And here we are folks, we are finally living in a world where a live action Wonder Woman solo film is a reality. She’s easily the world’s most recognizable female superhero, and it’s great that she’s finally receiving the attention she deserves. However, not only the film needs to do right by a feminist icon, it also has to serve the purpose as the superhero film that breaks DC Extended Universe (DCEU)’s unsavory reputation. Despite some flaws here and there, including a dreadful final boss fight, I’m happy to report that Wonder Woman is a powerful film that’s full of heart, and a win for the DCEU.
Wonder Woman is the first film that takes the formula established by the DCEU and takes it to the next level. While both Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad rush to pit the superheroes and villains together, this is the first film that takes its time to tell a cohesive tale. Overall an origin tale, the film shows Diana (Gal Gadot) as a child on Themiscarya, the Amazonian island, raised by her mother Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen) and General Antiope (Robin Wright). They both care about her dearly, but have different aspects on how to ready her for the possible invasion. This resulting her into a strong, capable fighter with a heart of compassion.
Trouble begins when American spy Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) arrives the island. After hearing the war happening in the outside world, Diana is convinced this is the doing of Ares, and decides to take down the God of War to end all conflicts once and for all. It’s really something seeing Diana picks up her sword, shield, Lasso of Truth and don her iconic Wonder Woman costume for the first time and set sail to our world.
It’s at this point that I really appreciate that film doesn’t dig too deep into its philosophy. Unlike Man of Steel or others that tries to take a more realistic ground by asking how super beings can exist in the world, Wonder Woman present us the idea of Zeus and Ares and expects us to embrace the mythology fully. There’s no point dwelling in the backstory, because it’s more important to tell the current tale. Wonder Woman’s origin has been retold over and over again to better explain the ridiculous part, and I’m glad the film moves past that right away without much of an explanation. This is definitely the right move.
I think it’s already obvious from BVS that Gadot is the perfect Wonder Woman, but it isn’t until this film that her perfection is truly solidified. She captures Diana’s child-like demeanor perfectly when first visited the human world, and at the same time maintain the strong warrior posture. And by goddess, her action scenes are breath-taking and director Patty Jenkins perfectly shows that while Diana is a god, she’s still a novice fighter that’s not very good at fighting yet. This is especially obvious when compares to the seasoned fighter we’ve seen in BVS.
Aside from the warrior badassery, the film also digs deeper into Wonder Woman’s morality by showing her love for all humanity and disgust towards injustice. Diana’s Mother Teresa-ish love is an important part of her character, and when her view is clashed with the ugly reality, it creates a compelling emotional struggles that’s the core of the film. She’s truly the warrior of peace from the comics, and Gadot masters the role perfectly.
My favorite scene is when Diana decides to step out of the trenches, in full costume, and runs into the enemy gunfire. This is such a powerful scene that demonstrates her strength, and at the same time, her desire to protect those in needs. I can’t help but cheer when watching this scene, and clap when it is over.
The film’s supporting cast delivers too. Pine’s Steve Trevor is charming, and he successfully portrays a man who has seen too much war, but still has a small spark of hope willing to fight on. I’m a fan of his curiosity towards Diana and the Amazons, but not necessary her relationship with her. However, the same cannot be said about Trevor’s solider buddies. They each show a difference aspect towards war, but sadly their performances are not memorable. Lucy Davis does a wonderful job as Trevor’s secretary Etta Candy, and she’s as delightful as ever, but she only has a very limited screen time.
Meanwhile, Wright’s Antiope accomplishes a lot during her limited screen time too, and she shows that she’s the toughest on Themiscarya and an important mentor in Diana’s life. Nielsen’s Hippolyta shows a fair amount of strength and empathy that it is easy to understand why she’s the queen among these strong warriors.
The villains here, however, are a bit of a disappointment. The villains kind of come off one-direction in the film, and the obvious plot-twist is not in their favor at all. I know the real villain here is supposed to be “war” itself, but the film can do a little better job portraying the villains. Also, it’s really bizarre the final boss fight has cheap technical effect, and a weird Super Saiyan moment from Wonder Woman herself.
Overall, Wonder Woman is good film that brings the most iconic female superhero to live. It has great story, compelling characters and breath-taking actions scenes that’s definitely a win for DCEU. There are some flaws including a troublesome final fight and some technical problems, but not enough to prevent the film from being a one that should be recognized. Wonder Woman is a superhero that’s one of its kind, and it lights up hope for the future.