Fresh from the theater. The DC Extended Universe finally has a shining beacon to base its future films on. Wonder Woman is that shining beacon of heroism, hope, inspiration and action that Man of Steel should have been. A shame they can’t re-work Justice League unless they’re willing to do more reshoots of the film, put some Joss Whedon flavor to it, add a little brightness and elements that made Wonder Woman so great. This is a spoiler-free review as we need to respect this work of art, considering the source.
After 75 years, we finally get a definitive Wonder Woman film. After several years, we finally get a good female-led superhero movie, and after several years, we finally have a great film from the DCEU. Just like the Russo Brothers who directed Captain America: Winter Soldier, director Patty Jenkins delivered a great film in a genre she’s not known for. If they keep this up in future films, us super-hero fans will all be happy campers. If director Joss Whedon keeps with his track record, we can expect Batgirl to be a good one as well, and Warner Brothers, as seeing an opportunity will most likely go ahead with that Harley Quinn film, Patty Jenkins style. Would there be a standalone Zatanna film? Would love to have that too.
The plot is fairly simple. We get introduced to Wonder Woman, and people familiar with her origins in the comics should be able to follow. Except here, instead of World War II, the setting is World War I which is just as equally brutal and highlights the loss of life and misery of the people suffering in that era. That makes the war more ambiguous as there are no truly evil Nazis in the mix. It emphasizes the warlike nature of men the Amazons isolated themselves from. US pilot Steve Trevor ends up on Themyscira and meets with our heroine. She gets involved in the war, saves the day in spectacular fashion and fights her big villain. Thought we’d spoil the whole thing eh? I’ll just drop a hint that there are some elements of Captain America: First Avenger in this film. There are also some cool Amazonian secrets about her that she’ll discover herself. Another hint is that this film reconciles her classic origin with that of the New 52.
Gal Gadot and Chris Pine
Gal Gadot is perfect as Wonder Woman. Have a feeling she’s been bulking up for the role as she seemed skinny in her first outing in Batman V Superman. It was a critique by some that she can hardly carry her costume. Skinny she may have been in Batman V Superman, she practically stole the film as I earlier mentioned in the BvS review. This time, she looks perfect for the role, and I mean that literally. There is a scene where she radiates the ‘it’ factor. Watch the film, you’ll feel it. Gal Gadot’s acting was great, and it’s apparent in the films first scenes and later on in the film. Chris Pine, given a new role with no shoes to fill was good in this film. He as Steve Trevor had a perfect chemistry going between them. Director Patty Jenkins and the screenwriters may have tailor-made this film for him. Sadly, Lebanon will be missing out on a great film.
The Action and Effects
This is a Warner Brothers 150 million-dollar film made for a heroine who has waited 75 years in getting. Imagine getting beaten to it by Catwoman. The wait was worth it and that 150 million along with its marketing budget is money well-spent. The effects were great, especially on the battle scenes. If you’ve seen the trailers with the Amazons, you’ll appreciate these scenes more completely, especially the one where Wonder Woman is fighting against the Germans in the trenches. We can let it pass that the great action scenes in the film were shown in the trailers as people weren’t expecting much from this DCEU entry, maybe even Warner Brothers themselves. Unlike other DC films like Man of Steel, Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad, the film finds reasons for the sets to be dark and dreary. London is in middle of the Industrial Revolution, and the warfront is just gray and devastated while Thrmiscyra is as bright as it should be since its other name is Paradise Island.
With no Nazis to focus on, the film really emphasizes the horrors of war and the nature of man. Wonder Woman has within her a naiveté born of her sheltered upbringing on Thermiscyra. She may be trained to battle but not of war’s consequences as she and the audience would experience several times during the film’s run. It’s rare that I get somewhat emotional in watching films. The last time was when I watched the last score in 2012’s Les Miserables. After this film, DC should expect an upsurge of readership for Wonder Woman comics.
This is a film that should be the basis for all DC films in the future. Except for Batman, DC’s founding heroes like Superman, Flash, Aquaman, Green Lantern and Shazam mostly symbolize heroism and hope. Not moody, whining, selfish and consumed with self-discovery that they forget that with great power comes great responsibility… wait, wrong franchise.
The DC Extended Universe finally has a shining beacon to base its future films on. Wonder Woman is that shining beacon of heroism, hope, inspiration and action that Man of Steel should have been.