“Wonder Woman” Leaves Me Breathless

I finally got to see Wonder Woman over the Fourth of July weekend. I know, I know: As the host of a podcast called “Dorque,” I’m a little late to the game for a movie that came out a month ago, but I saw it and want to talk about it now.

Do you have an outlet for your opinions no matter how dated they are? Didn’t think so. Now read mine.

It may surprise you to hear that I don’t like going out all that much. I have a touch of agoraphobia, which is hard to explain for someone who does standup comedy from time to time and regularly appears onstage in plays and musicals.

Those situations are different. I’m in control onstage. There are no random encounters, or possibilities of the crowd rushing toward the doors in a blind panic, or someone seeing me as the biggest guy in the room and thus the one they need to attack to deal with whatever they’ve got going on. It happens more than you think.

Twenty minutes after the start time, I notice a couple of heads bobbing up the stairs right toward us. It’s a young couple making a beeline for me. And my security barriers.

We’ll come back to that.

Anyway, my wife and I went to see it at the theater in Perkins Rowe that recently upgraded its seating to those big, comfy recliners you have to reserve ahead of time. Being able to reserve seats means the wife and I don’t have to worry about being stuck in the middle of a bunch of chatty teenagers, or next to somebody who wants to ask me questions or, God forbid, try to share an armrest. I swear I was cursed by a gypsy to find the perfect movie seats only to have obnoxious people sit next to me at the last possible second.

So I went online and saw that there were a number of seats available, most notably four in the very last row. This meant I could reserve the two in the middle and hopefully prevent anyone from sitting near us, so I could actually relax and enjoy a movie in public like a normal human being for once, instead of as the jumpy, extra-paranoid man monster that I usually feel like.

So I clicked them and bought the tickets.

We arrived 20 minutes early, ensuring we had ample time to buy snacks and find our seats without any trouble. We had no trouble. Everything was clearly marked out.

As it got closer to movie time, the theater started to fill up, but with the big partitions between rows, all we saw was the screen and the comfortably empty seats on either side of us. I was more at ease than I’ve been in a public place in decades.

The previews start. Wonder Woman is a blockbuster, so we’re looking at 20 minutes’ worth, which is cool. The previews are always the best part.

Twenty minutes after the start time, I notice a couple of heads bobbing up the stairs right toward us. It’s a young couple making a beeline for me. And my security barriers.

The woman whisper-shouts at my wife and me, requesting that we move down one so she and her husband can sit together. I am visibly annoyed, and worse, my wife has misheard the woman’s request and thinks the man on the other side of her empty seat has taken the woman’s seat, and that instead of confronting him herself, the woman wants us to move.

We begrudgingly start to get up, which takes a second because the recliners are electric and move very slowly. Our displeasure is obvious.

This is not the response the woman wants, so before we stand up to move, she barks, “Forget it; it’s not worth it! We’ll just sit up front.” And they storm back down the steps and out of our lives.

My pulse is up, but the problem has apparently solved itself. I relax.

Ten minutes later, they’re back.

My body is full of adrenaline and everything is heightened. I can smell the woman’s body wash like she’s still in the shower. Pretty sure it’s Herbal Essence.

“Look, guys, apparently, we have to sit in our seats,” the woman says in the tone of someone forced to share a lifeboat with someone she threw a glass of Champagne at only moments before the Titanic started sinking.

The wife and I move down. The man takes the seat next to me, with no idea that I now have to spend the next two hours stock-still, because even though I am easily a head taller and 60 pounds heavier than he is, my reptile brain now perceives him as a threat due to the little kerfuffle, and if he makes any sudden movements, I may have to grab him and tear off one of his arms to defend myself.

My body is full of adrenaline and everything is heightened. I can smell the woman’s body wash like she’s still in the shower. Pretty sure it’s Herbal Essence.

Agoraphobia doesn’t always make sense.

The movie is very good. The whole time I’m watching it, I’m thinking to myself, “Man, every woman on Earth needs to see this movie. This is both fun and empowering without being full of snide remarks or eye rolling. If I had a daughter, I’d play this in a loop in my house all day, every day.”

Well, half of me is. The other half is thinking, “That chick is watching this movie right now, full of righteous indignation at me not moving when she told me to, and is currently writing the speech she is going to give me as soon as the credits roll. She’s going to get in my face and give me a piece of her mind, and I’m going to panic and kill and eat her husband in front of her.”

The film ends. It’s a satisfying conclusion that leaves me excited for the upcoming Justice League movie. There is no kicker after the credits, so I whisper that to my wife, and once enough people have cleared out, we rise and go to leave.

I turn toward the stairs, and there she is.

She has indeed written a speech, and it’s a doozy. There is no warmup. The lights from the credits are flashing all around us, and the music is still going loud enough that she is shouting it at me.

“I just want you to know that I had a hysterectomy a week ago, and today was the first time I’ve bathed in a week. And the first people I came into contact with on my first time out were so rude to me. You need to think about other people and, and what they might be going through when they ask you to do something. I ask you to move so I can sit with my husband, and you get huffy with me and…”

Ask her if this Wonder Woman-fueled girl-power rant makes up for the past year being the most horrifying experience of her life and whether it grew back everything the doctors had to remove. No, that’s awful.

I want to apologize. I really do. But right now, my body is flooded with adrenaline and in a complete panic. My eyes are darting from the woman standing inches in front of me, shouting at my face, to her husband standing just to the side.

My mind is racing: She had a hysterectomy a week ago? She can’t be older than 25, can she? Must’ve been a cyst or a tumor, God forbid. I have a friend who just went through this a couple years ago. The women in my wife’s family have a history of reproductive cancer, which is one of the reasons we decided not to have kids. She’s probably got all kinds of stitches holding her together. Don’t push her; they could rupture. Back away.

Can’t; nowhere to go. She’s still yelling. Apologize.

We can’t apologize. We’re being attacked. We have to fight.

Threaten her. Tell her you’ll feed her husband his testicles and make them a matched set.

Ask her if this Wonder Woman-fueled girl-power rant makes up for the past year being the most horrifying experience of her life and whether it grew back everything the doctors had to remove. No, that’s awful.

She’s still in our face, asking why we’re getting angry. Well, she’s been working on a narrative about how this was going to go for the past two hours and turned you into the antagonist in her little story, and you’re not. You’re a decent person who didn’t want to move because, despite being 6 foot and 235 pounds with shoulders that don’t fit in normal seats, you get nervous in public because of just this kind of thing.

Tell her you’re a really nice guy who used to teach kids about animals at the zoo and goes for coffee on the weekends with his French bulldog. Show her a picture of your dog.

Grab her husband and throw him over the balcony. At least then she’ll have to go away to make sure he’s not dead.

She’s still going. Apologize.

My God, I want to apologize and explain, but she won’t stop, and now we’re shaking.

Don’t panic! Don’t hurt her husband. Just get away before something happens.

But I’m so sorry. I’m sorry life has been extremely unfair to you and I unintentionally made your first day back so much worse. Please get away before I hug you and apologize, or tackle your husband and try to escape, or do any of the dozens of irrational things racing through my head right now.

I see the husband. I could grab him right now. He couldn’t stop it. I could make all this stop right now. I have to keep my wife safe.

My wife puts a hand on my arm.

“Baby, I need you to wait for me outside of the theater. Can you do that for me, please?”

Can’t leave her alone. They’ll hurt her.

“Baby, I’ll be all right. Let the women work this out. Just please go and wait outside the theater. I promise I’ll be there in a second.”

She turns me toward the stairs. I see the husband. I could grab him right now. He couldn’t stop it. I could make all this stop right now. I have to keep my wife safe.

I start walking down. Trying to breathe.

I hear the woman, “I just don’t understand why he’s angry.”

I’m angry because I’m sorry bad things happened to you, and suddenly I’m the outlet for that. I’m angry because I couldn’t keep from panicking long enough to apologize and tell you that I really mean it. We understand. I’m not a monster. I just can’t talk right now. I can’t even see anything. I’m outside the theater trying to breathe.

My wife appears. The couple is still inside. This is for the best, because I don’t have a ton of control right now, and I’m shaking with adrenaline. She grabs my hand, and we start walking toward the closest exit-looking thing with no one near it. It leads to an access corridor. I follow the exit signs until we reach a locked glass door with the outside on the other side. I fumble with the lock, and we’re out.

She’s telling me to calm down, to breathe. I can hear myself snorting breath. I just want to fight someone, to destroy something, to pour all this awful out of myself in an expression of apology and panic and attempt at control.

I must look terrifying, because she’s leading me the long way around the building to the parking lot. Her hand is so tiny. We’re getting close to a group of men. If they make eye contact, we can fight them. We can tear them all apart.

“You have to calm down. Just breathe so we can pass these guys without freaking them out.”

I try to breathe.

We make it to the car. I get in. It’s quiet. We’re safe. I start breathing at a rate that’s close to normal. I want to apologize, but how do you explain all this to someone?

Overall, I’d give Wonder Woman a 9.5 out of 10 for having a strong narrative and character arc but kind of fumbling the villain. Also, the theme song is hard to whistle.

 

About Knick Moore

Knick Moore
Knick Moore hasn't been a smoker since 2007. However, this picture is just too stylish to replace.

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