Movie Review: ‘Wonder Woman’
Director: Patty Jenkins
Cast: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, Connie Nielson, Elena Anaya
Plot: Diana is an Amazon warrior and the princess to her people, living on the secret island of Themyscira. When an American spy named Steven Trevor downs his plane off their coast Diana is set on a quest to enter the world embroiled in WWI.
Review: This may come as no surprise, but the DC movies kinda need a win right now. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad were not well received and the upcoming productions have been hit with all manner of problems including a number of directors leaving projects. In addition to all this, Wonder Woman is a character many feel have been unfairly snubbed by Hollywood, being the biggest and best known superheroes in the world not to headline their own movie. The pressure is on for DC to not only get their franchise back on the rails but deliver the female led superhero adventure audiences have been asking for.
Let’s start at the beginning. After her brief and almost unceremonious introduction to audience in Dawn of Justice (the best part of the movie) we wind back the clock to learn Wonder Woman’s (Gadot) origin. We get a primer in Greek mythology and join Diana as a child on Themyscira. Right off the bat she’s strong and determined, wanting to be trained to fight in spite of her mother’s wishes. As she grows older she becomes a powerful fighter and yearns for the chance to prove herself in war. When war comes to her in the form of Trevor (Pine) Diana travels to London and then to the front lines of the ‘war to end all wars’.
The first thing that sets this film apart from the smorgasbord of superheroes vying for screen time is that it feels much more like an adventure film than an action film. Diana is a fish out of water, learning about a world very different to her own. She has her beliefs challenged and has to come into her own to complete her quest. The WWI setting helps in this regard, as seeing the contrast between Wonder Woman in her classic blue, red and gold costume and the muddy, bloodstained trenches of the war is a powerful visual.
In spite of her status as a warrior, Diana has always been anti-war. This is something that doesn’t always translate into adaptations but it is front and centre here. Diana wants nothing more than the chance to prove herself on the battlefield, but when confronted with the massacre of WWI, the impact on civilians and the lack of honour found in modern warfare she questions everything she was raised to value. It’s in spite of the reality of war that she maintains her integrating and refuses to ignore those in need that makes this such a successful representation of the character. There’s a scene halfway through the movie – and you’ll know it when you see it – that is the culmination of this conflict and it is absolutely inspiring. This is the scene that everyone was talking about leaving the screening.
The downside is that the film doesn’t manage to end on the same high. The finale turns into a maelstrom of green screen action and some janky CG stunt doubles. We don’t get as invested in the final battle as the scenes of Diana fighting for civilians as we don’t ever ‘see’ the real bad guy until this smack down. The DCEU still insists on carrying through Zack Snyder’s unique fast-thenslow-thenfastagain style of shooting action and it’s losing it’s appeal. There isn’t a fight in the whole movie where the film comes to a complete stand still every few seconds. Its got annoying at points because we just wanted to watch the movie.
So it’s not a movie without problems, but the good does outweigh the bad. It is without question miles ahead of what the DCEU have offered us thus far. Most importantly it’s a movie that does the character justice. Get out and see it before the superhero fatigue sets in. Best of all is Gal Gadot, who is an absolute titan on the screen in the Wonder Woman costume. She has perfectly captured this iconic figure.
Review: EIGHT out of TEN