Wait. Can we please talk about this please? The entire end battle of this movie. For most of the movie, Mulan has felt out of place. She doesn’t know where she fits in. Covering herself in femininity doesn’t work, like, at all. The scene of the matchmaker…I don’t even have to explain to show you how much that is not her. But then she runs away and poses as a man. She tries her hardest to blend in and be a guy, but at the same time, covering herself in the masculine just doesn’t work. She’s still awkward and out of place. The men eventually embrace her as one of their own, see her as a guy, but they see her as a strange guy, a very effeminate man. But this scene, this final part of the movie, she has finally found her place. She is short haired (masculine) and wearing a woman’s outfit. She has found her place as a tomboy, somewhere in the middle of extremes.
But to continue on and dissect this final battle, Mulan is facing Shan Yu. Shan Yu is huge and muscled, where Mulan is smaller, slimmer, but no doubt she is toned from all the training she’s done. Still, Shan Yu has his big ass sword and all she finds she is equipped with is the fan she and the other men used to sneak into the castle. She is equipped with a traditionally feminine object and Shan Yu is equipped with a traditionally masculine object. She uses that fan to disarm him, then uses the sword to trap him. Not only is this badass and clever, she uses an object she was uncomfortable with in the beginning to take a weapon she was also uncomfortable with earlier on in the movie and uses both of them to defeat a man twice as big as her with a much longer and much more extensive history of fighting and battles than she has. She, at this point, has learned to embrace both of the aspects of herself and use this to her advantage. She finally realizes by this time that she is not the traditional, overly feminine daughter her society wants her to be, but she isn’t the other extreme, either, the man’s man, lets-scratch-our-butts-and-fight-for-no-reason type seen when she first comes into the camp. She is a little bit of both, and realizing this and embracing it allows her to be more sure of herself and fully embrace who she is, making her happier, but also more confident (do I even need to point out how she stepped up as leader and showed the men a way to sneak into the palace? Oops, I already did), and a better fighter. She’s just all around awesome and this move she does when she disarms Shan Yu always makes me feel enormously proud of her and how far she’s come.
Also why I wish we’d get more images of her (pins, dolls, etc.) from THIS part of the movie. We get so many in her impress-the-matchmaker gown, and a number (at least of Disney pins) in her warrior garb as Ping.