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Wonder Woman – Movie Review

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Wonder Woman – Movie Review

Rating: B (Good)

Trailer/Thumbnail Courtesy Warner Brothers Pictures

It’s absurd it’s taken this long for Wonder Woman to be given her own big-screen starring vehicle. She is one of the most iconic superheroes, along with Batman and Superman. Yet she has never been given as many actor portrayals and film reboots as her male counterparts. Thankfully, director Patty Jenkins has made Wonder Woman a solid comic book adventure and managed to successfully set it within the framework of a war film. Credit also goes to Gal Gadot, who introduced the character into the DC Extended Universe in Batman v Superman, and her winning performance. She is an optimistic figure in a time when morale is low and she’s a hero we all could certainly use.

For non-comic book readers unfamiliar with her origin, there is a ton of information to take in during the early scenes. Jenkins and credited screenwriter Allan Heinberg have to establish a lot within the island hierarchy of the Amazons. However, the film truly kicks into high gear when Wonder Woman’s alter ego Diana Prince and American spy Steve Trevor land in London. The screenplay goes for some expected fish out of water jokes, but these manage to fit the narrative and don’t lessen the characters. Lucy Davis is a particular delight during these sequences. Jenkins portrays the First World War as the mess it was, showing even the people fighting weren’t sure what the overall purpose was.

The action scenes are well crafted, but Jenkins allows us to properly care about the characters involved before the shooting begins. Diana and Steve truly grow in the film and some of the best scenes are when Gadot and Chris Pine interact. The chemistry between them is lovely, but the romance isn’t immediate between them. They are primarily partners in this war, with their own goals. Steve Trevor’s mission is a solid story in its own right and one worth investing in just as much as Wonder Woman’s. Best of all, Diana is an optimist and the script goes out of its way to show how resourceful and caring she is. She primarily wants to stop the war and while the complexities may be lost on her, it’s an admirable position to take and there is a rooting interest from the viewer.

Where Wonder Woman slightly falters is in the ending. By filming the movie like a genuine World War I picture, Patty Jenkins avoids some of the usual superhero conventions and it feels far removed from the other DC Films. The final action scene feels out of place from what came before and the villain is a generic baddie with the usual plans for world destruction. The dialogue is more tepid during this sequence and somehow, Steve Trevor’s parallel action scene is far more captivating. Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor will certainly be remembered after the end credits have finished rolling, but the central villains leave no impact.

Wonder Woman is a solid yarn and one imagines with the eventual sequel, Patty Jenkins will be given more freedom to play further with the character. Gal Gadot commands the screen, but she is surrounded by a more than worthy ensemble. There is a sweetness to both her positivity as well as the bond formed with Chris Pine. There is clearly a longtime respect for this iconic hero from everyone involved, but especially Jenkins. Even with a slow start and a rough ending, the film works as both a war film and a comic book movie with real stakes and characters with clear motivations.

 

Stefan Ellison
THE SCENE


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