Review: Much have I seen and known

Maybe at another time I will provide a more considered and thorough critique of the following film and its performances, but right now it is too much with me and all I’ve got are raw feelings.

Do you remember when you were young? When you rushed home from school full of energy, even after an hour on the bus, and watched Monkey Magic, then re-enacted all the martial arts moves with your younger brothers, because the days were long and the life in your very sinews couldn’t be contained for the thrill of it? And maybe the neighbours at the farm across the road five kilometres away called to ask what’s going on and all it was, was us, sounding our barbaric yawps over the rooftops of the world?

No? Just me then?

War and life lessons with Diana in Wonder Woman.

For a moment that’s how I felt watching Wonder Woman. And I could tell others felt the same, what with the tween girls doing cartwheels in front of the screen after the film ended. Yes, I wanted to say, that’s it exactly: because this film is about the earnestness and idealism of youth and how it energises everything and everyone, even in the very worst of circumstances.

I will drink
Life to the lees


But this film is also about how so quickly youth and idealism are sacrificed and how mostly there is no time to mourn their passing because we are too busy suffering, growing, and falling.

All times I have enjoy’d
Greatly, have suffer’d greatly, both with those
That loved me, and alone


And so, while I remember when I was the girl who flew through the air and won (second) best on court in netball once when I was 12, I can’t be her again. Mostly, because time and how my knee (still) reminds of the netball injury when I was 21.

The lesson here for Diana, and me, is that time passes, but sometimes we still remember that which we were. So I recall how oh my god how I high I flew against much taller goal attack Jodie that Friday night, decades ago. I was something. Sometimes, I want to go back. When life was simpler and there was so much I didn’t understand. Before thousands of dollars worth of dental work, death and accidents, before broken hearts and failure. And that’s another thing Diana learns. Leaving childhood is permanent.

Look, me winning netball laurels for most improved one year.

Of course, Diana is supposedly changed through her experience, but unlike me, she gets to keep her skills and strength and vitality. Thus, once this odd cinematic joie de vivre goes, I’ll return to the daily battles against my physical limitations, cynicism, helplessness, and grief, railing always in my weariness against making:

…an end,
To rust unfurnished, not to shine in use!


That’s another part of this. Longing to be of use, for adventure and adrenalin. Even from me, whose most dare-devil risk taking has been bungee jumping and the kind of innocent youthful exploits I’m glad occurred before mobile phone footage. Or, if none of the above, to achieve something of significance.

And this gray spirit yearning in desire
To follow knowledge like a sinking star,
Beyond the utmost bound of human thought



There is much to think on and feel, about this film and the performances and plot and everything else. However, I got something from it I hadn’t expected, and don’t really know what to do with: a restless ardour that even now is fading. And, I mourn for it as it leaves since I don’t want to be weak, or fatigued, or cynical. But I suppose, if I can be at all like an ancient Greek hero or Tennyson’s Ulysses:

Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield

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