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Things only adults notice in Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman would have been one of the most anticipated films of 2017 even if star Gal Gadot hadn't already been the brightest spot in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice — fans had been waiting for what felt like an eternity for the most famous female superhero on the planet to finally get her own film. When director Patty Jenkins' take on the character finally arrived, it was more than just the answer to a decades-old demand: It was a worldwide phenomenon, making Gadot a superstar and setting a new standard for optimism, fun, and heroism in the DC Extended Universe. 

It also turned a new generation on to the charms of Wonder Woman and her powers, and boys and girls alike have latched on to Diana of Themyscira in ways they never did before. That means kids love this movie, which means kids and adults watch it together, which means the adults in the room are latching on to weird things that kids just don't pick up on. So from the quirks of Themysciran society to Chris Pine's love of a certain mode of transport, here are some things only adults notice in Wonder Woman.

Stumbling upon Themyscira

When Steve Trevor's plane crashes in the waters off of the Amazons' home of Themyscira, we get a practical look at exactly how the island is hidden from the world, a look that's expanded upon moments later when the German navy also arrives. Zeus created Themyscira as a hidden paradise for the Amazons, and it's hidden by a magical barrier that manifests itself to the outside world as a thick fog which would, theoretically, encourage any passing ships to steer around it. 

The problem this time, though, is that Steve's plane was crashing, so he couldn't turn around, and the Germans pressed forward when one sailor spotted the tail of his plane in the water and accidentally put his head through the barrier. There's nothing physically stopping anyone from just sailing right up to Themyscira. That means it's probable that, at some point over the last several hundred years, at least one or two sailors made their way to the island's shores, right? So, either the Amazons are hiding some bodies, there are bodies buried in sand somewhere that even they don't know about, or some unlucky voyager had a very weird story to tell his friends when he got back to the world of men, but they just thought he was drunk. Maybe all three.

How secret can Wonder Woman actually be?

As the film opens, Diana (Gal Gadot) receives a package from Bruce Wayne containing the "original" print of the photo he uncovered of her in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice — a photo which proved to him that Diana had been in the world decades earlier, and was therefore gifted in some way. Bruce tracked the original down and sent it to Diana as a gesture of friendship to help her keep her secret, and in the course of the film we learn the photo was taken in the village of Veld after Diana, Steve, and their compatriots liberated the town from German soldiers, and apparently passed into history later without anyone ever taking too much notice. 

But let's unpack this for a moment: A photographer captured this image, featuring a sword-wielding superwoman who'd just taken an entire town back from the Germans, and then it just...went away? No one followed up? No one ever asked the photographer what was up with the woman in the center of the photo, what she'd done or how? Plus, Diana works at a museum, so it's quite possible someone in that world has come across both her and the photo before. Why isn't there some weird World War I legend about this that keeps getting retold? Maybe there is, and we just don't hear it.

Themysciran linguists

Shortly after meeting him for the first time, Diana tells Steve that the Amazons speak "hundreds of languages," and once she heads out into the world of men she proves it, speaking English, German, French, and even Ancient Greek over the course of the film. It's a useful skill, and one that reflects the vast knowledge and quest for betterment at the hart of Themysciran culture. Anyone who's been through high school English class and looked at Chaucer or Beowulf, though, knows that there's at least a little bit of a discrepancy here. 

Language, like everything else in culture, evolves as history progresses. English as a language has gone through numerous permutations in the last 1,000 years, and the same is true of other major languages. The English of Steve Trevor is not the English of Shakespeare or Chaucer or Geoffrey of Monmouth, but Diana can speak just fine despite apparent isolation on Themyscira her whole life. Are Themyscirans really as closed off as they appear, or do they employ various linguists and cultural scholars who venture out into the world and bring back updated knowledge every now and then?

Diana and Human Laws

One of the great sources of character conflict and comedy throughout the film is the culture clash that ensues as Steve Trevor tries to introduce Diana to modern humanity. Sometimes this manifests itself with something as simple as Diana spotting a baby on the street, and sometimes it gets more complex, like the moment when Steve has to explain the legal concept of marriage to Diana — she understands the idea of professing your love for someone, of course, but when Steve explains that going before a judge and making it legal isn't always permanent, she's a little more perplexed. 

"Then why do they do it?" she asks of people who promise to love each other until they die, only to break that promise later. It's a fair question, but it also brings up some interesting questions with regard to how she'll adjust to other human laws. Remember, Diana just stays in our world after the movie, which means she suddenly has to learn about everything from banking to home ownership. Imagine the conversation that ensues the first time someone has to explain bankruptcy or parking tickets to her.

Wonder Woman's strange relationship to bullets

It's established pretty early on that Wonder Woman has powers other Amazon warriors do not. By the end of the film, Ares has taught Diana that she is a demigod, the daughter of Zeus and Hippolyta, giving her powers far beyond the immortal warrior prowess of a typical Amazon. 

These powers apparently include jumping to incredible heights, amazing strength, absorbing energy into her gauntlets, and near invulnerability. We see her do things like leap into a collapsing stone tower and then walk away unscathed, and stand in a cloud of poison that's been proven to melt gas masks without being harmed at all. Yet whenever anyone fires a gun at her, we never get to see what a bullet might do, because she deflects it either with her gauntlets or with her shield. 

If Diana can walk away from building collapses and face-melting poisons, there's a good chance bullets won't do much against her, but the film never shows us that. Why? Well, because it looks really cool when she deflects bullets with her wrists, of course, but also perhaps because she had to watch her Amazon sisters die in a hail of German gunfire. Maybe it's not that Diana can't survive bullets, but that she just doesn't want to try.

A man and his motorcycles

Chris Pine, like his fellow action star Tom Cruise before him, is a guy who loves to work motorcycle riding into his movies. He did it in Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, he did it in more than one Star Trek film (including one in which he had to find a motorcycle on an alien planet), and he probably would have done it in Into the Woods if Disney had let him. Motorcycles were, of course, around in the World War I era, so it makes sense that Pine would find a way to use one in Wonder Woman, but it's a somewhat glaring piece of shoehorning even for him. 

When Diana and Steve realize General Ludendorff is bombing the village of Veld with his chemical weapons, they jump on horses and investigate. Diana flies into a rage and hops back on her horse to pursue Ludendorff. Steve gets to the village moments after Diana, and even though his horse is right there, he finds a motorcycle to ride instead. Sure, it makes him a bit quicker when he moves through the trees to avoid the Germans, but still... he actively stops and looks for an alternate mode of transport even though his horse is still standing right there. There's some story logic there, but it feels like this really happened because Chris Pine wanted to look cool on a motorcycle in a movie again. And honestly, can you blame him?

Diana and the invisible sword

When Etta Candy and Steve Trevor first try to dress Diana in modern clothes, Steve slips a pair of glasses on her, and Etta makes the very correct observation that glasses won't necessarily make "the most beautiful woman you've ever seen" any less conspicuous. In fact, many shots in the film reveal how much of humanity is drawn to Diana and her strength, no matter what she's wearing. 

This is particularly true when Diana and Steve infiltrate a German party, each with their own goals. For Diana, the goal is to kill Ludendorff, and she aims to do so by stealing an elegant blue gown from a guest outside, and then stuffing the Godkiller sword down the back of it until it's time to wield it. It's a great visual, but it requires a bit of a leap on behalf of the audience when you really think about it. Diana is stunningly beautiful, and as she enters the room we can clearly see numerous people taking second looks and even staring. Some of these people even watch her walk away, getting a good look at her back in the process. Now, could these people have seen the handle and hilt of the sword and simply thought it was elaborate jewelry? Sure, but odds are someone in the military would know a sword when they saw it, or in Ludendorf's case, put their hand on it.

Leftover weapons

While Diana spends the film convinced that all she has to do is kill Ares and therefore stop the war, Steve has a somewhat different mission with the same eventual goal, and his mission revolves around Ludendorff and Dr. Isabel Maru, a.k.a. Doctor Poison, who's manufactured extremely powerful chemical weapons on Ludendorff's behalf. Maru didn't just make the poison gas that will kill untold numbers of people if it's unleashed on the world, though — she also made some poppers for Ludendorff that granted him enormous strength and durability, which he used to nearly best Diana in combat. 

At the end of the film, Ares tries to get Diana to kill Maru, who he considers the ultimate example of humanity's corruption. Diana spares Maru, but her laboratory is destroyed by Steve and his team and the poison gas is neutralized when Steve flies the plane carrying it high into the sky before blowing it up. It all seems like a pretty tidy ending, but how tidy can it actually be? We know Maru worked in multiple places to perfect her formulas. She could have written research down elsewhere, and even manufactured alternate versions of both the poison and the strength enhancer that we never saw. Even assuming she never made a chemical weapon again after Diana spared her, it's not hard to imagine Maru's creations, or the science behind them, falling into the hands of the Nazis just a few years later.

Diana's selective understanding of human culture

Diana's integration into and education about human behavior and customs continues throughout Wonder Woman, sometimes played for laughs and sometimes used to build the film's themes. It makes sense that Diana would need to take time to get used to all the things that are different about this new world, but if the film stopped to acknowledge every single one of them, we might never get on to the actual plot. 

That means there are some amusing variations in how Diana reacts to things in the human world that are glossed over for the sake of the story. In talking with Steve on the boat from Themyscira, she makes it clear that she has an understanding of sex and pleasure, but is puzzled by the sight of a couple holding hands. Themyscira is rich in art and culture, but Diana doesn't seem to understand the purpose of clothes that exist for anything other than fighting. She views ice cream as a true miracle, yet we never see her question or even flinch when confronted with an invention like a camera. Just think about what happened the first time this woman walked into a movie theater after the war ended.

Ares and the power of gods

The film's climactic showdown between Diana and Ares reveals a twist: Ares was not Ludendorff, as Diana had surmised, but was instead the British official Sir Patrick Morgan, who explains he's been whispering in humanity's ear for ages in an attempt to generate the right machines of war to get them to destroy themselves. So, with the real Ares finally unmasked, a battle ensues, and at first the God of War's fighting style makes a lot of sense. He seems to have telekinetic command over just about everything in sight, and he uses that to fashion himself some fierce-looking scrap metal armor and hurl dozens of grenades in Diana's direction at once. Those are very cool things for a God of War to do, but as the battle progresses, and he gets more desperate, he reaches to the skies and... summons lightning bolts. 

To be clear, the DCEU can give its gods whatever powers it wants, but isn't lightning Zeus' thing, and didn't we see Zeus do that thing in a flashback in this very same film? Why can Ares suddenly use those powers like he's also Zeus, or Thor? Is it because he's the last of the original Greek gods? It it just because it looks cool? Because while it definitely looks cool, some viewers with a very basic understanding of mythology (or who saw the Disney movie Hercules) were probably scratching their heads a bit.