I never knew how much I needed a movie like “Wonder Woman” until I watched it.
“Wonder Woman,” directed by Patty Jenkins and starring Gal Gadot, is the first film to star the titular character and the next entry of the DC Comics Cinematic Universe, following “Man of Steel,” “Batman v. Superman” and “Suicide Squad.” With the quality of these previous films ranging from awful to OK, I was skeptical at how much I was going to enjoy “Wonder Woman.” However, I could not be happier to have been proven wrong.
“Wonder Woman” is an absolute joy to watch. To actually witness a woman leading a great modern superhero film is truly a sight to see. Gal Gadot brings phenomenal versatility to the role, being simultaneously strong yet compassionate, intelligent yet innocent and overall a well-rounded protagonist that I’m sure anyone could find something to personally relate to.
Like its protagonist, “Wonder Woman” is both stylishly sleek and powerfully efficient. Director Patty Jenkins, best known for directing the critically acclaimed Aileen Wuornos biopic “Monster,” shines once again for a movie that is beautifully put together in a way that no other DC Comics movie has come close to. While other DC films received criticism for their dark and drab color palettes, Jenkins’s entry is bright and colorful. The opening scenes that take place on the fictional island of Themyscira are breathtaking with bright sunlight engulfing sweeping green fields and cascading waterfalls. When the story shifts to World War I-era London, Jenkins contrasts the Amazonian paradise with the anxiety and hysteria of the real world at the time.
Jenkins deftly blends conventions from different film genres to craft a creation that is entirely her own – a war movie with Greek gods, light humor and some romance, focused on one woman proving that she is a superhero.
One of the film’s highlights is when Wonder Woman defies orders and charges headfirst into the no man’s land of the Western Front in Belgium to push Allied troops forward and save a city of innocent civilians on the other side. Wonder Woman stands her ground with shield in hand and deflects heavy machine gun fire, giving her male troops the opportunity and courage to charge from the trenches and defeat the German forces there, saving the townspeople that she was previously told were doomed.
“Wonder Woman” feels like a film from a different time for being simplistic in the best way possible. I was never bored throughout the entire viewing, and it felt like every scene truly had purpose. The action scenes are so much fun to watch, complete with interspersed slow motion so that the audience can just appreciate the choreography. The music, unlike several modern superhero movies, actually complements each scene of the movie and is memorable. And the villains are so stereotypically “evil wartime German” that one can’t help but chuckle at their diabolical scheming.
It feels like “Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark,” being some parts action-packed, some parts silly and all fun to watch from beginning to end.
However, with this simple quality of the film come a few problems. At a few points, the script comes off as rather cheesy, interspersed throughout the beginning, some of the middle and especially the ending. Some viewers might be more sympathetic to this aspect, particularly if they are fans of the ’80s/’90s adventure movies this film hearkens back to, but others may be left groaning at the film’s conclusion.
At certain points, the film also seems more focused on Wonder Woman’s love interest Steve Trevor, played by Chris Pine, who often drives the plot forward while having to deal with her occasionally childish behavior brought about from her lack of knowledge of the world outside Themyscira.
Nevertheless, “Wonder Woman” is a wonderful film that serves as an important milestone for current superhero films. Let’s hope it serves as a hopeful sign of things to come not only for DC Comics films, but also for more fresh and different takes on the superhero genre.