Wonder Woman Review: The DC Hero We Deserve
Well, after several misfires, the DCEU has finally given us fans the film we have been waiting for. Yes, Wonder Woman is not only the best DC movie so far; it’s actually one of the best superhero films in recent memory. Wonder Woman is an origin story at its surface. However, the film’s director Patty Jenkins has crafted is both gorgeous and believable, despite the extraordinary nature of the story.
Before she was Wonder Woman, she was Diana, Princess of the Amazons (Gal Gadot), trained to be an unconquerable warrior. Raised on a sheltered island paradise, when an American pilot (Chris Pine) crashes on their shores and tells of a massive conflict raging in the outside world, Diana leaves her home, convinced she can stop the threat. Fighting alongside a man in a war to end all wars, Diana will discover her full powers and her true destiny.
When Gal Gadot was officially cast as the iconic Wonder Woman, there more than a few eyebrows were raised. Gadot was a relative unknown to the acting world, having worked mostly as a model who lacked the physicality of what one would call a superhero. When Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice came out in March 2016, Gadot proved to be not only the best part of that movie but the shining light in the DCEU that was heavily missing. Gadot is absolutely spectacular as Diana Prince, encapsulating all that is good, with the need to save mankind etched in her bones.
She carries the film gracefully, with the right amount of heroism, wit, and undeniable likability to carry this film and hopefully much more for as long as she is capable of playing this role. She may be a goddess, but she has all of the characteristics of a human that make her without question one of the most relatable superheroes to ever be put on the silver screen. Gadot inhabits the role not only emotionally but also physically, making every action scene she is part of full of intensity and charm.
Chris Pine’s Steve Trevor is also a standout, adding another layer of excellent comedic timing while also being an emotional weight for Diana. It could have been very easy to cast Pine as the cliché love interest or good-looking comic relief. I am delighted to say that this isn’t the case, as Steve Trevor’s chemistry with Wonder Woman is endearing, so much so that it may even bring a few tears to your eyes.
The locations were also a treat. The WWI setting and the way the superhuman elements are interwoven into a real-life story were creative and visually striking. The film’s opening action set piece takes place on Wonder Woman’s island home of Themyscira. The cinematography is superb as the Amazonian Warriors go into battle. The use of slow motion works to the advantage of these particular action set pieces. It’s done with style, while also being a justifiable tool to showcase how brilliant these Warriors are in battle.
The villain of the film actually surprised me quite a bit. Without getting into spoilers, I didn’t see the “twist” coming, and the inevitable climactic scene was just two people fighting for what they believe in, but my God, was it beautiful. Sure, there are some cliché “bad guy moments” mixed with a few “been there, done that” tropes. The difference with Wonder Woman as a film, though, is that you actually care about the outcome and well-being of the characters in jeopardy.
Multiple times during Wonder Woman, I experienced a feeling that has been all but lost in the redundant superhero genre of today’s cinema. That feeling is (yes) hope. When Diana Prince marched into battle, saying who she was and what she believed, it gave me goosebumps several times throughout the 140-minute run time. I found myself incredibly involved in her story, her quest, and her evolution as a character.
My only fear is that in the hands of other writers or directors, this character will be devoid of the bravery that is so much a part of her that it oozes off the screen. However, in this iteration, Patty Jenkins has crafted an inspiring, emotional, and exciting tale of one Diana Prince. Gal Gadot is Wonder Woman through and through, and not only is this the first female superhero to get her own standalone movie; it may be the best one to ever grace the screen. “I am Diana of Themyscira, daughter of Hippolyta. In the name of all that is good, your wrath upon this world is over.”
Wonder Woman opens on June 2nd, 2017