Ares

Finally we arrive to Wonder Woman‘s main villain, the deceptive Ares, God of War. In the movie, Ares is the one who, according to the myth, doomed humankind and led the first men and women to destroy each other corrupting their pure souls with his art, war, and he also killed all the other Olympians in a fearsome battle immediately after. In modern times, Diana looks for him on World War I‘s battlefield, but is unable to recognize him behind the facade of meek and peaceful Sir Patrick Morgan, portrayed by David Thewlis, until he reveals himself. The final fight is a little bit too Sailor Moonish, with the heroine clearly overpowered until she annihilates her enemy with the “power of love”, but Ares is nevertheless quite a good villain, impressive especially considering his not exactly intimidating appearance (the armor does a lot in that sense). In the comics, killing Ares is not as easy as in the movie, and he keeps coming back, over and over again, war after war. Let’s see together.

Ares was the son of Zeus and Hera, king and queen of Olympus and of the gods. A god himself, Ares was the patron of war and all its violent and cruel aspects, and his nature compelled him in putting all his efforts into making the world a temple of war, influencing mortals into fighting themselves to total annihilation. Due to his goals and character, Ares was never close to his brothers and sisters, not even to his parents, so he left Mount Olympus and built a new home for himself, a pocket dimension whose access was on the hill Aeropagus, near Athens: from here, in a realm safe even from Zeus’ intereference, he put thousands of plans in motion to bring men to kill each other. Since the dawn of mankind, however, Ares’ sister AphroditeGoddess of Love, swore she would have protected mortals with her own power, sending love to quell their violent ambitions. To protect humans from Ares, Aphrodite and the other goddesses put their powers together and created the Amazons, a tribe of superhuman women devoted to build and keep peace among peoples and nations. The Amazons obviously became Ares’ first hindrance in the fulfillment of his millennial goals, so he started focusing on destroying them: the sacred women, however, were also skilled combatants, and they could annihilate any army he put against them. Luckily enough, he found the perfect candidate in the annihilation of Amazons in his violent step-brother, Heracles, and he easily convinced him to attack Themyscira, the land of the Amazons, accompanied by his friend Theseus. The two “heroes” at first failed in their quest, but they eventually tricked Queen Hippolyta and Queen Antiope, chained and raped them, putting an end to the golden age of the Amazons: after that episode, the warrior women split into two tribes, one devoted to war, thus strenghtening Ares, the other isolated from the world, thus letting him do whatever he wanted with mortals. Apparently, he had exacted his definitive victory over his enemies, and the world was engulfed in the flames of war in the following millennia.

From the Trojan War to the Roman Empire‘s campaigns, from the Crusades to the French Revolution, Ares was behind any small or big conflict ever happened on Earth, and he became increasingly stronger with every battle being fought. His power reached a peak during World War I and World War II, but the God of War never had enough: he wanted more, and the newly discovered atomic bomb could provide him with a conflict of unprecedented scale, so that he could have annihilated the world itself pulling the right strings. In the meanwhile, to make sure the Amazons didn’t rise just in time to foil his most ambitious plan ever, he manipulated events so that an American plane crashed on their island, launching a preventive attack. Things, however, didn’t go as planned, since his human puppet was accompanied by Captain Steve Trevor, who instead of following his primeval urges he allied himself with the Amazons and especially with their last born, Princess Diana, who saw Ares’ presence behind the many attacks that were plaguing the world. Ares, in fact, was trying to bring the two new super-powers, USA and USSR, to start World War III, resulting in a nuclear holocaust that would have represented a masterpiece in his collection of wars and conflicts. Soon, Trevor’s help allowed Diana and the other Amazons to see through Ares’ plans, and the princess, in Wonder Woman‘s armor, confronted the God of War: unable to face him on equal ground, the Amazon however used her Lasso of Truth on him, and forced him to see the inevitable consequences of his actions. If his plan succeeded, humanity would have destroyed itself…and Ares would have starved to death, with no conflict feeding him anymore, no warrior to worship him. The inescapable logic of Diana’s words hit Ares, so the God of War agreed to make a step back: he would have allowed Wonder Woman to operate in the mortals’ world, saving humans from themselves, but he made it clear that the conflict she so desperately wanted to eradicate from men’s heart was of their own making, while he only fed on it. From behind the curtains, he would have always operated in mortals’ hearts and history, banqueting on every failure on Diana’s side, and making sure some would have come.

Ares is a cruel and violent deity, whose only reason for existing is causing and inspiring conflicts which he feeds upon; extremely intelligent and cunning, he also possesses an immortal patience and an unbreakable determination. As the God of War, he’s inhumanly strong (matched only by Heracles among the Olympians) and invulnerable, superhumanly fast and agile, a master of any known form of combat; he’s immortal, and his armor is virtually indestructible; he can inspire feelings of hatred, bloodlust and vengeance, and the more these feelings spread on Earth, the stronger he gets; he’s a master of every existing weapon, and he can control each one of them telekinetically; he can teleport anywhere he wants, and he can assume whatever form he wishes. An immortal threat to mankind as a whole, Ares is one of the most powerful gods of Olympus, an eternal force that guides humans’ bloodiest and most brutal actions, and who thrieves on them augmenting his power in a neverending cycle.

Advertisements