What Superman, Batman, Joker and a whole bunch of iconic villains couldn’t do in 2 years, Diana Prince aka Wonder Woman of Themyscira has done it within 2 days. She has single-handedly defeated the biggest enemy of DCEU – the Rotten Tomatoes. As of writing this review, Wonder Woman emphatically sits at 93%, way better than its predecessors and just one percent less than the holy grail of DC movies The Dark Knight.
Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman was one of the two positives that came out of disastrous Batman v Superman. Her spot on portrayal of the immortal amazonian warrior had ensured a solo movie earlier than the mega team up scheduled for November 17 release. Set about 100 years before the events of Batman v Superman, Wonder Woman follows the journey of Diana Prince from a naive woman who believes good and evil are as distinct as black and white to a badass, loyal, fierce and hopeful superhero we all need today. Wonder Woman is a refreshing tale of innocence, might and hope – something that the brooding Superman should have stood for.
Wonder Woman has very distinctive tones during the two halves. First half enjoys a lighter mood thanks to the interaction between Gadot’s innocent Diana and Pine’s comical Trevor. Diana and Steve comes from two different worlds. She has never left the confines of Paradise Island and believes mankind is good. When Steve tells him about the horrors of WWI, she thinks its the work of Ares, the god of war. Steve, on the other hand, is a British spy who has seen the war up close. He knows the reality and even though he blindly agrees with Diana’s hunt for Ares, deep down he knows who is truly responsible for the war. The second half gets a bit darker with Diana witnessing the horrors of war – disabled soldiers, war-torn families and dead people. But such is the might of Gadot’s demigod, you can actually feel her radiating hope on everyone when she rescues the village from German forces.
I said it before and I will say it again – Gal Gadot was born to play Wonder Woman. PERIOD! I cannot imagine anyone else playing the iconic DC character. Though her Israeli accent gets somewhat weird, her superior acting and charisma easily trumps it to flesh out a live-action Wonder Woman that is very close to its comics counterpart. And like the side characters from the movie, you too cannot take your eyes off of her. She is the anchor of the movie and everybody else plays their part around her.
She is ably aided by ever charming Chris Pine as Steve Trevor. Chris Pine is a skillful actor and aside from Star Trek franchise, he hasn’t got many opportunities to show his various sides. We already know how great he is in comical roles. But it is his sizzling on-screen chemistry with Gadot that leaves you wanting for more. Heck, I am completely fine with an episode of Diana & Steve just carrying on with their normal lives. Wait, I just noticed something – Both Captain America: The First Avenger and Wonder Woman contain men with same first name, both off-screen and on-screen – Chris Pine-Chris Evans and Steve Trevor-Steve Rogers. Deja-vu anyone?
While the two leads of Wonder Woman ably carry the movie forward, the side characters too support them with equal enthusiasm. Lucy Davis’s Etta Candy, Connie Nielson’s Hippolyta and Robin Wright’s Antiope all play their parts to near perfection. However, the secondary villains – Danny Huston’s Ludendorff and Elena Anaya’s Doctor Isabel Maru – aren’t properly fleshed out and their motivation feels weak, if not absent. But David Thewlis’s Ares on the other hand is comparatively better antagonist to Wonder Woman.
If there is one thing that DCEU has always done better than MCU, it is the special effects and action sequences. The DC characters are basically gods and so their action sequences have to be grander. Wonder Woman too has some incredible fight scenes, especially the fight between Diana and Ares. But, while the predecessors overdid their fight scenes compromising their character development, Patty Jenkin’s ensured a proper balance between the two. Her first rodeo to superhero genre turned out to be way better than the seasoned Zack Snyder. There is just one small complain though – there were too many slow-mo scenes like the previous films. Some of these could have easily been done away with it.
Wonder Woman is not a perfect movie. Plot wise there isn’t anything new and like other superhero movies, villains aren’t given proper screen times. But unlike other superhero origin stories, Wonder Woman beautifully captures innocence and naivety of a first time superhero. The woman power behind the movie prove that saving world (and cinematic universe) isn’t the work of men alone.
- Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman
- Patty Jenkin's Direction
- Lighter and Hopeful tone
- Weak Villains
- Over stuffed slow-mo