Wonder Woman is a thrilling film that fans will find to be equal parts empowering and touching.
This picture takes us back to Diana’s (Gal Gadot) origins on her home island of Themyscria. Raised by her mother, Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen) and trained by her sister General Antiope (Robin Wright), we are witness to the transformation of an average girl into an unconquerable warrior. Her Amazonian culture has long held the belief that the world of man doesn’t deserve them. These ideas are pushed to the limit when American spy Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) manages to crash land on their island. Before the shock of meeting the first man ever can set in, German warships appear on the horizon. A battle quickly unfolds, and the Amazonians blame Captain Trevor. They integrate the good captain using a certain iconic lasso and come to realize that they face a threat much greater than anyone knew. Diana wants to go stop this threat. Queen Hippolyta forbids her from leaving as she believes this could be the work of the god Ares. Diana doesn’t listen and sneaks off to fight in a war with no end in a world she knows nothing of.
While some fans may have questioned the casting of Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, she stole the show in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. In Wonder Woman, she asserts herself in the same way Christian Bale did as Batman. Bale never played Batman; he became The Dark Knight. Gadot’s isn’t playing Diana, Princess from Themyscria, she is Wonder Woman. Gadot performance is a mixture of determination, fierceness, and the naivete of a young woman who has just left her homeland.
The casting of Chris Pine as Captain Steve Trevor was in a word perfect. His dry sense of humor and overall charm were a perfect match to Gadot’s performance.
Patty Jenkins took the helm of what can only be referred to as DC’s most critical project. After the lambasting that Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice received from the critics, the pressure for Wonder Woman to do well is at an all time high. Another misstep and it could have a long-lasting impact on the future of DC films.
Jenkins succeeds where other DC projects have misstepped as she allows these characters to be fully realized on screen. In Suicide Squad, they attempted to create a backstory where Deadshot (Will Smith) does what he does to provide for his daughter. It came off as thin and nothing more. We see in Wonder Woman that Diana is motivated by a deep love of humanity. She grew up hearing tales of Ares and his destruction upon man. No part of her wishes that type of horror to be unleashed on anyone. That’s why she gives up everything to join Steve on his journey back to the war. Jenkins is creating a character that’s motivated by love and driven by what’s right.
Jenkins even touches on the societal perceptions of this era. When Diana arrives in London, Steve quickly works towards getting her “suitable clothes.” As she is trying on gaudy dress after gaudy dress, Diana asks “How is one suppose to fight in this?” I also liked the sequence when the German spies are cornering Captain Trevor, and he tells Diana to stand back to which she responds by opening up a can of whoop-ass on their assailants.
Allan Heinberg, Jason Fuchs, and Zack Snyder (yes … that Zack Snyder) constructed a narrative that was both enthralling and empowering towards Woman.
What Didn’t Work
The third act of the film dragged slightly for me only because I was ready to see Diana face off against Ares.
Wonder Woman is a triumph for not only DC but the Comic Book movie genre. The film is enjoyable from the first beats of the opening sequence down to the final moment when the credits begin to roll. Patty Jenkins showed that you can take a comic book character and make a poignant film. Jenkins, Gadot, and Pine seemed to understand the importance of this film. It wasn’t just for super nerds and comic book geeks around the globe. Jenkins made this film for the Zoey’s, Scarlett’s, Grace’s, Joella’s, and Siena’s everywhere. Little girls everywhere now have their hero to look upon with wonderment.