REVIEW — “Wonder Woman”
Without being accused of having a Marvel bias, I think it’s safe and fair to say that the DCEU has had a rocky start at developing their own cinematic universe thus far. They have all the pieces in place, with fantastic actors in the iconic roles, but their films have been met with mixed reception to say the least. Out of all their upcoming films, Wonder Woman has been the one I’ve been most interested in and optimistic about from the get-go. The character’s appearance in Batman v Superman was one of the highlights of that film, we have an acclaimed director with Patty Jenkins behind the camera, it’s set many years before the rest of the franchise’s continuity and has more freedom in storytelling… and of course, it’s first and foremost a Wonder Woman film; the first big budget, feature-length film, featuring this character, to hit theaters nationwide. This is a film that fans have been anticipating for many years, and thankfully, is one that is well worth the wait and the best installment into this franchise thus far. I absolutely loved this.
Wonder Woman begins in the Themyscira, with Amazonian’s living peacefully exiled from the rest of humanity. We follow Diana (Gal Gadot) as she comes of age and slowly discovers her full potential of powers and strength. Everything she knows is put to the test when an American soldier named Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) mysteriously crash lands in the Thremyscira, putting Diana and the rest of the Amazonian’s in danger. This sets up a chain of events that eventually leads to Diana and Steve making a deal to sail to London, with Diana intending to fight in the battlefield of World War I and find the God of War, Ares, to put an end to the killing and senseless bloodshed. This may sound like its right up the same ally of Batman v Superman in terms of depressing and dark content, but I assure you, Wonder Woman is one of the most entertaining blockbusters of the year and refreshingly optimistic. It’s actually a fair reminder of how inspirational superhero films can, and ultimately, should be. These heroes are meant to be figures we can look to for hope in the midst of everything going on in the real world, and Gal Gadot’s interpretation of the character exhibits that beautifully.
Some have been concerned with Gal Gadot’s ability to carry a film on her own, but I’m happy to say that she shines brightly as Wonder Woman and adds genuine complexities and charm to the character. Wonder Woman could’ve easily been used as a set-up to Justice League, but is thankfully a film completely about Diana Prince as a character and how she came to be known as Wonder Woman. In fact, this film is nearly separated from the rest of the continuity and works perfectly as an isolated origin story. The most interesting aspect of the film is Diana’s ever evolving perceptions of humanity and her curiosity towards us as a species. She doesn’t understand why we fight in wars, but understands the importance of stopping them and the unnecessary damage that is causes. The film has a beautiful progression of character development for her, as her perception of humanity and the goodwill of us as a species is ever-changing. A lot of this is exhibited through dialogue between her and Steve Trevor, and thankfully doesn’t feel at all cheap or exposition-heavy. Instead, it simply adds a lot to the story and themes of the film, as well as expanding their chemistry, which is also one of the best aspects of this film. In fact, the best sequences are between the two of them discussing their thoughts and feelings about the world and war around them. The love angle isn’t forced, but is instead beautifully and slowly developed throughout the process of the film.
Patty Jenkins was absolutely the best choice to direct this film, as her presence is felt more behind the camera than the studio’s input is. Not only does she do an incredible job when it comes to shooting the action sequences and making them both meaningful to the story and exciting to watch, but she incorporates a gorgeous color palette that is missing from many films of this genre lately. The film undeniably has some minor issues when it comes to pacing in the middle section, and it ultimately could have benefited from better writing when it comes to some of its villains, but most of that is an afterthought to everything that the film does right. One can only hope that this is the film to set DC and WB in the right direction with this universe, but even if none of their future films are on the same level, we can use this as an example of how great of potential they have to be and can strive towards. Emotional, exhilarating, funny, meaningful, and completely engaging – Wonder Woman is an excellent addition to the superhero genre and one that deserves to be seen by everyone. 4/5.