When I finally watched Wonder Woman 1984, the much delayed sequel to the 2017 Wonder Woman origin story, also directed by Patty Jenkins, I was surprised to find myself crying from beginning to end during the opening sequence where young Diana competes in the Amazon Games on the mythical Greek island of Themyscira, cheered by an audience of all women. Maybe she reminded me of myself as a child who loved to read comic books, my favorite being Superman, which in Italy was called Nembo Kid. Or as a sporty volleyball-playing teenager, I identified with the athletic prowess of this 8-year-old girl fighting to win the competition beating grown-up women.
When I spoke with Gal Gadot recently, the Israeli actress who plays the DC Comic superhero, she confessed that she cried as well, even though she was not in those flashback scenes. The mother of two little girls, ages 3 and 9, with her husband of 12 years Yaron Varsano, described Wonder Woman in 2017 as “the most unique and simple superhero, because she is the strongest one, the most powerful one, and she is independent, she can fight for rights, but she is also kind and loving, vulnerable and open and willing to learn.”
I had featured Patty Jenkins in my 2017 article about Women directors, and also Angela Robinson, the writer/director of Professor Marston and the Wonder Women, about the psychology professor who created Wonder Woman in 1941, and she had hoped that the US would have a woman president, Hillary Clinton, by the time her movie was released.
I saw a clear reference to Donald Trump in Max Lord (Pedro Pascal), the villain of Wonder Woman 1984, a fake billionaire and TV personality. There is also a Ronald Reagan-like President, whose wish is to have more nukes than the Russians. So the political undertones are clear. Patty Jenkins says that the message of her new movie, which she feels profoundly important in these dire times of a global pandemia on our planet, is that each one of us has to find the superhero within ourselves, that being a hero is not about fighting or running or flying, but about being brave enough to make sacrifices, to do the right thing, to seek the truth, and helping to make this world a better place.