Friday, August 25, 2017

In short, the film is not antiwar, it is anti-German (David Walsh on WONDER WOMAN)

From David Walsh's review (for WSWS) of WONDER WOMAN:

Wonder Woman, directed by Patty Jenkins, is a trite, often tedious, special effects-laden film based on a comic book. The story involves an Amazonian princess/demigoddess who makes her way, in the company of an American Allied spy, from her island paradise to Europe and the Western Front toward the end of the First World War.

Appalled by German brutality, Diana Prince/Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) intervenes on the side of the Allies and prevents the dastardly “Huns”—and a fascistic Gen. Erich Ludendorff (Danny Houston) in particular—from developing a new and devastating weapon. In the course of things, she also has to take on and defeat her half-brother, Ares, the god of war, who is bent on destroying the human race.

Wonder Woman passes along a considerable amount of undigested American and British World War I disinformation. A portion of the film takes place in Belgium and it echoes the official Allied claims of the time about German aggression against “poor little Belgium.” Terrified survivors in a small town tell Diana and her American colleague, Capt. Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), that the Germans have “enslaved” their fellow villagers. Ludendorff and the German forces subsequently murder the remaining townspeople with a new, deadly poison gas.

In short, the film is not antiwar, it is anti-German. The Americans and British, for the most part, are high-minded and peace loving, although they end up massacring more Germans than the latter do Americans and British. Capt. Trevor says he wants to “stop the war,” but, in fact, he wants to win it for his side. And “his side” is identified with normalcy and civilization. Wonder Woman’s supposed contributions to “peace,” including “liberating” the Belgian village by almost single-handedly wiping out a German battalion, are contributions entirely to the Allied cause. She says, “I will fight, for those who can not fight for themselves,” but, in fact, she fights on behalf of the British ruling elite and its interests.

Piercing through a lot of the nonsense and bombast, this is pretty crude nationalist and pro-war propaganda. Does the sudden reemergence of Germany (and not the Nazi regime) as the bestial, sadistic enemy have an ideological significance in the given climate of increased tensions between the US and Europe? Only time will tell.