The last time a female superhero starred in a movie was 2005, and that was Elektra… Am I nervous? Yes… Am I excited to see Gal Gadot though? Hell yeah!
Female superhero movies have not been kind to us. The last one, Jennifer Garner’s Elektra, was in 2005 and has been one of the worst Marvel movies ever. A year before that, we had Halle Berry’s Catwoman, which was one of the worst DC movies ever. So despite the announcement of a film about THE ultimate superheroine, I was hesitant.
Directed by Patty Jenkins and starring Gal Gadot, the film centers around Diana (Gadot), princess of Themiscyra, a hidden island populated by Amazons and led by Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen). After saving American pilot Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) from crash landing, she gets exposed to the bloody reality of World War I. Thinking that Ares, the God of War, is behind all of this, Diana leads Trevor back to London and hunts Ares, whose death would stop all the hate and fear of the Great War…she believes.
Gal Gadot delivers as Princess Diana. Just one look at her and you’ll agree that she is truly a princess. Her portrayal in this film is much more naive and innocent compared to her previous portrayal. This is totally different from her firm and worn-out character in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Once the action starts, she reminds us how we liked every second of her in BvS. It is very obvious, however, that she still needs to train her acting skills. There were key emotional moments in the film which did not hit its mark because she can’t deliver the emotions.
The film is so different in style compared to the other three DCEU films. The humor is much more natural. It does not feel forced (Suicide Squad) or too out of place (BvS). Much of the humor is provided by Chris Pine and Lucy Davis, who portrays Trevor’s secretary Etta Candy. The shots are definitely more colorful than the other films. One look at Themiscyra and you will agree that it is indeed a Paradise Island.
I also love how they revealed Wonder Woman’s costume. They teased the costume multiple times, but when it was time to show it…BOOM! I was actually trying to reach out to Gal Gadot… It feels like the time I watched 2014 Godzilla.
The action pieces were also amazing to watch. There were three big action sequences and a few smaller ones scattered around the film. It felt raw, powerful, yet graceful at the same time. However, it has too much slow-mo. It came to the point that I was reminded of 2014 The Legend of Hercules, a movie with horrible and lazy use of slow-mo.
I also like the easter eggs and shoutout to past DC films/properties. My personal favorite was the 1978 Superman reference.
Though a lot of people I know (and reviews I read) do not like the last part where it centered on love (as a theme), I personally like it. In fact, I cried when Wonder Woman had a short speech on how love is the only cure for the problems of mankind. It is a heartwarming callback to creator William Moulton Marston’s original idea for the character. After playing a lot of Injustice and Injustice 2, it is such a pleasure to see a loving Diana again.
However, much like the three DCEU films that preceded it, this film still has a problem regarding pacing. If the MCU has a problem with its villains and, as of late, overuse of its humor, DCEU seems to have a problem with its pacing. I understand it is an origin story, but some scenes could have been cut short (not removed, to be clear). The film could have been 20 minutes shorter.
Also, though I said it was an MCU problem, the antagonists of the film is too underdeveloped. Screen time is at a low for the bad guys. Thus, it gave us little to nothing to understand their motivation. We simply know that they are…evil.
Lastly, I do now know if it was a coincidence or purposefully done, but a blonde soldier named Steve riding a dangerous plane that could destroy a city/country and sacrificing himself in the process sounds too Captain America: The First Avenger to me.
Wonder Woman is a film that exceeded expectations. It brought the DCEU back to its knees. Though it still has the ever-present pacing issues, this film is truly the best DCEU film so far. Justice League has a lot to live up to…because Wonder Woman is indeed…