Why This New Origin is Better
Put the pieces together, and all evidence suggests Hippolyta is just trying to keep her daughter - whom she conceived with Zeus - safe from the God of War who killed her father. This is all news to Diana, but with Steve claiming the world stands on the brink of the nastiest, most brutal and grotesque slaughter imaginable, Ares is the real villain at work. And while her mother urges safety, Diana is driven to reach her potential, seek out Ares, and defeat him, bringing the duty of the Amazons to a close. Becoming her own woman along the way, too.
The shots following Diana, Steve, and Hippolyta on a chilly dock appear to be set prior to that farewell, with Diana leaping to enter the massive citadel in the island's center. Within it is held the lasso, armor, and shield she seeks... along with the Godkiller Sword capable of ending Ares's mission. It even appears that Diana grabs some sort of handhold intended for a different purpose - perhaps where a drawbridge might rest when warriors are openly using the armory? But it's by night that Diana must move, collecting the weapons of war she has clearly dreamed of using since childhood, before her mother uncovers the plot and requests that she stay.
Again, this re-writing of Wonder Woman's origin will not be a hit or winning idea to some, and to be fair, Diana besting and being embraced by her sisters is a not-insignificant part of her story. But that doesn't mean Patty Jenkins taking a different approach will lead to a less satisfying or compelling story. When considering the full picture, it's easier to justify the change.
First of all, if film conventions would suggest that Diana grows into her greatness or "wonder" over the course of her origin story, then having her prove her worth, her skills, and the Amazon's honoring of her before the conflict truly begins isn't quite a workable structure. And if her demigod heritage gives her the power of Zeus' lightning, her defeating her sisters isn't actually proof of her will, skills, or honor, when you think about it. It establishes her greatness in the first chapter or act, which is useful when launching a new comic book superhero, but not in a feature film.
What it does highlight is Diana's relationship and connection to her mother, Hippolyta. The flashback scenes show Hippolyta sparking that ambition for heroism and greatness in her daughter, denying her such dreams out of fear for her safety. If Diana chooses to embrace her destiny - one which Hippolyta obviously knows must happen - then it's a coming-of-age story that makes Diana a daughter, a princess, and a sister, not a perfect encapsulation of the Amazons' excellence (although she can be that, too).
A heartwarming story, should Diana realize her mother's fears and concern, and become Themyscira's greatest hero (in her image) anyway. And a tragic one, most likely, considering fans already know she spends the next century in hiding... and unable to return to her homeland. If her mission to save mankind from war is to fail, then it leaves Diana in a hopeless spot. No family to return to. No war worthy of her people to fight. That's despair if there ever was... until Justice League comes along to raise her up, with one of her mother's most ancient adversaries returning to take over Earth once more.
So, will Wonder Woman change Diana's origin story? All evidence suggests it. Is that a bad thing? Not necessarily. The smaller the story and more personal Diana's motivations and pressure, the better (in our opinion, at least). There will be spectacle, of course, but if Diana's journey is anchored in her mother's love, she's in good company alongside the DCEU's Superman and Batman. If she wins the coming war... well, that's not half bad for a girl who ran away from home in the middle of the night, determined to prove she had what it takes.
What do you think of these changes being made to the origin story? Are they wise for any adaptation of Wonder Woman from comic book to cinematic origin story? Or do you think such changes risk missing what makes this heroine meaningful? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
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