I’ve recently re-watched a film called “Wonder Woman”, which was released 3 years ago in 2017. One my first watch through, I remember having a blast, enjoying the action and story. However, I’ve recently decided to rewatch the movie. As a student taking the IB’s HL history class, I’ll be focusing on historical aspects of the movie.
The movie is set in the World War 1 era. We can assume that the period the film is set in is somewhere near the end of World War 1, let’s say about 1918, since wonder woman had somehow miraculously ended the war. To provide some summary of the movie, Wonder Woman gets dragged into the conflict, decidedly supporting the Entente (French, British and Russia) in their fight against Germany. What disturbed me about how the film was how Nazi-Esque German soldiers were portrayed in the film. Before we begin, let’s establish some facts:
1. Ludendorf was a general, but there was also the German emperor named Wilhelm the 2nd, who was completely sidelined to portray Ludendorf as the primary antagonist (Note that Ludendorf actually attained more influence than the emperor during the time)
2. Trench warfare is horrible.
Atrocious doesn’t even begin to describe the frontlines of World War 1 – trenches. Trench Warfare resulted in a majority stalemate in the Eastern front, neither side being able to gain a significant advantage over the other. Men would face machine guns, mortar fire, poison gas, suffer from terrible diseases and practically low/diminishing supplies. Men were conscripted into the war on both sides, especially those from the UK and Germany.
n a scene where Wonder Woman first arrives to the trenches, the film shows that the men on the Ententes’ side have suffered. They don’t even bother to portray the other side! Taking to the battlefield, Wonder Woman completely crushes the opposition and seems to cut through her enemies like butter. Young men who were forced into conscription was a common practice in the during this time period. Historically speaking, no side had it better than the other, until of course, America joined the war and Germany practically capitulated due to lack of resources for the warfront. I don’t know where i’m going with this.
The ending of the movie while not directly related to history, still bothers me. Throughout the film, Wonder Woman is led to believe that killing Ares will stop the war. Which she does, and World War 1 magically ends. What? This disturbed and angered me slightly. Killing a single person will all of this conflict. I find this to be insulting as the end of the war is complicated. This ending trivialises the horrors of war that millions of men, disregarding nationality, fought and died for. Not to mention how the Treaty of Versailles essentially breaks Germany down even further.
I’m not a film critic. I can’t review films well. Wonder Woman is a fun action film that captures a wonderful protagonist. Everything looks wonderful at first glance, but if you have a stronger understanding of history, everything feels wrong. This is a historical view of “Wonder Woman” and World War 1 and I hope it provided a new perspective when watching this film.