Wonder Woman film review
Diana Prince/Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) if you recall, basically stole the show in last year’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice film. And because she had such strong presence on screen and even stronger impact on the audience, this superhero got her solo installment in 2017. Patty Jenkins’s Wonder Woman, (the story about the Amazonian immortal warrior) is a basic origin story that somehow is flawed but strikingly decent and enjoyable movie made from DC Comics. One might say that is the best from the DC Extended Universe, but let’s dissect the film even more and find out its strengths and flaws. Shall we?
At the beginning of WW, Diana Pirnce lives a idyllic sheltered life on the isolated island of Themyscira, and since her early childhood, she’s been trained to be a fearless warrior by her aunt General Antiope (Robin Wright). Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen) the Amazon queen and Diana’s mother opposes the training, but reluctantly aggress after her daughter’s pleas. Diana grows to be one of the most promising and fearless warriors on female populated island, but her life is forever changed when an American soldier/spy Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) crashes his airplane near Themyscira. With his arrival , Diana will find out about the „Great war“ that is being fought in Europe, and soon will join Steve on a mission to kill Ares (David Thewlis), the god of war that corrupted mankind and is responsible for the war itself. Steve Trevor and his team on the other hand are on a mission to kill the ruthless General Erich Ludendorff (Danny Huston) and the mad scientist Doctor Isabel Maru (Elena Anaya). The mission will be much harder than expected for everyone.
Wonder Woman is much needed improvement from DC Extended Universe. Finely directed with style and feminist touch by Patty Jenkins, and while hardy a master piece, it’s a refreshing change in DC’s film production both on character development and the restrained and surprisingly subtle usage of special effects and elaborate set peaces. Gal Gadot is the strong minded and fearless character that we’ve grown to love and admire and her action scenes albeit heavy on slow motion, are short and effective for the most part. But what most dominant and quite frankly endearing (more than her physical stamina) is her charming almost childlike naiveté. Just pay attention to the scene in which Diana and Steve on they way to the Belgian front, stop abruptly so she can enjoy a cone of ice cream. The joy and tenderness in that particular scene is touching on so many levels. And in her mindset (revenge and murder of Ares) you will find a tension caused by Steve’s the very different agenda for participation in the war. Sure they have different paths and mission, but are united for the greater good. End of the war and defeating the evil.
The humor comes from Diana’s lack of understanding the etiquette and social norms of 1910’s England (it’s briefly mentioned that women are still not allowed to vote) and the natural whit, charm and general awesomeness from Trevor’s perky and loyal secretary Etta Candy (Lucy Davis). Miss Davis is extraordinary in the little screen time she’s been given by the scriptwriter Allan Heinberg, and she manages to be captivating and unforgettable with humor and grace. Remember there are no small parts. Only small actors.
And while while Connie Nilsen and Robin Wright are also brilliant, they are sadly criminally underused here. The duo of actresses are present mainly in the first act, while three male members of Steve Trevor’s team are the comedic presence in the last act of WW. The all too long stretched third part mainly dominated with heavy use of CGI. Of course I’m talking about Charlie (Ewen Bremner) the heavy-drinking Scottish sharpshooter, Chief (Eugene Brave Rock) an opportunist/reluctant war profiteer and Sameer (Saïd Taghmaoui), secret agent who is also a master of disguise. The trio while not always at the top of their game is loyal to Steve, but most importantly the characters are accurate in depicting all the horrors of war. War profiteering, killing and PTSD which for instance can all be seen on the face of the tired and worn down Charlie in almost every scene.
But I wanna talk about one actor in particular who, is a true revelation in Wonder Woman. I’m talking of course about the wonderful and talented Chris Pine. The actor made this character (Steve Trevor) almost his sarcastic/humorous alter ego and brought to the role a perfect mix of confusion, tenderness, charm, and comedic repartee that sets the balance between him and Gadot’s serious and somewhat naive Diana. While her conflict is between what she’s been taught by her mother and what she sees in the real world, his conflict lies in his morals set by his late father and his professional duty as a spy.
In the end, Wonder Woman is a welcomed improvement from DC Extended Universe in regards to style and substance. Sends a strong feminist messages, and has a strong female hero to deliver those messages. Still lacking a proper villain (although here we have three of them), stop and go in the pacing, about 30 minutes too long and with underused characters.
However it’s worth the watch though… So worth the watch.