Ares Killed The Greek Gods, Zeus Saved The Amazons
The previous mention of the Amazons coming to Mankind to show them a better way should be of particular interest to Justice League‘s opening ancient battle against the forces of Apokolips. The logic would suggest that battle was a least one way the Amazons worked to unite Man for good, but no further details are offered in Wonder Woman. What we do know is that the other gods apparently worked with the Amazons – once Hippolyta led them out of the enslavement that men eventually brought to them – to preserve the light and goodness in Zeus’s creation. And for those efforts, Ares inflicted his rage upon them all, slaying the Greek gods for opposing his own will and lust for war… until Zeus himself decided that enough was enough.
The sequence depicts Zeus descending from the heavens and blasting Ares with the full extent of his power (in the form of a lightning bolt). Ares landed some blows as well, so before the god of gods disappeared along with the son he was forced to defeat, he used his last act to create Themyscira as a safe haven for his Amazons, concealed from the outside world so that Ares could never find them. While the Amazons have spent the thousands of years since remaining hidden and happy to have found a place free from war, it’s implied by Antiope that Zeus intended them to keep watch for Ares’s return. A return that would descend all of Mankind into one massive war to consume them whole and finally grant Ares his revenge.
That idea is backed up by Hippolyta’s claim that Zeus gave them a gift before he left: a weapon with which the Amazons could kill Ares once and for all, if and when he returned…
Wonder Woman Becomes The Godkiller
The big reveal here isn’t actually a reveal, since producer Charles Roven confirmed that Wonder Woman would be following her New 52 origin story as the daughter of Hippolyta and Zeus. It wasn’t an origin update that every DC fan approved of, but it was assumed prior to the confirmation that it would be the one adapted to film based on its simplicity. Diana’s sheer physical strength and healing are beyond any other Amazon due to her parentage, but she only learns that as an adult. As a child, Diana take Hippolyta’s version of this story on its surface – asking to see the weapon that Zeus left them to defeat Ares, since it must obviously be a blade of some kind. But it’s Diana who puts the pieces together herself, believing the sword held within Themsycira’s weapons tower is the weapon – even dubbing it “Godkiller.”
She never assumes that the power to kill Ares may reside in the one carrying the weapon, but is forced to consider it when she attempts to pierce the chest of the revealed Ares… only to see it reduced to ash with little effort. Ares may not be villainous as Hippolyta’s story would suggest, which is why he’s the one who immediately reveals that Diana is the weapon Zeus left behind, and that the Queen’s tale of “a clay figure brought to life by the gods” was all a cover story (apparently something known to several other Amazons). Diana knows implicitly that she could never do harm to Mankind on the level that Ares has indirectly encouraged, but it takes something more for her to realize her true power.
Only when Steve Trevor dies to destroy the chemical weapons does Diana embrace her anger… and her love. The anger makes her terrifying, but it’s ultimately her love for Steve – and by extension, the people he believed in – that unlocks her true power. The fearsome wrath of a god, tempered by the compassion and duty of the Amazons created to protect their creations.
Queen Hippolyta may never know that her daughter truly did complete the ancient duty of their people, and the promise of her father. Fortunately for the fans, Wonder Woman won’t have much of a breather: expect Justice League to introduce another dark, warmongering god in need of a rude awakening.
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