The aforementioned quotes represent a similar arc that Wonder Woman 1984‘s main characters take throughout the story, as they struggle with their self-perception versus their realities. For instance, Diana (Gal Gadot) puts on an assertive, commanding face, but is actually socially distant and lonely, her life seemingly void of close connections. Barbara (using the Dreamstone) steals Diana’s strength and likability, hiding her own lack of social skills and self-esteem. Max Lord creates an image of himself as a wealthy oil magnate, but is truly a penniless fraud. Finally, obviously, Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) is walking around in another person’s body.
As the film goes on, three of these four people use the Dreamstone as a proverbial shortcut to their wildest dreams, and they suffer individual penalties for it. Diana’s Amazonian powers whither away in exchange for Steve. Barbara loses her warmth and humility by becoming an “apex predator.” Max’s health grows steadily worse as he becomes more successful off of the Dreamstone’s abilities. They start to physically feel their lies, and soon understand they can’t be the hero — to themselves, or others — that they desire. Their attempts at greatness, or living their greatest lives, turns out to be a farce.
However, in the end, they come out the other side, to learn the true value of themselves, and to abandon their pursuit of riches, glory, and lost love. Diana, in one of Wonder Woman 1984‘s most emotional scenes, finally lets Steve go, and starts to emerge from her shell. Barb regains her humanity and finds comfort with her genuine self. Max reunites with his son, promising him he’ll be the good father he set out to be from the beginning.
Little did we know at the time, but those Amazonian words of wisdom, at the very beginning, encompassed everything WW84 had in store for its diverse cast of characters.