Superhero movies aren’t exactly a rarity these days, but good ones certainly are. Thankfully, Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman ticks all the boxes.
Thoughtful, important, empowering, and electric are just a few words I’d use to describe the highly anticipated blockbuster, but above all, genius comes to mind. Jenkins has delivered a poignant and powerful superhero origin story that takes one of the most celebrated feminist icons in comic book history, and reintroduces her to modern audiences.
Far and away from the self-assured, slick Diana Prince we met in Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, here Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman is an enduringly naive and hopeful warrior who longs to discover her true destiny. And that she does.
The film opens with Diana’s life the island of Themyscira, where she has a sheltered life despite being trained from a young age to prepare for war. After Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) crashes near the island, Diana makes a decision to help man in their fight for good, despite warnings from her overly-cautious but well meaning mother Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen).
Fans won’t have to wait long for some serious action in Wonder Woman, and there are plenty of brilliant scenes of the Amazons in training with Robin Wright’s General Antiope. Wright is a real stand out during the early parts of the film, and is such a formidable presence on the big screen it bewilders me that she isn’t cast in more action films. She’s never looked better, especially during the beach battle scene where she puts all her training to good use.
Speaking of action, Jenkins has not been frugal with these scenes, dropping them in at just the right moments and never just for showmanship. From the aforementioned beach war scene to the final battle, every action-packed moment adds something more than simple excitement. They build on the story in a big way, and we’re always learning more about Diana during these moments.
I can’t go on much longer without discussing Gal Gadot, who does a stellar job as Diana/Wonder Woman. Whether playing up Diana’s naive side, standing strong in the thick of battle, or nailing those all-important comedic moments, Gadot is nothing short of a revelation.
As Steve Trevor, the first man Diana ever meets, Chris Pine is remarkably funny and heroic. His chemistry with Gadot is powerful, and it’s the friendship and love their characters build that makes the final scenes really click. Speaking of Trevor, the man himself is nothing without the great woman behind him, and that’s Lucy Davis’ Etta Candy, the hilarious secretary fans have already met in the trailers. In the few moments she’s on screen, Davis really runs with the script, providing many of the film’s laughs.
After a few false starts, the DCEU is back on track and looking more promising than ever. Jenkins has steered the ship towards safe passage and created a masterpiece of the superhero genre, while Gadot has proven beyond reasonable doubt that she’s a force to be reckoned with.
The world has waited a long time for a live-action Wonder Woman film, and now we have a great one. Enjoy.
Image: Roadshow Films