The 'Wonder Woman' Amazonian Fight Scenes Are Badass, Feminist Heaven
Wonder Woman isn't just the best DCEU (DC Extended Universe) movie because it stars a woman superhero, or because it actually features a color scheme that isn't washed out (sorry Man of Steel) — it also features some of the best fighting scenes in the franchise. The Wonder Woman Amazonian fight scenes are the most badass superhero battle sequences maybe ever committed to film. And they all take place before Wonder Woman has even begun to embrace her superhero identity, making them even more powerful.
Words cannot describe the thrill I felt at watching the Amazon women of Themyscira, including Diana and her aunt Antiope, fight in Wonder Woman. The first two major action sequences of the film take place on the island, and as such they are the epitome of female power. The first fight scene is Diana's training, where she goes toe to toe with some of the Amazon's best warriors — all strong, impressive women who train their entire lives — and then faces off with her aunt, the fiercest warrior on the island. The elaborate sequence is exciting, realistic, and beautifully choreographed, with an emphasis on skill over special effects that really highlights the strength of these female warriors.
It also provides a stunning display of female solidarity. On Themyscira, a whole group of women come together to help Diana train and watch from the sidelines. Sure, it's a lot of pressure, but it's also a show of support for the young warrior princess. And, to female viewers like myself, seeing that many women in a blockbuster fight scene feels both revolutionary and hugely affecting.
This first scene is beautiful and fun, and it will have you cheering in your seats. But it's the second fight sequence, when the Germans from WWI storm the beaches of Themyscira, that is truly breathtaking. Just a few minutes after Diana is training with the Amazons, German soldiers appear on their shores, and the first real battle of the film begins. With Amazon warriors charging in on horseback and swinging down from the cliffs above, it's a stunning display of female strength as well as the predatory nature of men, who just start shooting at the women despite not knowing anything about who or what they are.
Let me just say that, at the risk of being accused of misandry by insecure men, watching an army of women completely destroy a male army is just the best. Normally in superhero films, or war films for that matter, there might be one or two women in the fight, but not this time. Here, it's a real battle of the sexes, and the men don't stand a chance.
Part of what makes the scene so impressive is the sheer athleticism of the women on screen. In fact, many of the Amazon warriors were played by world-class athletes, including Swedish professional fighter Vall Beijner and supermodel/equestrian Doutzen Kroes. But, for all the amazing athletes in the scene, one woman stands out above the rest, and, to my surprise, it isn't Wonder Woman. Antiope, the leader of the Amazon army, completely dominates the battle sequence in a way I have never seen a woman do before.
Watching Robin Wright as Antiope in this battle sequence, it is impossible not to be in awe. Her fearlessness, her ability, and her determination to take down these men invading her home is amazing. The fact that Wright is also famous for playing Princess Buttercup in The Princess Bride only makes it better. It's like Buttercup grew up and became a warrior whose entire purpose is just to defeat men like Prince Humperdinck. (Don't get me started on her drool-worthy use of a crossbow.)
These Amazonian fight scenes set the stage for the rest of Wonder Woman. Though Diana quickly becomes the only woman in a sea of predominantly male populated fight scenes, the power of all the Amazonian women witnessed in those first two sequences retains a strong presence in the mind of the viewer. All those women played a part in training Diana. They all made Wonder Woman, and we get to see them do it.