My last 2017 movie music moment is the cheat I mentioned earlier this week. That’s because my love for this scene has very little to do with the music. I just didn’t want to pass up an opportunity to feature my favorite moment from one of the great cinematic surprises of last year, Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman.
The scene features Gal Gadot’s Diana crossing a World War I battlefield known as “No Man’s Land” despite the pleas of her companion (and future love interest) Steve Trevor. Diana simply can’t accept the very human concept that some battles aren’t worth fighting in the quest to win the larger war.
I love that Steve says “no man can cross it” before this woman does, and I love even more that the script doesn’t give Diana a corny line like “yes, but a woman can.”
This is the first time Diana emerges in her full Wonder Woman regalia, and Jenkins handles the reveal beautifully, giving us close-up glimpses of Diana’s tiara, shield, wrist guards, boots and lasso before cutting to the breathtaking wide shot of her slow-motion stride directly toward the camera.
This scene reminds me of a moment from my favorite 2016 film, Moana, in which Moana defiantly crosses the ocean floor to face off against the demon Te Ka. Both scenes feature powerful women winning the day through triumphant moments of self-sacrifice, and both depict their actions as both a literal and metaphorical crossing. Clearly it’s a combination that works for me.
Another favorite touch in the “No Man’s Land” scene is the half smile Diana gives after she deflect the second bullet and before she starts running. It’s the expression of a woman discovering her powers and realizing that the men around her have no idea what’s coming.