Review by J.T. Johnson
DIRECTOR: Patty Jenkins
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Matthew Jensen
WRITER: Allan Heinberg
MUSIC: Rupert Gregson-Williams
Finally, DC has a clear winner for their film universe and maybe now these studios won’t be so afraid to make a film starring a female superhero! “Wonder Woman” puts the DCEU back on track with a great origin story that has just as much heart as it does action. It also injects a little more light in what has been an otherwise dark universe.
The movie starts off by showing us Diana (Gal Gadot) as she grows up in Themyscira as the daughter of Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen). Diana’s mother reluctantly lets Diana train for combat due to a long held secret about Diana’s destiny. After she grows up, Diana witnesses a plane crash into the ocean and rescues its pilot, Steve Trevor (Chris Pine).
After German soldiers follow Steve to Themyscira, Steve then explains that there is a great war going on in man’s world. Diana knows that this war must be the work of Ares, the god of war, and that if she kills him, the war will end. Therefore, she heads out to embrace her destiny and save mankind.
From this point on, the movie becomes a fish out of water story as we get to know more about Diana, Steve, and their companions. The movie is comparable to “Captain America: The First Avenger” in this way, except better. For example, we get to see Dum Dum Dugan and the Howling Commandos in “First Avenger”, but we don’t really get to know them.
Here, the movie takes its time to get to know the characters. By the end of the movie, you find that you actually give a damn not just about Diana and Steve, but also Sameer (Saïd Tagmaoui), Charlie (Ewen Bremner), and Chief (Eugene Brave Rock).
I will say that if you are expecting wall-to-wall action, then this is not a film for you. Like “Batman Begins”, the filmmakers tease you with Wonder Woman’s first full appearance and it’s not until about an hour into the movie that we see her in her full glory. For me, it was well worth the wait and when the action does occur, it’s pretty damn phenomenal.
There are also the performances. In “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice”, Gadot was the best part of the movie. Here, she is just as fantastic and if there was anyone left out there that doubted her casting, then this film should put those doubts to rest.
In “BvS”, Wonder Woman was already an established and knowledgeable heroine. Here, Gadot has to play Diana as someone who is pretty much naive about the world outside Themyscira. Gadot plays to the inherent humor found in Diana’s situation but she never plays Diana as a dumb character which could have been an easy trap to fall into.
She also has great chemistry with Pine as Steve. Pine plays the hero that we’ve seen in other war movies, but Wonder Woman proves to be the truly inspirational character. Still, despite the love story that develops between the two, Steve does have to act as the character who teaches Diana how the world works but never talks down to her which is another trap that the writers could have easily fallen into.
If I have just one criticism for the movie, it is simply that it plays it safe in the superhero genre. It doesn’t add anything new and if you’re tired of superhero films, then this is not the film that will make you return. Beyond that minor complaint, though, I really enjoyed this film and I hope it is a sign of better things to come from the DCEU.
In short, “Wonder Woman” is an absolute blast!