The world’s first female-led superhero film is finally here! Is it the movie to put the DCEU back on track or does Wonder Woman falter in her debut? Find out in our official review!
Engaging, and Timely, Story
As all the DC solo films are meant to be origin stories, Wonder Woman depicts the growth and rise of Diana, Princess of Themyscira (Gal Gadot). Her story begins at a young age, growing up on the hidden, mystical island of Themyscira, emulating the Amazonian warriors she lives among. Despite, her mother, Hippolyta’s (Connie Nielsen) wishes, Diana begins training with Antiope (Robin Wright) in an effort to become one of the greatest warriors ever developed on the island.
Her training is cut short when Steve Trevor’s (Chris Pine) plane crash lands in the island’s vicinity. After Diana rescues him, Trevor brings news of a horrific war that is so terrible it leads Diana to conclude that the God of War Ares is behind it. Together, Diana and Steve gear up and head out to find peace, during World War I.
This story was a perfect way to let the audience get to know the Wonder Woman character, after she stole the show in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Director Patty Jenkins captured the essence of Wonder Woman’s mythology and the mystical island of Themyscira. Furthermore, each Amazon had a voice, an attitude, and a part to play in Diana’s development. They didn’t feel like they were brushed aside like the Green Lantern Corps were in Ryan Reynolds’ stint as Green Lantern.
Additionally, the backdrop of World War I was admirably brought to life in this film. Everything from the somber way people spoke of it to what was shown on the front lines, we were able to witness the hellish environment that many experienced during the Great War. It was a bold move of DC and Jenkins to take this route, but it proved to be the perfect landscape to drop Wonder Woman into.
As the world’s morals began to crumble from the fatigue of the war, Wonder Woman’s unshakeable fighting spirit and innocence was a breath of fresh air in an otherwise predictable genre of films. The horrors of war and the naivety of innocence molded and shaped each other as the movie went on, with the end result being the Wonder Woman we came to know in BvS and an end to the Great War.
Gal Gadot + Chris Pine + Patty Jenkins = Gold
Wonder Woman has always stood for truth, justice, and empowerment for all. Thankfully, that’s exactly what we got in this feature film. That’s due in large part by Gal Gadot’s fantastic performance and Patty Jenkins flawless character direction.
Wonder Woman was everything you wanted her to be in this movie. Her disposition was the shining light in an otherwise dark time in history. She was willing to fight allies and enemies in order to achieve peace and protect mankind from further casualties. It was awesome to watch.
In addition to Jenkins’ direction, Gadot’s performance was boosted further by a stellar supporting cast, specifically Chris Pine’s Steve Trevor. It might sound strange but I believe this is my favorite role of Pine’s. While he played a strong leader-type character, there were so many moments where we got to explore his more vulnerable side, which was just as refreshing to watch as Wonder Woman.
Furthermore, the chemistry between Gadot and Pine was fun to watch. Trevor trying to teach Diana about the ways of the world and Diana not understanding the erroneous customs were some of the best moments of the movie. Plus, the romance between the two never felt forced or sudden. Jenkins brilliantly directed scenes where you could see the two starting to get closer, making the moment it’s professed understandable and tragic.
It wasn’t even just Gadot and Pine who had a part in making Wonder Woman enjoyable, the rest of their team brought their own charm and levity to the bleak situation. Charlie (Ewen Bremner), the PTSD-stricken sniper had a mix of emotional and funny moments, The Chief (Eugene Brave Rock) a Native American warrior brought calm and wisdom to the group, but Sameer (Said Taghmaoui) really stole the show as the smooth-talking actor that tried to get the team out of dicey situations.
They weren’t in the film as much as Gadot and Pine but they served their purpose of providing levity and depth to the Wonder Woman movie.
While there has been a lot of love for Patty Jenkins, Gal Gadot, and the rest of the cast and crew of Wonder Woman, there are blemishes that should be mentioned. For starters, there were times where the CGI was noticeably bad. Specifically the points where Wonder Woman was jumping into action. Suddenly, Wonder Woman looked like a digitally produced character and not real. Plus, the green screen background became off-putting. I realize that’s DC’s way of doing things now but it just takes me out of the movie.
Next, the main enemies were, as the subheading mentioned, Throwaways. I was really excited when I heard that Dr. Poison (Elena Anaya) would be the foe in Wonder Woman, but they never really fleshed out her character. She felt one-note, a woman who really liked poison and death...That’s it. I wanted more dialogue out of her, but she developed into a side-villain more than anything else. Ludendorff (Danny Huston), Dr. Poison’s superior officer, got more airtime and served far more of a purpose than the good doctor, but even his purpose wasn’t very robust. He mainly served as a villain who proved that Diana has no problem with killing.
Finally, for a movie that is 2 hours and 20 minutes there seemed to be a few unnecessary moments. For example, the moments with Etta (Lucy Davis) could’ve been removed. She had a few good lines of dialogue but provided minimal input in the story. There were times where I thought she’d have more of an impact, but then the story pivoted another way. If they had their heart set on keeping her in the film, I would’ve liked maybe one more scene from her where she really brought something more to the screen than the occasional levity.
The State of the DCEU
The big question on many long time fans’ minds is, does this movie put the DCEU back on track? It’s a darn good start, that’s for sure. If the rest of the DCEU solo movies (hopefully Justice League as well) are like Wonder Woman, the DCEU will be just fine. Despite its minor imperfections, Wonder Woman has climbed up my list of comic book origin stories. The way World War I was depicted, Gadot’s portrayal of the character, and Pine’s role as Trevor, made the film for me. It’s a hit in an otherwise series of misses in DCEU.