Patty Jenkins Wonder Woman marks the first time a woman has directed a superhero film and the first female led superhero movie of any kind in twelve years. Coming off the heels of an introduction in Batman vs Superman that almost stole the entire movie away from its two titular heroes, Wonder Woman succeeds in becoming not only the best female superhero movie ever (which in all honesty is not too difficult considering how low the bar was prior to this film) but also the best DC movie since The Dark Knight. This movie is not only a lot of fun but also uplifting and in terms of moving the genre forward its an incredibly important film.
Telling origin of Wonder Woman (played by Gal Gadot), from her childhood on the Amazonian paradise of Themyscira to her arrival into the world of men during the first world war. She fights alongside handsome American spy Steve Trevor played by Chris Pine as she attempts to defeat the god of war Aries who she believes is behind the war, unaware that it may reveal a truth about her that she doesn’t even know. This movies biggest strength is how well it develops its main character, Wonder Woman is a complete badass in this movie. When you have a character like Wonder Woman it can be easy to just make her this perfect, unbeatable, Mary Sue character who we cant really relate to at all, but that just is not the case here. Diana is a fully fleshed out character with a clear and understandable character arc, from the naive young girl determined to help a humanity with an innocent perspective on human kind to the hardened character we saw in Batman vs Superman. Thanks tremendously to both Gal Gadot owning the role and Patty Jenkins doing a spectacular job directing, this movie provides one of the best origin stories we’ve seen in a superhero movie in ages while also giving us a movie that is so unlike the other DCEU movies that it’s honestly refreshing.
This a DC movie with color and a sense of humour and that feels uplifting and fun unlike the dark brooding seriousness that Zack Synder has given us. The chemistry between Chris Pine and Gal Gadot is really strong, the two play off one another well and Pine brings enough charm to the performance to elevate the character far beyond what could have been just an obligatory love interest role. Setting the movie in World War One was a great idea, this means it isn’t bogged down by having to tease future films. Something that I really admired about the film was that it was empowering but never became overtly feminist or over reliant on the ides of girl power like other recent big female led movies like the 2016 Ghostbusters remake. Yes it has a female led character and yes it has an island full of just women but it never feels like its about sexism or women being better than men or men being better than women and the only times it ever goes in that direction is when it fits with the fact that this movie is set during a period in history when that kind of sexism was acceptable in society.
The action scenes are great and this film at times did remind me of the Indiana Jones films in the adventure elements. There is a great action set piece on a beach as well as the scene that was shown in the trailers where Diana comes up from the trenches which is actually quite a moving scene. I would have preferred a little bit more restraint with the slow motion in this movie, it was overdone in all honesty. The film is not perfect, the antagonists are a bit weak and the last act descends into an overblown CGI-fest. However the weak antagonists were probably as a result of Wonder Woman being such a strong protagonist similar to the problem Marvel faces with its bad guys.
Overall Wonder Woman is a great success for DC and shows that female led superhero movies can be great. It isn’t a first tier superhero movie along the lines of The Dark Knight, Spiderman 2, Winter Soldier, The Avengers or Civil War, I would most certainly place it high up in the second tier with movies like the 1989 Batman, Guardians of the Galaxy and the first Iron Man movie. It is not perfect, the antagonists are not particularly memorable, there is too much slo-mo, the finale is a bit too CGI and it does not reinvent the wheel for the genre in terms of storytelling. That being said it is so much fun to watch, a perfect summer blockbuster with an inspiring message and empowering hero that will hopefully be the shot in the arm for the DCEU and female led comic book movies in general I give Wonder Woman EIGHT out of TEN