Wonder Woman Movie Review (Spoiler Free)
After the events of Batman v Superman, Diana retires to modern-day Paris. Though Bruce quickly tracks her down, with an item that triggers a memory long gone by.
Genre: Action / Adventure / Fantasy
Director: Patty Jenkins
Cast: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, Said Taghmaoui, Ewen Bremner, Eugene Brave Rock & Connie Nielsen
Run Time: 141 min.
US Release: 02 June 2017
UK Release: 01 June 2017
German Release: 15 June 2017
Following the more than disappointing Suicide Squad, is DC’s next project in its extended universe, directed by Patty Jenkins. The trailers looked promising, yet so did the previous franchise’s flicks and most of them were simply okay at best. Well, it so happens that Wonder Woman is the first feature, since Man of Steel, in this interconnected universe that can be called good again! I left the theatre with a heavy load lifted from my back, as I was satisfied with what I had experienced. Well… almost, because I have some issues with it.
Diana, princess of the Amazons, was trained to be an unconquerable warrior, raised on a sheltered island paradise. When a pilot crashes on their shores, telling them of a massive conflict raging in the world, Diana leaves her home, convinced she can stop the threat. Fighting alongside Steve, Diana will discover her full powers and true destiny.
The plot picks up Diana’s story where it ended in Batman v Superman, weaving perfectly into this connective movie universe. Reminiscent of Marvel’s Captain America, it then jumps back in time, to an unspecific period on the island of Themyscira, where the audience learns more about Diana’s heritage plus culture, which helps to form an emotional bond with the character. Jumping ahead in time, to 1918, Steve Trevor crashlands on the island, informing the Amazons of the Great War, raging over Europe. Convinced that it is the doing of Ares, the greek god of war, Diana leaves with Steve to end the war and bring peace. This is where the narrative really comes together, as the dynamic changes, turning Diana into a “fish out of water”, allowing for some well-placed comedy.
The plot is not free of problems, though. One of the biggest ones is mistaking World War I Germany, with Nazy Germany! It just seems like the writers took examples from Wonder Woman stories that played during the second world war, and lazily changed the setting to the Great War, without modifying the parties that were at war. Being half-german myself, It was somewhat offensive to see the Germans of that era being portrayed as radically evil. Also, let’s not forget first engaged in chemical warfare!
The dialogues contain a good amount of quips, specifically when it comes to Diana learning about the modern world. One of the better jests came as a response from Steve when asking Diana who her father is.
That said, the explanation that the Amazons can speak every language is of no use here, as they retreated to the island thousands of years ago, leaving the world and its issues behind. As a modern language, English could not have been spoken by the warrior women. However, it is a smaller nitpick that can be easily overlooked, for the sake of its comic-book heritage!
Gal Gadot as Diana Prince, a.k.a Wonder Woman, is the perfect cast for the role. Not only is she tall, physically fit and looks the part, but she also has some combat experience, having served in the Israelian army. Her charisma plus friendly demeanour are perfect for the persona of Wonder Woman. She gives as well good emotional performances, during heavier, traumatic scenes. Best, though, is the chemistry between Pine and Gadot. Her portrayal is that of a strong woman, standing up for what she believes is right!
Chris Pine plays Steve Trevor, a World War I pilot, as well as a liaison spy for the United Kingdom. Pine gave a good rendition of the human nature of men, specifically at times of conflict. Steve tries to explain to the Amazonian princess, that humans have both - light and darkness inside of them. It is what they choose to follow that defines them. Pine was very funny in a subtle way, playing off well from Gadot. Steve himself is a true hero, always going into battle with Diana, even though he has no powers himself.
Danny Huston and Elena Anya as the villainous duo Errich Ludendorf and Dr. Isabel Maru better known as Dr. Poison, are one-dimensional villains with their motives not explored at all. Ludendorf was taken from actual World War I archives, yet his background was never explained. Meanwhile, Dr. Isabel Maru is a fictional persona taken from DC comics.
Robin Wright and Connie Nielsen as the Amazon warrior Antiope and her sister, queen of the Amazons Hippolyta respectively, rounded off the cast nicely, giving the warrior women more gravitas.
Cinematographically, Wonder Woman leans heavily on the looks of Richard Donner’s Superman - The Movie, especially once it switches from the scenery of Themyscira to the world of men. The Amazon island flourishes on screen, with strong, vibrant colours, while the real world contrasts it with a bleak, grey-scaled look that perfectly reflects the horror of the First World War. Effect-wise, this superhero blockbuster impresses with slow-motion action scenes, in which the main character’s movements are sped-up to showcase her powers and it works terrific! On the other hand, the final battle in the third act is a CGI mess!
The score is composed by Rupert Gregson-Williams, who mixed epic greek sounding melodies, with fantastic brass tones that packed an “oomph”. Additionally, Wonder Woman’s theme from Batman V Superman was integrated into the soundtrack, by Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL, pushing for that superhero feel.
Verdict: Petty Jenkins directed the hell out of this DCEU entity! Taking on Richard Donner’s plot template for Superman and framing it around the character of Diana, it paid tribute to the Man of Steel’s first cinematic outing, while telling a compelling fish-out-of-water story. It contains good-enough comedy that makes it cute, but it is never overbearing. The narrative issue I have is with the portrayals of the Germans. It seems they are confusing WWI with WWII. Cinematographically, it is a beautiful-looking picture. Themyscira is brimming with colours, while the world of men switches it up with a more unsaturated colour palette, though the end fight is a messy CGI let-down. Wonder Woman obtains an 8.0 out of 10.
Have you seen this film yet? Do you agree with my assessment? Let me know what you thought and thank you for reading!