In my post yesterday, I started comparing the Wonder Woman movie to the mythology that inspired her world.
Now, let’s see how Wonder Woman does against the gods.
Children of Zeus
Movie/Comic: It’s later implied/stated that Diana is the daughter of Zeus. Honestly, I think this is an incredibly boring twist and preferred the earlier women-centric origin story. At least it’s different.
Myths: My biggest problem with this is that Zeus raped, seduced, and/or generally screwed almost every woman in ancient Greece. (And carried off a young boy once as an eagle, presumably with less-than-honorable intentions.) The idea of Hippolyta sleeping with him is…icky.
Seriously, it’s harder to find a hero who isn’t Zeus’ kid.
Also, it’s not all that hard to figure out why Hera is angry/ spiteful throughout so many myths.
Downfall of the Gods
Movie: Ares corrupted mankind, then killed the rest of the gods in a massive battle. Zeus knocked him down to Earth with one last thunderbolt, enclosed the Amazon’s island in a bubble shield, and then expired. (Heroically.)
Presumably what Mt. Olympus looks like now.
Myths: My favorite part of the Greek pantheon is that none of them are perfect or omnipotent. There are quite a few goddesses, all with agency and powers of their own. Zeus is the king (as well as the youngest of the first set of three goddesses and three gods), but the others have their own niches.
The ones typically portrayed as the ones hanging out in Mt. Olympus drinking ambrosia in between their godly duties are: Zeus (king), his sister-wife Hera (queen), Hestia (hearth), Poseidon (oceans), Hades (underworld), Demeter (harvest), Persephone (spring/ queen of underworld), Athena (wisdom & war), Ares (war), Hephaestus (smith for the gods), Apollo (sun & music), Artemis (moon& the hunt), Hermes (messenger & general trickster), and Aphrodite (love).
You’re seriously telling me that Ares killed ALL of the gods below Cronus?
Movie: The last of the gods still alive. Incredibly powerful bad guy, out to corrupt mankind and destroy them in an endless war. Even the Amazons are afraid of him. (Also, did the writers get Greek mythology and Christianity confused? With his whole, “teller of truth” and fallen god role in the movie, he read a lot more like the Christian devil to me. The scene even looked like the picture below!)
Myths: Ares? Give me a break! Yeah, he was the god of war and incredibly destructive, but definitely not the top pick for “which of these gods would win a fight?”
Athena and Hermes are way smarter than him & Athena is the goddess of war so she’s no slouch in a fight. In fact, most of the gods/ goddesses are pretty fierce and strong. (Not Aphrodite though–she’s a lover, not a fighter. Push comes to shove though and she could seduce the sword off him in two seconds flat.)
Also, Ares is a wuss. The man can dish out violence, but he can’t take it. In several stories he moaned all the way home to Olympus after getting wounded.
The whole time they talked about him in the movie, I just kept remembering this picture:
In that story, Otus and Ephialtes–two giant sons of Poseidon–decided to go take Artemis and Hera as their brides. Ares rushed out to fight them and they “crammed him into a bronze jar and clamped the lid shut.” After Artemis saved the day, the gods “pulled Ares out of the jar where he had been crouching all the while, howling and screaming.”
Yeah, I don’t buy him as the arch villain of anything.
What’s in a name?
Movie: Wonder Woman is the daughter of the Queen of the Amazons. Her name is Diana.
Myths: You know who else is named Diana? The Roman goddess of the hunt. (To the Greeks, her name was Artemis.) Strong and fiercely independent…it was a good choice of a name.
Wonder Woman’s writers took inspiration from the myths and, while some of the differences made me annoyed–seriously, Ares?!?–it was a good time overall.
If you need a fix before the next movie comes out, I suggest reading some of the myths themselves. Greek mythology is essentially a magical soap opera, full of heroes (and heroines).
Thanks, Wonder Woman, for reminding me of something I love!