In DC Comics’s blockbuster hit WONDER WOMAN, Diana Prince (played by Gal Gadot) lets herself be moved by compassion and then expresses that love to others so as to help, heal, and restore her friends and, ultimately, to save the world. Join us as we discuss these Christian themes and so much more on this episode of the Finding Christ In Cinema podcast.
For your convenience you will find each podcast segment at the time referenced below:
- 00:00:00 – Introduction and Previous Episode Recap
- 00:03:26 – Movie Discussion
- 00:27:58 – Listener Feedback and Well-Mannered Frivolity
- 00:49:11 – Christian Themes in WONDER WOMAN
- 01:16:42 – More Christian Themes in WONDER WOMAN
Wonder Woman Key Texts
Let these passages be your guide as you watch WONDER WOMAN with friends and family.
Ephesians 4:25-32 NASB
Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another. BE angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil [accuser; adversary] an opportunity. He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need. Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
Luke 10:30-37 NLT
Jesus replied with a story: “A Jewish man was traveling from Jerusalem down to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road.
“By chance a priest came along. But when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. 32 A Temple assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side.
“Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him. Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins, telling him, ‘Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.’
“Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?” Jesus asked.
The man replied, “The one who showed him mercy.”
Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same.”
Wonder Woman, Restoration through Compassion, and Salvation through Grace
Themyscira may not seem like the kind of place that would proffer many opportunities for compassion. A paradisal island sanctified from the rest of the world by an invisible chasm, Themyscira is the home of the Amazons. Its all-female inhabitants have been endowed by Zeus with extraordinary combat skills and have been commissioned to use those skills for the protection against humanity’s adversary Ares.
In order to maintain this protection, the Amazons spend all their time training, sparring, and growing into better warriors. Tracts of land are demarcated for obstacle courses and fighting rings. Older Amazons train younger Amazons every hour of every day. Even against Queen Hippolyta’s wishes, her sister Antiope trains a young Diana to be the strongest warrior from Themyscira. Antiope – being the best herself – pulls no punches, and Diana grows to be a force to be reckoned with.
Why Diana decides to save Steve Trevor from drowning, then, is beyond me (Brenden) if it’s anything other than compassion. TO put it more succinctly, compassion happened to her, and she was moved (literally and figuratively) to save him. She and the other Amazons even nurse him back to health. Maybe they picked something up about compassion in their training manuals, I don’t know.
Unfortunately, Steve Trevor has terrible news: the “war to end all wars” (aka World War II) has broken loose, and millions of innocent people are dying. Some of the Amazons may think otherwise, but Diana is convinced that Ares is behind everything. Diana believes that she can stop Ares herself, too, so she leaves Themyscira with Steve to find him. Much to Diana’s chagrin, however, Steve has to make a few pit stops.
Before Steve takes Diana to the front lines of the war, he must assemble (heh) a team to help them. He enlists the smooth-talking Sameer, the chipper yet cloistered Chief, and a sharpshooter from Scotland named Charlie. All three of these guys are the best at what they do, but something is wrong with Charlie in particular.
Maybe he’s been in too many battles, and maybe he’s seen too much carnage; whatever it is, Charlie’s been shaken by it. His traumatic experiences have impaired his ability to do what he’s best at, and there’s a lot of guilt and shame that goes along with it. If the gift of shame is humility, Charlie’s pride stops him from receiving that gift. And if the gift of guilt is freedom, Charlie’s unforgiveness of himself keeps him shackled down.
Compassion breaks through, however, as Diana restores Charlie by loving him back to life. She cradles him as he screams during a nightmare, and even as he runs away from Diana at first, he’s still confounded by her compassion for him. She uses only kind, healing words with him so as to restore him to fullness. As proof of his restoration, Charlie sings again – something he hasn’t done in a while, according to Steve.
Diana’s compassion doesn’t stop there, either. Even after the skirmish and the first mission is complete, Diana convinces Charlie to stay with the team. He wants to leave because he believes he isn’t the marksmen he thought was anymore, but Diana stops him from leaving. She shifts his focus on a gift he has still maintained – his singing – and encourages him to stay so that he can continue to share that gift with the company.
Such is an example of Diana bringing about restoration through compassion on a small scale. Thankfully, as evidence her true heroic integrity, she is no different when the stakes are at their highest. From restoring a drunkard sniper to defeating the God of War, Diana does it all with grace and compassion.
At the end of all things, as Steve Trevor has just saved the day, it’s up to Diana to save the world. During her grief over the loss of Steve, Diana snaps into a fit of rage and starts deflecting soldiers left and right. Ares tries to use that grief to break her into joining him. He even throws Doctor Poison at Diana’s feet with the hopes that Diana will serve as his own, personal judge, jury, and executioner.
In the moment, however, Diana looks upon Doctor Poison and has compassion on her – just as the Samaritan looked upon the unfortunate soul in the street and had compassion on him. And instead of ignoring her like a Levite or Israelite would – and instead of killing her like Ares would – Diana lets her compassion move her to show mercy. Compassion, in a sense, is Diana’s modus operandi and her legacy. Her choices begin and end with love.
With the upcoming Justice League release, many will speculate on how Diana fits within this dynamic, and I (Brenden) believe what sets her apart is her choice to let compassion move her. While the men of the team may exhibit the same kind of tunnel vision that Steve Trevor expressed during the venture to No Man’s Land, Diana will continue to believe in love and let that love move her to save the world not with her fists, her tech, or her super-warrior skills but with her compassion.
Finding Christ In Cinema is the show where we discover Christian themes in movies past and present. Join us and together we’ll dig deeper into the silver-screen classics of yesteryear as well as the box-office hits of today. Brought to you by the Great Commission Transmission Network. View the complete show notes – including links to articles discussed – by clicking here.
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