Wonder Woman is … well wonderful!
Let’s be honest here, DC and Warner Brothers cinematic universe has been problematic at best. Even if you enjoyed Man of Steel, Dawn of Justice or Suicide Squad if you’re honest with yourself they’ve all been divisive films among the fan base. Not for a lack of effort or want mind you they just haven’t clicked. Wonder Woman begins to change all of that.
With Wonder Woman Director Patty Jenkins delivers just about everything you could ask for in a superhero movie. Being the first time this character has been given a movie of her own it is an origin story but it’s told very well in a quick paced and entertaining fashion. The movie tells the story of Diana, an Amazon princess (Gal Gadot) who finds her idyllic life on an island occupied only by female warriors interrupted when pilot Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) crash-lands nearby. After rescuing him, she learns that World War I is engulfing the planet, and vows to use her superpowers to restore peace.
Other than placing Wonder Woman in World War 1 instead of World War 2 the film sticks close to her standard origin tale that most fans will be familiar with. And I for one liked the switch to the “War to End All Wars” as I think it makes more sense that it would be the catalyst for the Amazons to become involved with “The World of Man”.
Gadot and Pine are great in their respective roles and have some good on-screen chemistry. Most of the humor is left to Pine as Steve Trevor and his band of allies. Pine is his usual self and fun to watch onscreen. And while he’s humorous he manages to convey a shadow of grit about him that keeps Trevor grounded. He’s not played or written for laughs or as the dumb guy that needs to be saved. He’s clearly a good man that the world and war have affected and changed. He carries a weariness and seemingly sense of guilt over some of the sacrifices he’s forced to make in the name of a greater good.
Gadot continues to show the strength she did in her limited screen time in Dawn of Justice. Quite simply she is Wonder Woman. She’s charismatic and powerful and full of empathy about the world and the people that inhabit it. She’s a fully realized character that develops over the course of the movie as she learns through the people she interacts with about the world she inhabits. I dare say that not since Christopher Reeve’s Superman have I just simply believed in a character. This is simply one of the greatest portrayals of a superhero. She is that good!
Much to the credit of the filmmakers, they don’t beat an agenda or message over people’s heads about female empowerment — they just let Diana be powerful as a character and let that be a message in and of itself and that’s all they needed to do. Further, she treats all men as equals and with compassion and respect even when they don’t do the same for her which only makes her goodness of heart shine even more. In fact, after seeing the film I’m theorizing that the reason so many reviews of the film feel obligated to pull out the female empowerment card is that the film refuses to do it for them.
As a fan that has been continually frustrated and disappointed with the DC Cinematic Universe I was incredibly happy with Wonder Woman. No, it’s not perfect, few if any movies are, but any complaints I have fall into the nitpicky category and forgiving a few leaps of logic here and there. Certainly, none that detracts from the overall story or the characters. To complain about any of it really, I think would be akin to getting off a fantastic rollercoaster and be unhappy that you rode the green car over the red one. Wonder Woman is absolutely worth a night out to the movies.