Steve Rose in The Guardian criticized the film for failing to explore the material's potential for "patriarchy-upending subversion". Peter Travers of Rolling Stone criticized the film's over-reliance on exposition: "Wonder Woman is hobbled by a slogging origin story and action that only comes in fits and starts. Just when Gadot and director Patty Jenkins...are ready to kick ass, we get backstory."
The American theme of Diana's costume was explained by Pérez in the Challenge of the Gods storyline in which Diana engaged in a series of trials arranged by Zeus as punishment for refusing his advances. Diana met the spirit of Steve Trevor's mother, Diana Trevor, who was clad in armor identical to her own. Trevor revealed that during World War II she had crashed on Themyscira while on duty as a U.S. Army pilot. She blundered into an Amazon battle against Cottus, a multi-armed demon, at the portal to the underworld. Trevor was drawn into the battle, although she was armed only with her side arm. She wounded the beast before suffering a mortal blow, allowing the Amazons to reseal the portal.
Director James Cameron continued this debate, through his critique of the representation of female power in Jenkins's film. In an August 2017 interview with The Guardian, Cameron qualifies Jenkins's vision of Wonder Woman as "an objectified icon" and called the film "a step backwards". In contrast, he states, his character Sarah Connor (from his Terminator films) "was not a beauty icon. She was strong, she was troubled, she was a terrible mother, and she earned the respect of the audience through pure grit." Jenkins stated in response that Cameron's "inability to understand what 'Wonder Woman' is, or stands for, to women all over the world is unsurprising as, though he is a great filmmaker, he is not a woman". She further argued "there is no right and wrong kind of powerful woman" because "if women have to always be hard, tough and troubled to be strong, and we aren't free to be multidimensional or celebrate an icon of women everywhere because she is attractive and loving, then we haven't come very far have we." Reaction to this debate was mixed. Julie Miller sided with Cameron, whom she states refers to himself as "a pretty hardcore feminist" and who told Vulture that "I have no problem writing a script in which the males become subservient to the females, which is what happens in Aliens ... It's up to Ripley to win the day." In contrast, Miller argues that Jenkins and Gadot envisioned Wonder Woman as "a woman who exuded both femininity and strength, along with genuine confusion as to why men would treat women differently than they do other men". Susannah Breslin also agreed with Cameron, describing Jenkins's Wonder Woman as "a Playmate with a lasso" and "female power with no balls". Others were more critical of Cameron's critique. An article in Newsweek suggests that in contrast to his criticism of Jenkins, Cameron's own films include "lot of objectification" and quotes a few Hollywood celebrities who echoed this view. One of the quotes came from Jesse McLaren who states that "James Cameron's just confused there's a female hero whose motivations aren't centered around motherhood." Noah Berlatsky found areas of agreement between both Cameron and Jenkins, stating that while Cameron's objection is "an old point that's been made over and over for decades", Jenkins's film is not "solely focused on objectifying Gal Gadot for a male audience".
Wonder Woman's powers and traditional costume were restored in issue #204 (January–February 1973). Gloria Steinem, who grew up reading Wonder Woman comics, was a key player in the restoration. Steinem, offended that the most famous female superheroine had been depowered, placed Wonder Woman (in costume) on the cover of the first issue of Ms. (1972) – Warner Communications, DC Comics' owner, was an investor – which also contained an appreciative essay about the character.
Ares' daughter, Harmonia, chose to help Diana, however. She gave her a powerful amulet with the power to transport across dimensions. Diana slew Deimos with her razor sharp tiara, and from him acquired the other half of Harmonia's amulet. Finally, Ares stepped in to claim the talisman, but Diana bound him with her lasso of truth. He realized that to allow humans to war would leave no kingdom for him to rule. In failure, Ares declared that he would no longer trifle with the affairs of man, and also forbade his offspring from appearing on Earth. He also took the amulet and all the power which had been collected therein.
The chief chemist associated with General Ludendorff who specializes in chemistry and poisons. On her role, Anaya said, "Well, it was a small role in this big ensemble, but it is an important character in the story. I'm going to be a big nightmare" for Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor. Describing her character, Anaya said, "Dr. Maru loves rage and enjoys people's pain. She's creating terrible weapons, and her purpose in life is to kill as many people as possible, and provoke as much pain as possible". She researched World War I and Fritz Haber, the scientist who created mustard gas, to prepare for the role. On the character's facial scars, Anaya stated, "I went to Patty Jenkins and asked, 'What happened to her?' And she said, 'She did it on purpose.' I was like, 'What? Patty, you're going further than I ever imagined.' She said, 'She wants to provoke painful suffering, so she tested her own gas on her own face. She wanted to know how deep this form of her gas would go, so she put it on her own face.' You can see half of her face is completely gone. This is the sadistic side of Dr. Maru". She also stated her character "is quite the opposite to the lead role of this movie, one of the strongest characters ever of DC comics, Wonder Woman. I can tell you that Doctor Poison is someone with a capacity to provoke so much pain." On Dr. Maru's relationship with General Ludendorff, Anaya said, "I think that they have a relationship based on loyalty. Ludendorff is a very tormented General that lacks self-confidence. That's why, in part, he takes these drugs that Dr. Poison gives him. They are from different worlds, but they complement each other".
The First Born imprisoned Wonder Woman in what remained of Olympus and ordered his forces to attack Themyscira. As they watched the confrontation, the First Born offered her a place in his goals of conquest, but she steadfastly refused, causing him to thrust a spike into her side. As Diana lied mortally wounded, Eris dragged her to Themyscira, for she wanted Diana to see her home destroyed and humiliate her. Recovering her strength, Wonder Woman punched Eris down and took Zola and Zeke to Olympus. Her plan was to place Zeke on the throne, so that he could be the new king of Olympus and end the bloodshed, but before she could, Poseidon revealed his presence.
In this new continuity, Wonder Woman's origin is significantly changed and she is no longer a clay figure brought to life by the magic of the gods. Instead, she is the natural-born daughter of Hippolyta and Zeus. The earlier origin story was revealed by Hippolyta to be a ruse thought up by the Amazons, to protect Diana from the wrath of Hera, who is known for hunting and killing several illegitimate offspring of Zeus.
In 1972, just months after the groundbreaking US Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, science fiction author Samuel R. Delany had planned a story for Ms. that culminated in a plainsclothes Wonder Woman protecting an abortion clinic. However, Steinem disapproved of Wonder Woman being out of costume, and the controversial story line never happened.