Why I Didn't Like The Wonder Woman "No Man's Land" Scene

Firstly, I will admit that I thought Wonder Woman was okay (which for me is an endorsement!). I thought it was very good for the first hour – I thought both Gal Gadot and Chris Pine were excellent, I thought the setting was good, I though the acting and treatment were great, I saw sunlight for the first time in a DC movie and that was amazing…. And when it was dull and grey in Jolly Old London and they made a joke about it (“it’s not for everyone”) I liked that too.

But for me the first cracks in the Wonder Woman story happened with the “No Man’s Land” scene, which I’m sad to say quite took me out of the movie I had been enjoying prior to that moment.

Firstly, I was confused by it : for a character who had been going on and on and on about “Must get to the front! Must fight Aries! Must find Aries! I’m the only one who can kill Aries! Why are we in London when Aries isn’t in London! I have to fight Arieeeeees!”

 

"Are we there yet? ARE WE THERE YET? I just want to know..... are we at least getting closer?"

"Are we there yet? ARE WE THERE YET? I just want to know..... are we at least getting closer?"

“Oh, wait? There’s a village over there in danger? I should totally go and help them!!”

Seriously? It’s almost like some screenwriter realised there hadn’t been a fight scene for half an hour and wouldn’t be one for another half hour, so in an act of random desperation they put in a fight scene right there and then. Which I can understand, even if it's fairly clunky screenwriting.

My problem is with the notion of what “Courage” is... and ironically they used this very notion FOR THIS VERY SCENE in the poster campaign:

Note to Kids : this is not courage.

Note to Kids : this is not courage.

When Wonder Woman charges across No Man’s Land, there are two alternative possibilities:

  1. She is invulnerable to bullets
  2. She is *NOT* invulnerable to bullets

1. If Wonder Woman is invulnerable to bullets, then charging across a World War 1 minefield between two trenches against a row of guns aimed against her presents no danger to her, and is no more risky than crossing a quiet road after having looked both ways first. And I happen to believe there can be no courage ifsomebody is taking no risks. It’s an impressive scene, and well executed, and the soundtrack is great… but there’s nothing heroic in this (that comes later, in the village fight scene).

2. If Wonder Woman is NOT invulnerable to bullets, the scene is much more strange and unsatisfying. When a character in a movie runs towards people who are shooting at them from multiple angles, some with machine guns, there can be no strategy beyond hoping that EVERY SINGLE SHOT MISSES (or that you can block an unknown number of bullets from an unknown number of guns at multiple angles using just your arms and shield and that no two bullets, even from opposite angles, ever get to you at the same time) (which is imposible to assume). And if that's your strategy, that's not a strategy. Wonder Woman’s plan for survival (ie. Saving That Village) literally depends on EVERY other characters’ incompetence, or blind luck.

That's not courage either.

"I have a plan. It is a complicated, multifaceted, and highly intricate plan that I have no control over the outcome of. Or alternatively I'm immortal in which case this will not be even remotely challenging. Cue the slow-motion and inspirational music!"

"I have a plan. It is a complicated, multifaceted, and highly intricate plan that I have no control over the outcome of. Or alternatively I'm immortal in which case this will not be even remotely challenging. Cue the slow-motion and inspirational music!"

 

What I’m saying is : it is not heroic when you're doing the equivalent of walking into a casino and putting it all on Black.  That’s not a plan, that’s wishful thinking. And all this from a character who is pursuing a course of action that has NOTHING to do with the ONE THING she’s been incessantly stating as her singular goal this whole movie to date : get to Aries. Fight Aries. KILL Aries.

It’s poor screenwriting no matter how visually impressive the scene is.

And yes, that is literally what I thought when I saw her charge across No-Man’s-Land. Either she’s invulnerable in which case this isn’t heroic, or she ISN’T invulnerable and her new strategy is “I hope they all miss”. The fight in the village after that was considerably better – her comrades-in-arms were in that fight, and you at least know THEY’RE vulnerable, so there’s confirmed unambiguous risk and danger there.

Am I the only person who thought this?

The move overall was okay. The end fight/vaillain was pretty disappointing since I strongly believe that all of (a) revealing your villain wasn't who you thought they were; and (b) their plan wasn't what you thought it was; and (c) their desired outcome wasn't what you thought it was; and (d) the logic of that outcome for what that character is; and (e) whether you had any reason to believe that character; and (f) how dumb their HAT looked in that fight; and (g) after changing villain and plan and outcome STILL having it be settled by punching them in the face regardless.....?

.... that's a rant for another day.

I give it 3 stars. 6.5 out or 10.

Gal Gadot is awesome. Chris Pine is great. Their relationship is fantastically done. The soundtrack by Rupert Gregson-Williams is very good. And it's a competent movie with much to like.