Wonder Woman joins the DC Extended Universe with her own feature film, and it’s one that should please fans and DC skeptics alike.
Wonder Woman tells the origin story of Diana Prince (Gal Gadot); princess of the hidden Amazonian island of Themyscira. When the American spy Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) crash-lands his plane into the island’s surrounding waters, bringing with him a barrage of enemy forces, the warrior-women of Themyscira are forced to fight a deadly battle that ultimately results in Diana’s leaving the island with Steve, in order to help him fight in the horrible world war taking place in the outside world.
The film’s story is unfortunately one of its weaker points, as it’s nothing we haven’t seen before. That’s not to say it doesn’t work; the story is one that’s been tried and tested, however it would have been nice to see the filmmakers offer a more original take on the character’s origin story. The film delves into themes about the good and bad aspects of human nature, and whether or not humanity is worthy of survival, as seen from the perspective of a super-powered outsider. If that sounds familiar to you, then it’s because it was essentially the same theme covered in 2013’s Man of Steel, the film that kicked off DC Comics’ latest cinematic run. The parallels between that film and this one felt just a bit too close, slightly dampening the overall experience, however the addition of Greek mythology was a nice touch in Wonder Woman.
To fit the film’s mostly generic plot is a formulaic approach to its direction. Formula films are generally, and rightfully, frowned upon unless they hit the mark. Thankfully director Patty Jenkins hits the mark with Wonder Woman. For the most part, the film is engaging enough to keep you entertained throughout, featuring an equal blend of drama, humour and spectacular action. It may have been a few minutes too long in the end, however the film’s set pieces will make you forget about any tediousness that may have come before they arrive. Wonder Woman falls in line with DC’s other film’s visual styles, including the de-saturated colours and over-use of slow-motion in its battle scenes. That look and style makes for some gorgeous visuals (of which this film is full of), but is still mostly an acquired taste. Nevertheless it’s a welcome difference in comparison to that other company’s brand of superhero films.
Being the first female-led superhero film of the modern era, Wonder Woman and its star Gal Gadot have a lot resting on their shoulders. In that regard it’s fair to say Gadot has now officially paved the way for studios and filmmakers to confidently green-light many more female-led superhero adaptations, as she single-handedly takes this film into uncharted waters and manages to find gold. Gadot was born to play Wonder Woman and her excellent performance shows it. The natural chemistry between Chris Pine’s Steve Trevor and Wonder Woman make for a great complimentary on-screen duo, and a quirky cast of likeable supporting characters from the real-world’s end, and the fierce troupe of Amazonian warrior-women round out an overall impressive cast, in both actor selection and performances. The only downside; the archetypal villains.
Because we haven’t seen a tentpole superhero blockbuster led by a female protagonist before this, Wonder Woman feels fresh. Its mostly unoriginal plot and some questionable visual effects add a bit of staleness to that freshness, but its gorgeous visuals, great casting, characters, performances and entertainment value send it back to fresh-mode – it’s a balancing act after all, and the scales are more in favour of an entertaining experience here. Wonder Woman will break more barriers than any other DC film that’s come before it, and likely any other comic book film that’s come before it, and that is a very prestigious attribute for a film to attain these days.
Gal Gadot was a part of re-shoots for the movie (including stunts) while being 5 months pregnant. Her baby bump was visible, so the crew created a costume which had a green screen around her belly, which was later removed during post-production.