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Why are women crying when they watch Wonder Woman fight?

Director Patty Jenkins has grown accustomed to hearing stories about Wonder Woman audience members welling up as Gal Gadot, playing DC Comics heroine Diana Prince, grabs her shield and sword and plunges into battle in the new superhero epic

“I didn’t even realize I needed this,” says Jenkins, who makes history as the first woman to helm a superhero movie. “I didn’t realize that I needed to let this out, that’s what I was tasked with. But it opened a door to all the expressions of this superhero, all the dimensions of a woman that maybe we haven’t seen or felt.”

On the set, Jenkins instructed the Amazons not to appear angry as they battled. “This is them in their element,” Gadot recalls Jenkins would say. “Just to fight in an aggressive, strong way. Own it.”

The resulting fight choreography? “It’s feminine-style super-bada–, super-original,” says Gadot. “I’ve never seen a fight battle driven by so many women on the big screen. Never!”

Look for a particularly poignant battle scene as Wonder Woman weaves through the trenches of a bullet-ridden war zone known as no man’s land.

“Up until that point, she’s an Amazon who has stolen a costume,” says Jenkins, who had to sell the scene of Wonder Woman fighting a line of German soldiers solo to studio executives. “(They said), ‘She’s on the field by herself. How many times is she going to block a bullet?’ But the scene is about her,” says the director. “It’s a battle with oneself to change the way the world works.”

 At the end, it’s the way the real Wonder Woman needed it.

“You have to Gal Gaddot doing that shot standing there in the dead of winter,” says Jenkins, who would run over to her star between takes to throw warm clothes on her. “She’s standing there in the freezing cold, not just because I told her to, because she fought every day to make this movie great. She would do anything she could to stay open and loving with the belief that this movie would matter to the world.”

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