It may have taken the DC Extended Universe a few tries, but the studio has finally produced a good old-fashioned superhero flick with Wonder Woman’s solo adventure.
Although audiences got to watch Gal Gadot’s electrifying cinematic debut as Wonder Woman in last year’s “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”, not much was revealed about her origin story. In “Wonder Woman”, fans will get to watch Diana’s transformation from naive warrior to iconic female heroine.
Following a quick prologue in modern-day Paris, the story whisks us away to Themyscira, the hidden island of the all-female Amazons. Living on the lush paradise sheltered by Zeus, the tribe of athletic, leather-clad female warriors all live in a bubble, oblivious to the world of men and the first world war raging outside.
During a story-telling session, Diana’s mother, Queen Hippolyta (played by Connie Nielsen), explains how Zeus created the Amazonians in order to thwart the evil plans of Ares – the god of war. She also shares how Diana, being the only child on the island, was sculpted from clay.
Despite her mother’s initial protest, chief field general Antiope (played by Robin Wright) personally takes Diana under her wing and trains her. By the time Diana reaches adulthood, her fighting skills are almost unbeatable although the female warrior has yet to realise her full potential as a demi-goddess.
Trouble in paradise comes when a plane piloted by American spy Steve Trevor (played by Chris Pine) crashes into the ocean just beyond the island’s shores. After a bizarre battle between the German men with guns and the women armed with bows and arrows, Diana is compelled to enter the world of men.
Although the Themyscira sequences were thoroughly enjoyable, the film truly takes off as we follow Diana and Steve’s journey together. Gadot and Pine’s onscreen chemistry as a couple is undeniable.
Upon arriving in London, we get to see the outside world through Diana’s wide-eyed bewilderment and curiosity. Her magnetic expression is endearing and audiences will sympathise her naiveté in regards to her black-and-white concept of good and evil.
One of our favourite scenes is when Wonder Woman decides to take things into her own hands when she decides to climb out of the trenches. Clad in full superhero costume, she confidently walks into German gunfire. Director Patty Jenkins does a commendable job in framing Diana as an agent of power. Amid the whirl of slow-motion mayhem, Wonder Woman’s personality remains intact.
As writer Joshua Yehl points out: When Wonder Woman leaps high into the air and hits like a truck, the level of visual craft is impressive. It was also astonishing to watch Wonder Woman attacking with her sword and lasso and then defending with her shield and bracelets the next moment. Gadot’s face lights up as Diana tests her limits while saving the day.
“Wonder Woman” falters slightly in the final act, where its climatic battle tries and fails to outdo itself with deadening CGI overkill. We felt that the movie should have followed the earlier sequences when it relied mostly on stunt work and Gadot’s charisma.
The film also struggled with its major villain. Although the character’s presence was felt throughout the movie, his characteristics and motivations were underdeveloped (it’s a common issue with most comic book films). Having said that, the real antagonist here is perhaps war and the universal evil of mankind.
All in all, “Wonder Woman” is leaps and bounds ahead of the other DC movies. Because it was almost entirely free of distracting cameos, the central focus remained on the titular character. It’s essentially an origin story about a woman determined to save a war-torn world with the power of love.
At the end of the day, we can all relate to Wonder Woman because she has ambitions as well as imperfection. She experiences happiness but also sorrow. She fights her own battles, and more importantly, no one tells her what to do.
If you’re wondering whether “Wonder Woman” has any extra scenes after the credits, you can find out here.
“Wonder Woman” opens in cinemas nationwide on 1st June 2017.