Watching the new release of Wonder Woman 1984 revealed such a strong theme of valuing Truth above all, that it compelled me to write a critical analysis. I appreciate that such a profound message is delivered by a mythical character such as an Amazon – a Warrioress of Love. I wonder if you, too, will see the parallels to today’s circumstances that I do… (Spoiler alert – this analysis reveals plot scenes of the movie.)
Sometimes we are unknowingly pulled into lies through the vulnerabilities of our desires. But when our vulnerabilities turn into weakness, we become disempowered by the desires born from deception. The message of the new Wonder Woman 1984 challenges the credibility of replacing our desires with authentic Truth, not only on a personal level, but on a national level as well.
The long-awaited movie is set in 1984 (a nod to Orwell’s 1984 perhaps?) and exhibits that typical “cheesy” 80’s presentation, but the underlying message of valuing Truth over desire couldn’t be more applicable at this moment in December 2020. This movie was set for release in June of 2020, but watching it with a critical eye, and pairing the subtext with the context of the election fraud makes for a poignant message. The delayed release of the movie makes the theme even more profound.
The opening scene of the movie shows young Diana championing through an Amazonian “extreme game” course, where she is about to launch the final spear through the hoop, but Antiope grabs her at the last second, keeping her from completing the task for the win. A very distraught Diana cries out and Antiope responds, “You took the short path. You cheated, Diana. It is the Truth and the Truth is all there is. You cannot be the winner because you are not ready to win. There is no shame in it, only in knowing the truth in your heart and not accepting it.” Right from the first moments of this movie, the producers are making a point to show that a cheater cannot be the true winner. Do we see a “cheater” in any national “contest” happening in America right now? Hmmmm…. From the beginning, we can see the theme developing on the value of Truth over lies.
Those with an awareness of the hidden operations in our nation’s legal, financial, and political systems will also notice other hints to such inner-workings in the film.
Diana learns that a heist that has taken place at a jewelry store in a mall had nothing to do with the jewelry at the counter. Like much of the financial system that runs the world today, the real valuables were held in the “back room.” Most of the financial system operates from back-room transactions hidden from the public – the place where the mass of cooperate profits are made. It is from this back-room that the FBI obtains the ancient Wish Stone, which becomes the nucleus of all the havoc in the story. The story introduces the villain, Maxwell Lord, in the “white noise” of the same mall in the opening scene through television advertisements.
Careful viewing of the language used in Lord’s advertisements actually reveal an echo of socialism. The monologue of the “Black Gold” ad running on the t.v. in the mall window shows Max Lord holding his hand out and declaring with wild-eyes “You can have everything you wish for. You don’t even have to work hard for it.” This line resembles socialist sentiments that promote government reliance on hand-outs not earned through one’s own efforts. This observation is underscored at the end of the film when Lord requires the use of the television broadcasting system (main-stream media) to trap viewers in his “wish-spell.” The line hidden in the background advertisement of the film, accompanied with other literary elements, suggests the “hidden agenda” of the far-left; however, the story ultimately reveals a patriotic message in disguise.
The patriotic undertones of this movie are subtle. This Wonder Woman story is set in Washington D.C., unlike any other modern super hero movie, which are usually set in fictional cities such as Gotham or Metropolis (DC Comics universe). We also see fireworks over the National Mall for the 4th of July, a very patriotic holiday for America. Lastly, the film ends with a patriotic red-star floating into the sky. (A nod to the red-wave, perhaps?) The most patriotic overture, however is the well-developed theme through plot and characterization in the story. Viewers witness the cost of desires gained through deceit in the three main characters, Diana Prince, Barbara Minerva, and Max Lord. The transformation of Minerva, however, is the most obvious.
Barbara Minerva is a fellow scientist in the same antiquities department where Diana works. Barbara is a shy, awkward new-hire to the department who obtains the job of analyzing the infamous Wish Stone for the FBI. Diana senses Barbara’s inadequacy in her new job, and attempts to befriend her. At an impromptu early dinner, we see the two women getting along very easily, and Diana laughing, sharing with Barbara, “It has been a very long time that I have been around someone who can make me laugh like this.” The conversation continues to reveal Barbara’s warmth and innocence and Diana’s power and beauty.
Later that evening, Diana saves Barbara from a would-be molester. Instead of going home, Barbara returns to the office where the she is compelled to make a wish from the Wish Stone: to be just like Diana. Earlier that day while examining the stone, Diana, too, had also made a private wish to have her love, Steve Trevor, back. The two women would soon have their wishes granted, but they later learn the cost of their wishes. It takes an intervention from Wonder Woman to show Max Lord the cost of his wishes, however.
Through cinematic magic, we see Steve Trevor reveal himself to Diana. Many fun scenes of Diana showing Steve the new wonders of the future take place on their trek to find out how exactly her wish was granted. This leads them to discover Maxwell Lord has possession of the stone. Meanwhile, we see Barbara waking to suddenly becoming more powerful physically and personally through her appearance and her demeanor. Neither women realize ,however, that Max Lord has wished to literally become the Wish Stone, causing the crystal to disintegrate and leave behind the antiquated bangle within which the stone rested. We first see the cost of Diana’s wish when she and Steve break into Lord’s office building.
What would have otherwise been a snap to break, Diana requires three attempts to break the lock on the hangar door to Lord’s building. Once in his office, she and Steve find the bangle left behind that surrounded the crystal Wish Stone. Diana drops the artifact in fear after reading the inscription within it. Steve asks her what is going on, and she replies that the inscription is written in the language of the gods, but which god? “There are universal elements in this world and when they are imbued into an object like this they can become very, very powerful.” She then continues to remind us of the overall theme of the story by saying, “The truth is what powers it. The truth is bigger than all of us.” Here, we begin to understand though this statement, the paradox of the granted wishes: the truth is that the wishes are granted through deceit. The full cost of this deceit isn’t revealed until later in the story, however. Knowing how powerful and dangerous this stone is, the couple decide to find Lord. Meanwhile, we see Barbara’s character changing dramatically.
Formally a wall flower, Barbara is now surrounded by her collogues hanging to every word that she utters. Physically, her dress has become much more flamboyant. We begin to see the real cost of her wish, however, in her behavior toward a homeless man. On the night Diana saved her from an assault, Barbara had delivered a meal with a warm smile to a homeless man who she knows on a first name basis. After several hours transforming into her wished persona, we see that her new-found power has corrupted her natural inclination toward kindness.
Power- running after researching a request from Diana, Barbara encounters the previous would-be assailant on the street. Instead of continuing on, though, she stops and decides to brutalize the man into a bloody pulp. Her homeless friend recognizes her and calls out, “Barbara, what are you doing?” She looks up to the man and in an instant you see the last glimpse of Barbara disappear out of her eyes. To which she responds, “Mind your own business.” And runs away.
We see these three characters together in the next scene at a local studio of a man in possession of an ancient Mayan text given to him by his great grandfather. In it, Diana reads and discovers the source of the Wish Stone and all it has cost the Mayan civilization. Diana says the Mayan name of the god and Steve asks who that is. Diana replies, “A very bad god. A god of lies. Duke of Deception. He’s been called by many names, but if he is the one who empowered that stone there has to be a trick.” Steve equates, “The Monkey’s Paw. Be careful what you wish for because it takes your most valuable possession. Diana – your powers!” Steve makes this observation after sharing encounters with Wonder Woman’s growing weaknesses. The characters learn through the text that the only way to stop the wishes is either to destroy the stone or to give back what was given. Needless to say, Barbara Minerva has no desire to do either.
Barbara protests destroying the stone when Diana reveals that the stone is already destroyed; they then deduce that Lord himself must have become the stone. The characters separate, but with very different intentions. A clear split has happened between Diana and Barbara when they meet Lord at the White House.
Maxwell Lord by this time in the movie has increased his power and wealth a hundred times over, but this is simply not enough. He wants to be the most powerful man in the world with the most reach, but in order to continue to get what he wants, he has to “steal” wishes from others, for the stone can only grant one wish to a person. Each wish he grants, however, costs him even more of his physical vitality. Nonetheless, he steals wishes all the way to the White House where Lord learns of the satellite broadcasting station. Minerva and Wonder Woman have their first battle at the White House, the former to protect Lord, and the latter to capture him. It is at the end of this battle we see Wonder Woman completely spent of her power and Minerva stepping into hers more completely.
The exchanges between now villain and hero reveal what Barbara Minerva has lost – her warmth and innocence. Minerva tells Wonder Woman to “get used to it” before she leaves to meet Lord on the presidential helicopter where Lord grants her one last wish – to become an apex predator. Steve and Wonder woman struggle to leave the rubble of the chaotic White House battle. In a private corner of a building, we see an intimate and agonizing dialogue between Steve and Wonder Woman.
In this private moment, the ultimate cost of deceit is revealed. Sobbing and reluctant to let Steve go, Diana already knows the truth Steve expresses – that he is already gone; that the world needs her and she needs to let him go.
An astute viewer will have gathered by this time the great message of this movie: to live a lie – no matter how sweet – is the ultimate disempowerment of one’s destiny.
Diana finally succumbs to the Truth and painfully runs away from Steve and renounces her wish. With eyes full of tears, she proclaims her love for Steve as the viewer hears his voice in the distance returning his love for her. Her wish of lies now completely revoked, she returns to her full power.
We see Diana using her lasso to launch herself into the sky. Wonder Woman has now lost her wish, but has gained the ability to fly. Remembering the conversation she and Steve had in the jet, she employs the gift of his words and uses the force of the Lasso of Truth to fly through the sky free of lies and propelled by the Truth. This scene clearly depicts the freedom Diana gains from releasing her sorrow for losing Steve and allowing the gift of their love to allow her to fly. This scene also clearly portrays how Wonder Woman is propelled by Truth through the motion of her golden lasso. She enjoys her new-found freedom momentarily before meeting a fully transformed Minerva and Maxwell Lord. It is in this final scene that the full message of the movie is revealed.
The scene opens on a set of a secret broadcasting base with huge utility towers around it. Within it, Lord has begun his onslaught of wish-granting to unsuspecting wishers through the telecast while Wonder Woman appears outside the base, armed with her golden Amazonian battle gear. Minerva, now fully transformed into a hybrid feline-human jumps onto the scene ready to protect (the) Lord (of Lies).
Minerva’s strength is depicted through the various lashes she makes into Wonder Woman’s golden wings, but ultimately Diana shrugs off her wings to take on the she-cat directly. We find the two characters battling in the air as they swing from the huge transmitting utility towers, Wonder Woman using her Lasso of Truth, and Minerva using a broken electric line. The two fall into the water where Diana pleads with Barbara one last time to recant her wish. “Never!” To which Diana replies, “Then please forgive me for this.”
In one swift move, Wonder Woman takes a sparking electrical line and pushes it and Minerva into the water simultaneously. It is only then, when the she-cat Minerva is shocked into paralysis that Wonder Woman is able to pull her out of the water, and out of her arrogant stupor (though not completely). With Minerva now neutralized, Wonder Woman can now stop Max Lord.
Could this action scene suggest what it will take to wake people from the deception? Could it suggest that the true heroes will use the “transmitting utilities” to free themselves of the lies? Only those with such knowledge may see these connections.
Once in the building, Wonder Woman finds Max Lord in a torrent of energy supplied to him by the wishes transmitted through the televised broadcast system. This energy forms a protective shield around him. (Interesting parallel to how the media can protect someone.) Lord notices her and says, “So, you’ve renounced your wish.” In a final and powerful retort, Wonder Woman replies, “I had to, and so do you. Nothing good is born of lies.” The cost to all of the unknowing wish-makers around the world is revealed as the conversation continues. “Don’t you have enough?”
“Why not more?”
In a profound response, Wonder Woman shouts, “But they don’t know what you are taking from them!”
This one statement encapsulates all of the fraud perpetrated on the American people, a fraud of which the masses still have no awareness.
Wonder Woman uses her lasso to find a way to transmit to the world that THEY are the ones who can save the world. As scenes of world devastation caused by wishful thinking flash upon the screen, Wonder Woman professes, “You cannot have it all; you can only have the truth. The truth is enough. The truth is beautiful. So look at this world, and look at what your wish is costing it. YOU must be the hero; you must save the day.”
Is Wonder Woman talking to the keyboard patriots of the Truther movement? Her suggestion that We The People have the power to make a difference by taking back the truth leaves such an impression on the viewer.
Wonder Woman continues her lengthy call to the people like any advocate for Love would – by acknowledging everyones’ burdens compassionately while still enforcing the importance of Truth. Lord asks who she’s talking to and realizes she’s taken over the transmission. Through her broadcast, Lord then sees his son lost in the devastation of his villainy. In a final act of love for his son, Lord renounces his wish. All the lies vanish once he accepts the Truth, and the world is saved.
Whether intentional or not, many American films find a way to reveal hidden secrets to the astute observer. WW1984 is among such films.
The 80’s era setting gives the film a “corny” feel at times, but it successfully echoes the corniness of the 80’s decade with all the bright colors and period styles. The most successful and timeless element of the story is the theme of TRUTH, however. Truth transcends the 80’s into our current era and makes a strong impact in these most turbulent times.
The value for Truth, and the “Truther” movement can find an ally in the iconic character of Wonder Woman, even more so than ever before. WW1984 centers the story on this one powerful word, Truth. Wonder Woman carries the “Lasso of Truth” and gives up her sweet lie to regain her true power. For, in the end, we only disempower ourselves the more we embrace a lie, no matter how fantastic it makes us feel.
To embrace fame, power, luxury, victory, not earned honestly keeps us from ever discovering our own unique gifts toward our divine purpose in life. Getting caught up in deceit and lies costs us our honor, our integrity, our authenticity. Like Antiope tells Diana at the beginning, ”To know the truth and not accept it” is the ultimate “ shame” of our character. (Can we as a nation be acting shamefully?) Diana echoes her understanding of this when she states, “No hero is born of lies.” The film shows the value of truth on an individual, national, and global scale. Where do you, my friend, fit in this scale?
Are you an individual who has the courage to take inventory of your character flaws and own up to them, privately correcting course along the way? Or are you a shunned, researched “truther” trying to battle the lies of the broadcast media on your own personal platform? Either way, it is the numerous individuals who value and choose truth who will save the world, whether privately or publicly. In order to get to the truth, however, we need to have the courage to face the lies.
But are we too far gone to tell the difference between the truth and a lie? Only an honest and authentic journey into the heart-mind can determine that. Are you among those who can evaluate the truth with facts without limiting yourself to only facts? Can you evaluate facts upon a context of understanding to see how the facts relate to each other and reveal a more complete picture? To achieve understanding of truth in this way is an accomplishment of a well-balanced heart-mind. To act from this place of wisdom is the ultimate act of a hero, an act that even Wonder Woman would applaud.
May we all have such courage to uncover the truth.
Thank you to all the makers of the film for reminding us of such an important message!
American Heart Liberated