Wonder Woman is a breath of fresh air in a line of previously underwhelming DC films.
Gal Gadot stars as the Amazon princess crafted by clay — her performance a triumphant achievement in portraying such an iconic character. Gadot brings both a strength and beauty to Princess Diana, who exhibits a relentless drive and desire to embrace her heroism rather than run from it.
The origin story hearkens to the original classic superhero films such as Christopher Reeve’s Superman, and also somewhat parallels Marvel’s Captain America with its World War focus. The story is not particularly unique, but its emphasis on providing a heroine who the “world of men do not deserve” is new in such a male-dominated genre.
The tale begins with Wonder Woman as young Princess Diana growing up on a peaceful island of only Amazon women who are adept at fighting and protecting their utopian community — a stark contrast to the way women are treated when Diana arrives in World War I London on a mission to stop the war.
Gadot does an excellent job of mixing worldly innocence with classic superhero charm and skill once arriving in London, with Chris Pine portraying her sidekick and love interest, Captain Steve Trevor. Pine and the rest of the cast do an admirable job, but their respective characters remain flat and stereotypical, one of the few weaknesses of the film.
Behind the camera is Patty Jenkins, who directs an atypical DC film focused on story, preferring to show the horror of war and fighting instead of its glorification. This is not to say that Wonder Woman’s fight scenes are not inspiring (because they are), but the film doesn’t lose sight of the fact that the legendary Princess Diana desired to solve war with love — “I will fight, for those who can not fight for themselves.”
Jenkins makes sure that accompanied young girls should be able to see the film, matching Princess Diana’s purity with strength and dignity.
Wonder Woman does tend to get a little muddy near the end, with its main fighting sequence reverting in typical DC fashion to the hero and villain throwing heavy objects in darkness at one another, but thankfully, this was not as long and unbearable as the never-ending main battle in DC’s Man of Steel.
Ultimately, Wonder Woman’s biggest triumph is that it’s unapologetically a worthy and successful female-driven vehicle in which all moviegoers will enjoy, setting a good precedent for “superheroine” films to come.
The ball is in your court, Marvel.
Photo courtesy of Warner Brothers Pictures