It’s been a rough trot for DC on the movie front; the lukewarm reception of Batman V Superman raised the hammer and Suicide Squad seemingly nailed Warner Bros into a neat little coffin. Thanks to critics/stupid-as-hell studios it’s easy to get jaded, or lose hope altogether. Naturally this has left Wonder Woman with an awful lot of folks looking to her with an awful lot of problems. Some seek a strong, empowered female superhero, others a glimmer of hope in the dark, depressing tunnel that is DC’s new cinematic universe. For others, they just hoped that Wonder Woman would be a good movie. Well I am *very* *extremely* *incredibly* relieved and happy to say that Wonder Woman has heard all your prayers, and has answered every single one in what is the best DC film since The Dark Knight.
In the words of our saviour, The Rock…
Wonder Woman is directed by Patty Jenkins (Monster) and stars Gal Gadot (Batman v Superman) as Wonder Woman and Chris Pine (Star Trek) as Steve Trevor. Oh and Remus Lupin is also in this film, so there you go. Wonder Woman tells the story of Princess Diana of Themyscira (her magical home island) and how she grew to become the ass-kicking, show-stealingly *wonderful* heroine we know and love. And if you didn’t love her before, you’re bound to now. After Steve Trevor (Pine) crash lands and says ‘hey yo, there’s a war on’, he and Wonderbread quickly embark on a mission to end the war in the name of justice and humanity and lo and behold we have Wonder Woman. Sounds like a pretty by-the-numbers plot, no? Well I can tell you right now that you’ve likely not seen a superhero movie yet that has as much passion or humanity about it as Wonder Woman does.
“Hey hun, I may have fought Bane for my last girlfriend so…is Superman gonna be a problem for this…thang?”
Let me get this right out of the way: I am a huge Wonder Woman fan and this movie did bring me to the verge of fandom tears with how satisfying it was to see such a beloved character done justice (hehe) on screen at last. That said, if this was hot garbage-to-passable, I’d let you know. That said…ohmygod you guyz, you guyz, you guyz. Ohmygod. This is the answer. First of all if you came here for action let me say this much; while not an action extravaganza, when Wonder Woman kicks into high gear she Sparta kicks you right off a cliff. This is solid work here, guys. If you wanted to see frenetic combat, you’ve got it. If you want artful slow/fast-mo, you got it. If you want to see Wonder Woman whip out that lasso of truth and wreck house, oh boy do you got it. This might not be an out-and-out action flick, but the set pieces here are undeniably exciting. Speaking of exciting; dat theme song tho. In case you’re not aware, Wonder Woman has the most badass superhero theme of all time, and the rest of the score of Wonder Woman was suitably awesome. Ranging from soft to all out action, the music here is stellar and shows what cinematic craft really is when music and video is married properly.
“Heyyyyy that was my favourite gun!”
Can we all just take a moment to appreciate how Gal Gadot is just perfect as Wonder Woman? Because ma gawd, if ever there was an actress made for a superhero role it is Gadot as Diana Prince. Both immensely empowered and simultaneously vulnerable, Gal Gadot carries Wonder Woman so well that I think we’ve conclusively found our DC Downey Jr.. Sorry Batffleck, you know I love you. What’s great about Diana’s story in Wonder Woman is the naivety and sense of duty that she displays, which is so refreshing for a character that could’ve easily been given ‘vanilla good guy’ training wheels. However Chris Pine is Gadot’s equal in every way here; turning in a top performance as spy – and classic love interest – Steve Trevor. Pine proves again that given the right role he’s effortlessly charismatic and shows top-notch comedic timing and knockout chemistry with Gal Gadot. Supporting cast here is good too; including Robin Wright in a particularly kickass role. The only real stumbling block of Wonder Woman comes in the form of its antagonist(s) – which do come off a little bland until we get into spoiler territory – where I assure you things straighten up again. This is fairly forgivable given they aren’t the focus of the story being told here, though there is one use of what I’ll call ‘huffing paint thinner’ by one ‘bad guy’ that I thought came off as just plain silly. You silly goat, you.
Wonder Woman takes disguise advice from Superman, obviously.
Another wondrous surprise here is the very ‘classic movie’ feeling Wonder Woman has about it. Not all the time, but it’s unmistakably there through both top notch directing and cinematography. While set in World War 1, Wonder Woman does a terrific job of being lighter in tone than the previous three DC films, while remaining a serious story about the humanity and hardships of war. But war story aside, we’ve got ol’ fashioned architecture and horseback riding (echoing classics like Quo Vadis and Cleopatra) and the real ‘classic’ sweet spot of Wonder Woman: its almost ‘Casablanca-esque’ romantic undertones. Call me crazy but what a vintage Hollywood romance vibe we’ve got going on here, and some serious Titanic vibes too. It’s so natural and earnest, and doesn’t feel forced at all. This is such a welcomed surprise that kinda puts Supes/Lois Lane on notice. Couples goals? Pffft. Martha plez. The classic vibes don’t stop there though as we get strong influences from the Christopher Reeves’ Superman films as well (which Patty Jenkins has admitted to being inspired by), which only further enhance Wonder Woman’s image as a truly heroic role model for everyone.
“This is the worst security cage I’ve ever seen. It’s almost like they want me to take this sword.”
Wonder Woman ran the risk of being pigeonholed in the ‘girl power’ movie slot alongside Legally Blonde, but avoided this by being a whole lot smarter.
First of all, we’re given Wonder Woman not as a woman, or even as a commentary on gender at all, but as a person. So simple, but you’d be amazed how long it took for anyone to realise that this is the portrayal feminism actually needed. Wonder Woman is indeed a smart, charming, daring and independent woman but she is never defined by the ‘woman’ part of her title. She’s just a damn good person. Oh it’s so good.
Instead Wonder Woman takes a run at a theme that really touched me – humanity. This is a film led by heroes that embody hope, courage and true heroism in its purest form. Notice I said heroes, that’s because while Wonder Woman is indeed holding up one end of this bridge, Steve Trevor and his rag-tag war buddies are holding the other end. This was great; a superhero film which shows that heroism doesn’t take godlike power, it comes from the heart, and from just doing the right thing for others. Something the world could use more of.
This also taps into the fact that while it’s unmistakably Wonder Woman’s film, her growth, ideology and drive are all intricately linked to Steve Trevor and visa versa. So we get two heroes for the price of one!
Okay you guys, Wonder Woman is the bomb diggity. For DC loyalist and casual fans alike this was the light at the end of the tunnel we‘ve been waiting for. For anyone looking for a solid superhero film go check out Wonder Woman, you will not be disappointed. A great standalone film that tells a solid story with real heart and terrific action sequences. Solid, solid, solid. Did I say solid enough? This is the push DC so desperately needed- and deserved- to get them on their way to greatness. My friends, the wait is over. Wonder Woman is here and we can all breathe a sigh of relief, for the DCEU is saved at last.
Dun. Dun. DUNNNN.
Wicked Cool rating: 90/100
Wonder Woman scores a positively wonderful A. I can’t tell you how happy I am to say that. Is this a dream?
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