With their next installment into the ever-expanding DCEU, is the third of the trinity of heroes which after viewing resembles another film in the genre a little too much. It’s uncanny how much shot for shot Wonder Woman can be compared to Captain America: The First Avenger but the main difference with Wonder Womanis the leading hero and director are both females. Something that hasn’t happened in the genre on the big screen yet (there is the Wonder Woman show that aired in 1975 and starred Lynda Carter) is the approach of a non-white male actor in the leading role. It’s a big moment for the comic book genre and cinema as a whole. It took Hollywood long enough to realize hero’s aren’t all white males.
This isn’t the first time we are introduced to this iteration of Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) as she made her introduction in the slightly overstuffed Batman v Superman. What we also get a glimpse of in BVS besides her strength and ability to tackle beings from other worlds is the pulse pounding, blood pumping theme by Rupert Gregson-Williams. Few scores and themes define a comic book film and Wonder Woman joins that elite group.
In the small sample size that is the DCEU the three films that have come before having had a darker more severe tone to the films. Wonder Woman is significantly lighter in all aspects. The color palette pops more with a variety of colors and the banter is more comedic and lighthearted in some scenes. It’s almost as if the studio and filmmakers took notice of the outcry from fans about the tone Marvel uses in their expanded universe. The comedy doesn’t overpower the script but where it shows up fits in with that particular scene to somewhat ease the tension. It’s clearly a step in a different direction that lets the film appeal to a wider audience than it already does.
“The war to end all wars! Weapons far deadlier than you can imagine! Whoever you are, you are in more danger than you realize!”
Gal Gadot isn’t necessarily the strongest actress nor was she a lot of peoples first choice to play the demigoddess but if one thing is absolutely certain she is Wonder Woman. Gal embodies this character on screen and once you see her with the shield, lasso of truth and the comic accurate suit she is the perfect choice to play Diana Prince. Gal plays Diana with a sense of purity, wonder and excitement to her as she discovers the world (look at how Gal acts when she first discovers snow) and of course men especially Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), whom she rescues in the first act of the film.
Steve Trevor works in this film as the love interest but also as the side kick. He never once threatens Diana as the focal point of the group even though he sometimes he tries unluckily to tame her. He accepts this role and understands that Diana is clearly more powerful than he is and instead is utilized in a way that highlights his skill set and strengths. Chris and Gal have an inspiring chemistry together.
Diana is also extremely naïve as she’s been living a sheltered life on the secret island of Themyscira. Raised by her mother Hippolyta (Connie Neilsen) Diana wanted to become a warrior from an early age even seeking out her aunt Antiope (Robin Wright) to train her. Hippolyta is terrified of this idea because she’s keen to protect Diana’s innocence from being corrupted by the world of men. It’s a theme that is often portrayed in this genre but it’s also intelligent on Hippolyta’s part to understand she cannot protect Diana and that she can make her own decisions.
As much as Gal embodies Diana on screen, she is a real-life Wonder Woman. Being the first female led superhero, Gal is an instant role model. Globally – women of all ages can finally identify themselves with a superhero that looks like them. Screenwriter Allan Heinberg wrote Diana to be that strong independent woman and a true hero the world needs. Seeing Diana rise up out of the bunker and fight her way through “No Man’s Land” is nothing short of empowering. It’s one of the best scenes in the film from the acting and cinematography alone.
“I used to want to save the world, this beautiful place. But I knew so little then. It is a land of magic and wonder, worth cherishing in every way. But the closer you get the more you see the great darkness shimmering within. And mankind, mankind is another story altogether. What one does when faced with the truth is more difficult than you think. I learned this the hard way, a long, long time ago. And now I will never be the same.”
The use of the slow-motion effects during action sequences gives this film a different feeling than what we’ve gotten in the past. Each action sequence is crafted well to allow the use of the effect shine through while not feeling like it’s being overused.
Like many superhero origins that have come before this, Wonder Woman does a fantastic job of setting up the lore and mythology that comes with the story. Her origin states that she is crafted in clay and then brought to life by the magic of the gods. The film takes the inspiration from the new 52 line where Diana is a demigoddess born of Zeus and Hippolyta. Up until now, the general audience doesn’t know a thing about this lore and mythology (unless you’re reading the books).
The amount of time spent on Paradise Island is just enough (wish there was more time spent) to cure the itch of seeing something that has only been portrayed in books before. An island with no men inhabiting it – women are in positions of power, they’re teachers and doctors and warriors. It’s a true paradise that has no war, no hatred and bigotry. There is also no pollution or famine. Its special to behold especially as a man watching others who don’t look like me get excited to see something so spectacular. Themyscira is a beautiful place and the way it’s shot from cinematographer Matthew Jensen captures that beauty and mystery the island holds.
Wonder Woman is a near perfect film. Where the film fails is in its underdeveloped villain and the twist that comes with the revelation. The reveal doesn’t land the way its intended making Wonder Woman just another film with a poor villain. There are issues with the CGI in the third act, in fact the third act is the weakest of the film. All the momentum that was gained through the first 2/3 of the film is lost.
Overall, Wonder Woman is a step in the right direction for a confused DCEU who is trying to find its identity. Gal Gadot is an absolute star and powerhouse as the titular character and Chris Pine does a fantastic job understanding his character is the side kick. With beautiful imagery and cinematography, the film unfortunately is a triple instead of a home run – the third act and villain keep it from rounding home. If I were to rate Wonder Woman, I’d rate it a 4.4. out of 5.
So, tell me guys, have you seen Wonder Woman and if so, what do you think about it? Do you agree or disagree with me? Comment below or send me an email and let me know what you think.
Wonder Woman is directed by Patty Jenkins is Rated PG-13 and has a 93% on Rotten Tomatoes. Wonder Woman was released on June 2, 2017 and has a runtime of 2 hours and 29 minutes. Wonder Woman can be streamed on HBO Max or purchased on Retailers such as iTunes, Google, & Vudu.
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