“Power. Grace. Wisdom. Wonder.”
"Before she was Wonder Woman, she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, trained trained to be an unconquerable warrior. Raised on a sheltered island paradise, when an American pilot crashes on their shores and tells of a massive conflict raging in the outside world, she leaves home to fight a war to end all wars, discovering her full powers... and true destiny."
If you’ve been waiting for a “good” DCEU film…
If you’ve been waiting for a live action Wonder Woman movie…
If you’ve been waiting for a stand-alone female superhero movie…
This is it.
In the world of DC Comics, there are the Trinity of superheroes-Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman.
There have been seven theatrical films of Superman.
There have been nine theatrical films of Batman.
This is the first theatrical Wonder Woman movie.
And it’s about time.
With a tenuous connection to BATMAN Vs SUPERMAN-DAWN OF JUSTICE, this movie is first and foremost, front and center all about Princess Diana becoming Wonder Woman.
Director Patty Jenkins wastes no time bringing us to Themyscaria, the home of the Amazons. This world is bright and hopeful, the beginning influence on Diana. It is also a positive reflection of the darkness of a world at war in the outside world. It is a strong reflection of what Diana is dealing with in her.
Gal Gadot gives a strong performance as Diana. There is an earnestness and naiveté in her, which is brought into conflict when she says what Man does in war. It is not an easy thing to pull off, not without it coming off as cloying and false. I didn’t see that with her one bit. By the end of this movie, she OWNS this part.
Diana in Paris as a "fish out of water", is both fun and brief, though her time with Lucy Punch's Etta could have been a little longer. It also gave the opportunity to see the differences between Amazons fighting wars and the world of Man does. The banality of war and the way soldiers are sacrificed is never a topic that isn't important to our world, sadly.
Her first appearance fully as Wonder Woman (no one refers to her as that in the movie) we are familiar with, during her first taste of the war is someone unable to look away from injustice. She acts not out of rage or anger, as much as shock of seeing what is allowed to be normal. A righteous indignation - one that she cannot let stand. This sequence is one that I didn’t know I had been waiting to see in a film, especially as a comic book fan. It is everything about what Diana stands for, as well as what she will not let stand.
Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) and his soldiers give an opportunity for Diana to connect, again, in ways I hadn’t expected. They see her as just a woman, a “princess”; she sees them as not having honor, by taking money and their outward brashness. The revelation of who they all are, in the midst of combat, is a classic film trope. But I don’t think I’d seen it done in such a way. They do find mutual respect as warriors. But the connection between them is not as much camaraderie, as it is genuine affection.
With all the action set pieces, even the standard “Big Boss” battle, there was always an underlying connection to who Diana is and what she’s learning about herself. This isn’t just about giving spectacle or pushing the story. There is an emotional context. Something I think that is lacking in many action & superhero films.
It isn’t a perfect film. There are some over reliance on CG in some of the battle sequences, especially the Big Boss. There’s a lot of slo-mo use as well during the fight scenes, though I think that’s more in lines of making it “fit” into other DC movies (Looking at you, Zack Snyder). I would’ve liked more time with Steve’s team (though this IS Diana’s movie). The romantic relationship with Steve Trevor feels a bit forced - and pointless.
But overall, WONDER WOMAN is a strong film, a great superhero film, and an excellent foundation for the character. I look forward to seeing the continued adventures of Wonder Woman… and more female superhero movies.
NOTE: There are no post-credits scenes.