the way. There are quite a few scenes in this film that perfectly embodies the tragic cause and effects of the war on people.
Diana Calls The Generals Cowards
In one of the earliest scenes of the movie, Diana follows Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) to a meeting in which he delivers the stolen documents that were used to create a more deadlier form of mustard gas. Meanwhile Sir Patrick Morgan (David Thewlis) is in the middle of negotiating an armistice with Germany. Believing that Ludendorff will used the gas regardless, Steve asks the Cabinet to be allowed to cross into the front. The entire Imperial War Cabinet disagree with his decision to go and Steve leaves without putting up a fight.
Diana wasn’t going to take no for an answer and exclaims that they are generals who are too afraid to fight alongside their men in battle. Diana states that “Generals are supposed to be dying with their soldiers in battle.” As she’s slowly but surely removed out of the meeting room by Trevor she makes it known to everyone there that they are merely cowards. This scene shows that Diana has heart and isn’t afraid of letting these superiors know how she really feels.
Diana Physically Sees The Effects Of The War
One thing this film did tremendously well is to show the audience how brutal this Great War is. As Diana and Steve are crossing a bridge, they are met with people who have just come back from a major battle. Some of these individuals have lost limbs, are shaken by the aftermath of the battle, or have perished.
Diana can’t help but want to offer assistance to these people but Steve constantly tells her that “There’s no time.” Wonder Woman has that mindset of helping these individuals, but Steve is trying to save the entire world and prevent the war from doing any more damage than it already has. A later scene shows her walking by some horses stuck in mud and she believes that the men are mistreating the animals when in reality they are doing everything they can to get them out of there.
This is the very first time that Diana has ever seen this much bloodshed and it makes such an impact on her that the greatest scene in the entire movie establishes herself as Wonder Woman. Speaking of which…
No Man’s Land Helps Define Diana’s Character
This scene is so iconic because it perfectly encapsulates the character of Wonder Woman. In fact, this is the very scene she comes into her own as Wonder Woman. Everything led to this moment and it’s easily the best part in the entire film.
After Diana meets a woman who pleads for their help, she takes the initiative to go out in the middle of the battle to liberate a nearby village under German control. Trevor again voices his displeasure of sacrificing their lives to save these people but Diana does the unthinkable and puts her own life on the line.
Miraculously they are victorious and obliterate all of the nearby German army while also saving many lives in the process. It’s such a fantastic and emotional scene that we as an audience are left cheering in the theater. It’s crazy to think that this scene was even at one point thought about getting cut.
Once again the war is the villain here as we later learn that all those people Diana saved was eventually killed by the deadly mustard gas that was issued by Ludendorff. Diana can’t help but feel devastated by the effects of this Great War. After all she and her men went through, it almost appeared as it as all for naught.
Ares Reveals That It Was Humankind’s Decision To Cause War and Violence
The final reveal in the film shows us that David Thewlis’s character was actually Ares: The God of War. Shortly after the epic fight takes place, Ares makes it known to Diana that even though he was the one who gave thoughts and ideas towards people, it was humankind’s ultimate decision to make those choices. Ares may have been the overarching villain, but he never forced anyone to do his bidding.
This makes it all the more heartbreaking when Wonder Woman hesitates on killing Dr. Maru. While this individual may have been the one to concoct all of the mustard gas that just recently killed those civilians, Diana finds it in her heart to realize that all of this destruction was heavily influenced by Ares.
Not only this, but Diana also has to watch Steve Trevor make the ultimate sacrifice to stop the mustard gas from preventing any more harm. Having just expressed his love to her, Trevor flies the plane out into the sky and takes a moment to reflect before igniting the bombs in the sky. Diana screams out in horror but knew the job had to be done. It’s a fitting conclusion to the character we’ve come to love and it just goes to show the horrific tragedy that any war can bring.