Why the Christian 'Faith-Based Films' Audience Should Watch Wonder Woman
Many Christians fear mainstream cinema, so much so that there's a cottage industry of "faith-based films." But among other things, DC Comics' new hit Wonder Woman proves that Christians can appreciate Hollywood films — the movie even arguably has a Christian message.
Wonder Woman is the first film DC Comics has gotten right in the studio's new round of the Justice League. Man of Steel (2013), Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), and Suicide Squad (2016) left a great deal to be desired, especially in contrast with Marvel's magic machine. But perhaps by presenting the challenge of navigating the complicated waters of feminism, Wonder Woman forced the studio to put together a solid film, with an excellent leading lady, strong character development, and a compelling plot.
But Wonder Woman does much more than just present a strong female superhero. It uses the story of this outsider to penetrate into the nature of mankind, and the results are astonishing — and fully compatible with the gospel message.
Diana (Gal Gadot, partially known from the Fast And Furious franchise) grows up among the Amazons, but has always thirsted for a grand adventure. Her mother Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen) tells her the story of Zeus and Ares. Zeus, king of the gods, created human beings to be good and virtuous, but Ares corrupted them, planting war in their hearts. Ares, the evil behind the world, must be destroyed.
Even in this quasi-pagan myth is buried the seed of Christian truth: God made men good but they were corrupted by the serpent. This deposit of faith in a secular film only grows as the story unfurls.
When World War I comes to the Amazons' back door thanks to Steve Trevor (Chris Pine, best known for Star Trek), Diana goes out to end war once and for all, by slaying Ares.
After growing up among the Amazons, Diana is book smart but incredibly naive. Everything about 1900s society is new to her, and she is convinced that if she can only get to the front, she can kill Ares and end the Great War.
But Diana slowly comes to the realization that people are twisted in their own hearts — they start wars, steal, kill, and destroy, Ares or no Ares. In short, they deserve to die. The idea that war gives men purpose, and that it should never end, becomes tantalizing to her.
Until at one pivotal moment, Diana comes to another realization. "It's not about deserve. It's about what you believe, and I believe in love." Out of context, this sounds very corny, but it forms the centerpiece of the film, and delivers a message powerfully reminiscent of the gospel.
Peter Kreeft, a philosophy professor at Boston College, has long praised The Lord of the Rings for doing what the best storytelling should do, echoing the story of Jesus Christ's death and resurrection.