Wonder Woman has a whopping 7 minutes of screen time in ‘Batman v Superman’
Warning: Batman v Superman spoilers follow.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice boasts the first live-action film appearance of Wonder Woman, a heroine who’s been around for 75 years.
The key word there, though, is “appearance.”
Throughout the film’s 2-hour-and-33-minute run time, Gal Gadot’s heavily hyped Wonder Woman only appears onscreen for about 7 minutes. (I know because I watched the movie with a stopwatch in hand.) Half of that paltry screen time comes during the big final fight scene, in which Wonder Woman only says 3 lines of dialogue.
In fact, she gets just 20 lines total in the film. Oh, and every line she speaks is to Batman.
Batman V Superman is far from a feminist movie. Of its seven named female characters (only one of whom isn’t white), three die onscreen. The film doesn’t even come close to passing the lowest bar of equality, the often-discussed Bechdel Test. In the movie, a named woman speaks to another woman only once; when she does, she’s talking about a man.
Of course, nobody really expected this movie to be particularly empowering. The title clearly states who its main players are; neither of those male heroes is known for having tons of lady friends.
Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman.
IMAGE: WARNER BROS.
But knowing that the film would feature Wonder Woman, a symbol of female liberation created by the nephew-in-law of feminist icon and the founder of Planned Parenthood Margaret Sanger, gave us hope — especially when she was featured prominently in BvS’s marketing materials.
That hope is dashed when you realize that Wonder Woman exists in this movie solely to serve as Batman’s Manic Pixie Dream Amazon. She’s just a woman who catches his eye at a fancy party, an enigma who opens his eyes to the possibilities of metahuman partnership and a team of heroes.
It’s not all bad, though. Gadot steals the few scenes in which she appears — and she’s the best part of that final fight, especially when she shows the sheer joy Wonder Woman takes in battle. Her facial expressions speak a thousand words. But all of this comes from Gadot, not from Batman v Superman’s script or its male filmmakers.
When Wonder Woman is silenced, the patriarchy wins. At least her long-awaited solo movie is hitting theaters next year — where presumably, Diana will have a lot more to say.