January opened up with its first blockbuster movie of the year, Wonder Woman 1984. The Wonder Woman series starring Israeli actress Gal Gadot has been one of the most popular films of all time and is also one of the most talked about movies on social media. The first Wonder Woman movie, debuting in 2017, was a top movie bringing in over $100 million in revenue on its opening night. The recent release, Wonder Woman 1984, was the first blockbuster movie of 2021.
Most movies with female lead actors are not as popular as those with male leads, but Wonder Woman breaks the mold. I personally do not find the character of Wonder Woman very intriguing, nor do the I find the story line of either movie very memorable. The plot is not original, and there is no mystery about the character because Wonder Woman has no flaws or weaknesses. We never have to worry that she could be tempted or injured in any way. She is indestructible and incorruptible. I find the other characters in the movie more relatable and intriguing. Why then, do we love Wonder Woman? What makes this fiction superhero portrayed in these movies such an attractive character to millions around the world? Perhaps one of the attractions to Wonder Woman is the character qualities she exemplifies in this movie series.
Who Is Wonder Woman?
Wonder Woman is beautiful, all-powerful, immortal, and all-good. She is a goddess with extraordinary powers which she never uses for selfish motives but only for the good of mankind. History teaches us that no one can handle power. Eventually power attained by wealth, political rule, or military might tends to corrupt even the most noble of human beings. The saying is true that “absolute power corrupts absolutely,” but not Wonder Woman. How is it possible that her extraordinary powers do not corrupt our hero?
The two principles that guide her in life are truth and love. Wonder Woman knows truth and wants all people to live according to truth and not a false reality. She has a built-in moral law code that restricts her from misusing her powers. The motivation behind her is love. Her love for mankind compels her to sacrifice herself for others. Although a fictional character, Wonder Woman teaches us about ourselves. She has the ideal character qualities we desire, and that is why we love Wonder Woman.
Wonder Woman represents a messiah figure: a morally good and noble person with extra ordinary powers whose mission is to save mankind. In a world filled with turmoil, we are longing for a true hero. Wonder Woman is the savior we deeply long for but know does not exist… or does this person exist? The noble qualities of Wonder Woman are found in the historical messiah, Jesus Christ. There are parallels between the two.
Jesus, the Son of God, sees the plight of mankind and leaves paradise to enter into our fallen world and enter into our struggle. Jesus is the all-powerful God who takes on human flesh and while on earth, He never uses his abilities for selfish gain because He is the embodiment of truth and love. Jesus’ mission is to preach the truth, bring people out of intellectual and spiritual darkness, and rescue mankind from eternal death. The character of many of these heroes are embodied in the historical Jesus Christ, and elements of their story parallels the redemption story of Christ.
The Struggle: Is Mankind Worthy of Wonder Woman?
Wonder Woman, like many of these superheroes, face the same question in their movies, “Why rescue mankind?” Wonder Woman lives in a pristine paradise with the Amazon women secluded from the world which is in turmoil. The Amazon women wish to remain secluded because they do not see mankind as worthy of their service. Diana’s mother teaches her that mankind shows a basic tendency for selfishness, driven by greed, selfish ambition, and power.
No matter what she may do to fight against evil, mankind will always revert to his old nature, which cannot be changed. War and conflict will always be a part of humanity. Since this is the true character of man, why is mankind worth redeeming? This is the same question that Superman, Charles Xavier of the X-Men, Batman, and Optimus Prime of the Transformers must answer.
Wonder Woman’s mother says that mankind is not worthy of her. Mankind is selfish and self-destructive. Mankind would not appreciate her and her sacrifice. In the first movie, Wonder Woman sees that there are humans who are good, and mankind is worth saving because those that are good need a champion against evil. This is her answer to the question, “Why rescue mankind?”
This movie presents truth about human nature that are consistent with biblical teachings. We are created in the image of God with the capacity to reflect some of God’s character, and we have a built-in moral law code. However, we are also fallen creatures as a result of Adam’s act of disobedience. As a result, our natural tendency is to rebel against God’s moral law and serve self. Thus, we see that battle in all human beings, a struggle between the image of God and our sin nature. That is why we can do tremendous good and fulfill wonderful dreams but, at the same time, perform horrific acts. This is the struggle in all individuals and all societies.
Wonder Woman believes mankind is worth rescuing because she sees some good that is worth redeeming. Christ believes mankind is worth rescuing because we have intrinsic value as beings made in His image.
1984 and the Battle for Truth
In 1984, Wonder Woman is called upon to rescue mankind once again from a being with even greater powers than she has. In 1984, a business conman, Maxwell Lord, comes into possession of a powerful dream stone created long ago by an evil god. This powerful stone will grant the wishes of those who make a wish while holding the stone. Maxwell Lord hunts down the stone and takes possession of it. Driven by greed and enticed by the power of the stone, he wishes to fulfill a most evil desire: he wishes to become the dream stone itself.
Lord soon attains god-like powers to grant everyone their desires. The problem is that our desires are rooted in selfishness and greed. Therefore, granting people their wish fulfills their selfish desires which in the end is self-destructive. However, the wish granted comes with a price. Whenever people receive a wish, they surrender a valued asset to Max Lord. With each wish granted, Max Lord becomes more powerful, acquiring each person’s valued asset.
As each wish is granted, his power grows, but he himself becomes enslaved to his greed and becomes the embodiment of evil. As each person receives their wish, instead of happiness, more chaos and destruction are unleashed, and the world deteriorates into a chaotic nightmare. If all people’s wishes are granted, mankind will self-destruct. The only way to end the reign of terror is for each person to renounce their wish and sacrifice their desire for the sake of mankind.
The process of redemption must begin with Wonder Woman, who must renounce the wish she made when she held the stone early in the movie. Before she knew exactly what the stone was, she wished for the only thing that ever brought her happiness: her boyfriend who died forty years ago. The stone has resurrected him from the dead, and now she must choose to renounce her wish and lose him forever to regain her superpowers or fulfill her desire to keep him. Only when she renounces her wish can she retain her superpowers and rescue the world.
As expected, she sacrifices her happiness for the sake of mankind. We feel the emotional pain of Wonder Woman as she gives up all that she loves to rescue mankind who is unworthy of being rescued.
By now Max Lord has become too powerful for Wonder Woman to stop. The only way Wonder Woman can stop Max Lord is to open the eyes of the mankind to truth. By taking over the communications networks, she makes her plea to the world for every person awaken to the truth and realize that they have bought in to a lie. Each person must renounce the lie and embrace the truth. Mankind must realize that in attaining their wishes, they have become enslaved to an alien power that now holds them captive. Mankind’s only redemption is to turn to the truth and renounce the lie. In the end, Wonder Woman convinces mankind of her message, and the curse brought on by Max Lord begins to reverse. Eventually, Max Lord’s love for his child causes him to renounce his desire and he is released from the evil power of the stone.
The Redemption Story of Wonder Woman
The redemption story of Wonder Woman 1984 has parallels to the gospel of Christ. Adam and Eve sought to fulfill their selfish desire and become a god to themselves. As a result of their disobedience, sin and death entered into the world and we have been suffering its effect ever since. The generations that followed Adam and Eve continued to fulfill their selfish desires, and mankind fell further away from God, the source of truth and life. Eventually the world fell captive to the alien power of sin and the evil one.
Redemption required the arrival of an all-powerful, all-good, and immortal hero who would give up all he had to rescue mankind from their bondage. This is what we have in Jesus Christ. Christ came and proclaimed truth to mankind and sought to open the eyes of mankind. His mission was to open our eyes to truth which He embodies and bring us out of darkness into the light.
In the movie, Wonder Woman gave up her love, her boyfriend, for mankind. Jesus gave His life and suffered death to rescue mankind. Wonder Woman 1984 is fiction while the Gospel of Christ is history. If you love Wonder Woman 1984, you should love the redemption story of Christ.
Why We Love Wonder Woman but not the True Messiah?
Wonder Woman represents a messiah figure. She is a morally good and noble person with extraordinary powers who uses her power only for good and never for self. She is guided by her mission to execute justice and save mankind. She selflessly sacrifices to rescue mankind from doom. She is guided by truth and knows that mankind is captive to a lie. If she hopes to succeed, she must turn mankind from the lie to the truth.
We love Wonder Woman because she is a messiah figure that we are looking for, especially in these tumultuous times when we are looking for hope. We know the world is headed in a dangerous and self-destructive direction that no one can stop. We know we cannot save ourselves; we need a “messiah.” The truth is that we have a messiah, a true one in Jesus Christ.
Why do we love Wonder Woman but not the true Messiah? Perhaps we love Wonder Woman because she fits our image, and Jesus does not. The comic book heroes do not hold us accountable for our sin, but Jesus does. Jesus calls out our sin and calls us to repentance, but the comic book heroes do not. Jesus commands us to a life of holiness and obedience to His commands. Jesus teaches us the true consequences of our sin, eternal death. In contrast, there are no eternal consequences with the comic book heroes; we get rescued for free.
We love Wonder Woman because she embraces the ideals of the hero: all-good, all-powerful, and all-loving. In Wonder woman, we have a messiah created in our image. In Jesus, we have an all-powerful messiah who is all-good and embodies truth, but one who freely chose to withhold the use of the divine attributes so that he could come in a form we could comprehend, relate to, and one who could suffer as we do.
There are parallels between Wonder Woman and the historical Messiah and parallels between the movie and the historical account of the Gospels. However, the Gospel message of Christ remains much more compelling because it is the true story of the redemption of mankind.
© Copyright Evidence and Answers, January, 2021.