Movie Review: Wonder Woman!
Wonder Woman (2017)
Starring: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Connie Nielson, Danny Houston, Robin Wright
Directed By: Patty Jenkins
At long last, Wonder Woman has her very own movie. While her live action cinematic debut hit in last years’ Batman V Superman, the Amazon Warrior has never starred in her very own movie until now. But now in her 75th year as one of pop culture’s icons, Wonder Woman has finally arrived. There’s already an enormous amount of pressure on director Patty Jenkins already (this is THE major female superhero after all). But when you take into account the lackluster reactions to Batman V Superman and Suicide Squad, Wonder Woman NEEDS to be a success.
Thankfully, it is.
From the opening frames you can tell this is a much different film from the previous DCEU offerings. Gal Gadot’s Diana’s home of Themyscira, the island home of the Amazons, dazzles with color and jaw dropping vistas, and there’s a wonderful dichotomy when she travels to London with Steve Trevor (Chris Pine). Everything turns dark and muddy, much like what we’re used to in the color palette of the DC movies. But this is actually put to good use, as the main plot of the film isn’t Diana’s quest to destroy Ares, but how the real world outside of her home changes her views of the world and the people she’s only heard about in stories..
Simply put, Gal Gadot makes this movie. While we got a glimpse of her in Batman V Superman, with Wonder Woman Gadot proves that she’s got what it takes to bring this icon to life. Gadot’s able bring a sweet naivete to Diana when she first leaves Themyscira, and it’s heartbreaking to see her realization that she won’t be able to solve all of the world’s problems like she thinks she can. Her chemistry with Chris Pine’s Steve Trevor is another highlight of the film, and director Patty Jenkins makes their flirtation not only believable, but also equal as well. It’s nowhere near what you would expect from your typical superhero blockbuster.
Of course, this being a superhero movie, we need to have some action, and while it takes Wonder Woman a little while to get there, once Diana makes her triumphant debut on the battlefield, she’s unstoppable. While the feel of Zack Snyder is definitely with some of the slow motion shots, there’s an undeniable thrill in seeing Wonder Woman lasso up soldiers and fling them across the battlefield like insects. Just like Gadot’s able to sell us on Diana’s humanity, she’s also able to sell us on looking like a bad ass as well.
If there’s one thing to criticize Wonder Woman with, it’s the villains. Like nearly every major modern superhero film (including ones from Marvel Studios), the villains here aren’t fleshed out all that much. Danny Huston’s Ludendorff and Elena Anaya’s Doctor Poison are perfectly fine (with one pretty cheesy moment) but aside from wanting to continue World War 1, there’s not a lot to go on with them. Also the big bad, Ares (whose identity I won’t spoil here), is pretty cool, but he looks a little goofy in close up. A little more time could’ve been used to really get into their story, but at two and half hours already, it probably needed to be cut to prevent the film from being too overstuffed.
Wonder Woman is not only a good movie, but hopefully a sign that DC and Warner Bros are beginning to “course correct” their plans after the release of Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad. A lot of people are comparing Wonder Woman to Batman Begins, but I honestly think it has more in common with the original Christopher Reeves Superman than anything else. It’s a movie with heart, great action, and a hero that you actually want to root for (sorry Henry Cavill Superman), and it couldn’t have come at a better time. It’s nice to have a DC movie that’s good again.