Director: Patty Jenkins
Starring: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine & Robin Wright
Synopsis: Before she was Wonder Woman she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, trained warrior. When a pilot crashes and tells of conflict in the outside world, she leaves home to fight a war to end all wars, discovering her full powers and true destiny.
Rating: 12A Duration: 141 minutes Release date: 1 June (UK)
There are two things that were riding on the back of Wonder Woman. One was to reignite the interest & quality of the DC Extended Universe and two, to finally deliver a righteous female led superhero for a modern generation. To say there was pressure on Wonder Woman to succeed would be an understatement. Director Patty Jenkins and star Gal Gadot have fortunately got it right, making a decades old character contemporary and more importantly making a kick ass female superhero film.
It’s been no easy task bringing Wonder Woman to the big screen. Many have attempted it before, with Joss Whedon coming closest around ten years ago but had to withdraw for various reasons. Sandra Bullock & Angelina Jolie, among others, had come closest to dispensing the lasso of truth but the role finally fell to Gal Gadot, initially being cast in Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman. Director Patty Jenkins previous film Monster was released in 2003 and is more of a testament to the Hollywood system as opposed to her obvious talents. Gadot, as with any superhero casting was criticised for varying ridiculous reasons and the two had to overcome more than their fair share of tribulations in making the film. When faced with such conflict, you either run the other way or galvanize your efforts to overcome them and what Jenkins & Gadot have done is nothing short of remarkable.
Placing the majority of the action during World War One gives Wonder Woman a, mostly, unique look. There are comparisons that can be made to Captain America: The First Avenger, but Wonder Woman works in a different way, by highlighting the horror of war through the eyes of a woman experiencing it all for the first time. Diana has barely left her homeland of Themyscira and she is flung into a world unrecognisable to her. Leading her into the ugly new world, or London to the rest of us, is Steve Trevor – an American spy who crash landed on Themyscira after being perused by the Germans. Diana demands to be taken to “the front” and face the Germans and bring an end to war.
What shines about Wonder Woman is her unbridled idealism. From growing up on an all female island & trained by the best Amazonian soldiers, to fighting in the trenches of WWI, her sheer good will is a thing of marvellous beauty. Diana never waivers in her belief to do the right thing or to question those who attempt to stop her. She comes from an island without men, so the concept of being told what to do by one is completely alien to her. There is a sense of naivety to Diana’s protests, but this only makes her more endearing. Her honest charm is reminiscent of that of Christopher Reeve’s Clarke Kent, only where as that was an act to disguise his alter-ego, Diana’s is more pure. Wonder Woman borrows a few elements from Superman: The Movie and makes for a superhero film that actually feels super. While modern audiences are more used to iron men and super soldiers in their comic book films, it is nice to see a film that focuses more on the heroic elements of the genre. Diana wants to do good, so she acts for the good and fights those who would incite war rather than aim for peace.
Wonder Woman, like many films, is not without fault though. The CG effects can falter at times and the final third boils down to a similar theme looking like a video game boss fight. That said, none of this matters when the rest of the film is so pure, charming and full of idealism. Such things may seem trite now and some may feel the need for their heroes to be “relevant”, but Wonder Woman captures what it means to be a hero in an age when we really need them more than ever.