Wonder Woman and the Myth of Redemptive Violence – The RavenCast

The weekly RavenCast interviews challenge “us vs. them” thinking with new perspectives on the issues that divide us. Hear from knowledgeable guests and join live with your questions and comments. Can’t join live? Watch or listen to the recordings at your convenience. In this RavenCast, Adam Ericksen and Suzanne Ross discuss the hit movie Wonder Woman. Warning – there are spoilers in this review! The full MP3 is above, the video is below, and a portion of their discussion is described below. Tell us what you think about Wonder Woman in the comment section below!

Wonder Woman is a fun, fast-paced, adventure story with a lot of sword fighting and shooting. It’s a violent Superhero movie, but it’s not simply a movie with violence in it. It’s a movie about the dangers of violence.

Movies with violence are influenced by the myth of redemptive violence. That myth claims that there are good guys and bad guys. The good guys defeat the bad guys with violence. The good guys use good violence and the bad guys use bad violence. Never do the good guys question their violence. You’ve heard this before – A good guy with a gun is our only hope to defeat a bad guy with a gun. That’s the myth of redemptive violence.

Wonder Woman subverts the myth of redemptive violence. In the beginning, Diana Prince believes that the only way to create peace is to kill the enemy. But throughout the movie she begins to question the efficacy of violence to save.

Video – SPOILERS!

In fact, she begins to see that the good guys and the bad guys are both corrupted by violence. She earnestly believes that humans are good, but are corrupted by evil powers. For Diana, that evil power ultimately comes from Aries, the god of War. But her companion, Steve, claims that there is no one person, or even god, to blame. We are all to blame for the evil in the world that threatens our existence.

Steve takes responsibility for the evil within himself by performing an act of sacrificial love that saves a village. Steve’s act of sacrificial love models for Diana a new way of life based on nonviolent love. In the end, Diana claims that only love can save the world.

Like Jesus subverted the myth of redemptive violence through sacrificial love, Wonder Woman moves us in a similar direction. The ending is a bit more ambiguous than the completely nonviolent Jesus, but at the very least, Wonder Woman is asking the right questions about violence.


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