Release Date: June 2, 2017
Cast: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, Connie Nielsen, Elena Anaya
Director: Patty Jenkins
Studio: DC Films
Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures
Genre: Superhero, Action
No delay here. Wonder Woman is the best DC movie the folks at Warner Bros. have put out. Hell, it’s up there in the top superhero movies period. And I couldn’t be more pleased.
Director Patty Jenkins brought us the salvation of the DCEU with her take on Wonder Woman. Set, thankfully, before the convoluted mess of the current era, this flick shows us just what a somewhat restrained, self-contained movie with a talented (and diverse) crew can put together. Is that asking too much? It sure seems like it.
Anyways, the movie takes us back to the first World War, the war to end all wars (for roughly 30 years), as Diana of Themyscira leaves her Amazonian paradise to follow her beliefs and fight Ares, the God of War, who is bringing about the destruction of all man.
Without getting into too much detail, I’ll name the things that this movie really nails. The opening with child Diana is surprisingly well done. We’ve seen the kid versions of the other of DC’s big three and they were certainly less charming than the little Amazonian princess. All of the opening section of the Amazons does an exceptionally rad job of depicting warrior women with a unique fighting style.
Wonder Woman has an arc! Her character progresses! The action and fight choreography looks cool and has a smaller scale. Gal Gadot is punching soldiers, not alien spacecrafts. She is leaping into buildings, not across the sky. For a movie set in one of the most catastrophic events in history, they keep the scale small and the movie is so much better for it.
Wonder Woman avoids almost all the common traps that superhero movies have fallen into lately. There isn’t a climax set against a world ending laser into the ground! The ‘twists’ or ‘reveals’ if you even want to call them that are not particularly hard to spot coming and, while that might be a problem, the movie at least has the decency not to pretend they pulled one over on the audience. While it may seem like so much of the praise for Wonder Woman is really about what it doesn’t do, I feel that is entirely fair in a genre, especially in DC’s case, when they are so devoted to following the footsteps of what came before.
It shouldn’t even need to be said but the restraint shown by Warner Bros. by not once having a male gaze on our female hero is an accomplishment. Wonder Woman is the gorgeous Gal Gadot and she’s running around in a bustier and skirt, it would be easy to linger the lens and the viewer’s eye but it never happens. Thanks to Patty Jenkins for that no doubt (after having seen this I am now really interested in what her Thor 2 would have been like).
The Wonder Woman we get is capable, headstrong, intelligent – though not always correct, and naive, inexperienced but eager. She gets excited at the sight of a baby, not because she’s a weird stereotype, but because it is, to her Amazonian brain, novel. Wonder Woman is complex and a rich character to examine, the shining beacon of hope in the otherwise all too grey mess of the DCEU.