(Photo via Warner Bros.)
I wasn’t really looking forward to seeing Wonder Woman, and I don’t think I was alone. While the idea of the first female-led superhero film of this generation directed by Patty Jenkins sounded really enticing, DC’s track record as of late made me tepid in my expectations. While the Marvel relied on the fun and appeal of their characters and their films, DC has gone for the dark and gritty approach. While that might work for a character like Batman, it doesn’t work for Superman or whatever the hell Suicide Squad was. But I’m happy to report that Wonder Woman is by far the best film DC has produced in this era, and one of the best comic book films made in this era. It’s not a masterpiece (it should be noted that I’m a major snob that isn’t the biggest comic book/superhero movie fan in the world), but Wonder Woman is a blast to watch from beginning to end, and is deserving of the praise and box office that has been blessed upon the film since it’s release a few weeks back.
Wonder Woman tells the origins of Diana Prince (Gal Gadot), an Amazon princess who lives in a world made up entirely of women that’s hidden from the rest of the world. After years of dreaming of being a fighter, Diana’s day comes when an American pilot named Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) crash lands into her world and tells her of a plot by some big WWI baddies (Danny Huston as a German general and Elena Anaya as an evil doctor) have a plot to destroy the world with a mysterious gas. Diana and Steve set out into the real world (WWI-era Europe to be exact) to stop this and for Diana to find what she’s looking for.
What was incredibly refreshing about this film (well, refreshing to a point) was it wasn’t as deadly serious and gritty as the Zack Snyder DC’s films have been. While Snyder serves as a co-writer and a producer on the film, the dark and gritty tone takes a step back as Patty Jenkins and co. come up with a fun, exciting, funny, and exhilarating summer blockbuster. I also think this film is refreshing because it’s helping prove a major problem in Hollywood wrong, which is the lack of female representative both in-front of and behind the camera. As I mentioned before, this is the first female-led superhero film in this era of extended comic book universes, and it’s directed by a woman, and directed very well by Ms. Jenkins. It infuriates me that there continues to be a wide gender gap in Hollywood and the films that they produce, and I’m hoping that with the success of this film that we start to see more women behind the camera of these big budget films, and more films with female leads to the point where we don’t have to keep having this conversation. Patty Jenkins did a superb job directing this film, and I look forward to her and other female directors directing big budget fare like this in the coming years.
Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman was the best part of the painfully repetitive Batman v. Superman, and she once again steals the show (even though this was technically her show in the first place?) in this film. She’s charming, funny, badass, and has a heart of gold. It’s a similar character in some ways to Captain America in that first Captain America film (both are period pieces set during a World War), but this film is more balanced in its tone and characters than that first Captain America film was. Chris Pine is charming and funny as Steve Trevor, who serves as a love interest and partner to Gadot’s Diana. The two have great chemistry, and their back-and-forth feels inspired and pretty funny at times.
We also get some supporting roles from Robin Wright and Connie Nielsen as Diana’s aunt and mother in this secret world. Robin Wright is one of my favorite actors, ever (her and Kevin Spacey are the only reasons I still watch the painfully drawn out House of Cards on Netflix) and she’s great for the limited screen-time she has as a badass Amazonian warrior that trains Diana throughout the years. According to the internets, we’ll be seeing more of Wright’s character in future DC films, so I look forward to seeing that.
While the film never runs out of steam, the 2 and a half hour runtime can be a little straining at times. I shouldn’t blame my busy work schedule and lack of sleep before seeing the film on that, but two and a half hours can be a little much. The third act of the film, while technically impressive, gets a little loud and a bit too Batman v. Superman-ish for my tastes, but I won’t punish the film for that. The rest of the film before that was so good that it’s forgivable.
All in all, Wonder Woman is a really solid summer flick that feels refreshing but inspired all at the same time. It’s not a perfect film (it’s rare to find a perfect superhero film anyways), but it’s a step in the right direction not just for DC’s cinematic universe, but Hollywood in general. Patty Jenkins is an immensely talented filmmaker, and I look forward to her directing the inevitable sequel of this film, and other talented female filmmakers tackling other films of this mold. If there’s one thing that DC is officially better than Marvel at, it’s this.