Before she was Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, trained to be an unconquerable warrior. Raised on a sheltered island paradise, Diana meets an American pilot (Chris Pine) who tells her about the massive conflict that’s raging in the outside world. Convinced that she can stop the threat, Diana leaves her home for the first time. Fighting alongside men in a war to end all wars, she finally discovers her full powers and true destiny.
Director: Patty Jenkins
Music composed by: Rupert Gregson-Williams
This review CONTAINS SPOILERS and is broken down into the 5 main elements that made Wonder Woman wonderful!
Gal Gadot is given a good script to work with. Your actors and actresses can only work with what they are given and it’s especially hard work polishing a turd no matter how talented you are because a turd is a turd💩. A turd this script is not.
Great actors salvage bad scripts and they shine with brilliant scripts. Gal Gadot shines in a role she is indisputably so well cast for, it’s hilarious to think anyone ever doubted her.
She elevates moments with delivery that makes you experience what the character is feeling. We resonate with the character she’s bringing to life and forget that she, gadot, is actually there, this is all Diana of Themiyscira and we the audience go on this journey with her.
We experience all the joy and wonder (pun intended 😉 ) of discovering powers, testing limits and running into danger and Gadot does this believably so that it’s never oldhat or run of the mill but genuinely novel and exhilarating.
2. A simple story
Often at times complexity of story is favoured instead of a simple one that can be layered contextually with complexity. Batman V Superman tried to be too many things to too many people, exploring too many themes and struggled under its own weight to bring all of these stories to fruition. It’s a beautiful film in many regards but is remembered for its unnecessary complexity that shifts vital focus from character development.
Wonder Woman like Batman V Superman is also adapted from the comics with 75 years of history under her belt and has been waiting to hit the big screen for nearly a century. Diana has various origin stories hailing from various runs in the comics from different writers but they are all weaved together in a clever way in the film that is simple and allows a coerant story structure whilst honoring it’s roots. It’s straight forward, refreshing story telling. The DCEU doesn’t take precedant, there is no extended universe world building here, the main focus is our heroine and it pays off.
I am always impressed when a film doesn’t bash people over the head with themes but rather slots theme into scenes to be paid attention to. Sometimes themes are the suttle under-current that builds to a crescendo to compliment and season the story being told and at other times its more aparent. In this film we get both; the theme of war being bad is explored; it is never glorified, never glamorised but rather lamented upon, our titular heroine, vocal about the horror of war and her determination to bring a definitive end to it. How important then that its setting is during world war 1,The Great War.
The metaphor doubles up here because war is actually personified in this film, Ares is the actual god of war and is orchestrating, the great war, he could have named it himself it’s so on the nose but deft at the same time and Diana is out to show him that he isn’t great and neither is what he inspires.
Diana embodies the best of her mentor and her mother and these sides show throughout; the warrior and the regent, the strong woman and the compassionate carer; she is versatile and she is both. A description of modern woman if there ever was one. A powerful stand out scene is where she steps out onto no-mans-land and charges forward, drawing fire so that the men can gain ground. It’s awe inspiring.
Diana of Themiyscira is a driven character with nobel motivations that aren’t just paper thin super hero cliche, it’s genuine and earned statement and you believe her.
Gadot makes these motivations tangible by selling it in her performance; the innocence of the princess is balanced well with her ferocity as a warrior; two edges of the same sword, ‘The God-Killer’, which she is.
The film for all intents and purposes is a war film, it’s dismal, sad and grimey, at least it should be in this well executed period piece. However, glum it is not. Wonder Woman is this gleaming light in an otherwise hopeless and dark world destined to ruin itself. The film is hopeful, positive and uplifting without wallpapering over the realities of war and it’s destructive wrath but has a conversation, literally and thematically which makes the film, poignant because it has something relevant and profound to say.
The tonal elements of romance between Diana and Steve are well earned and invested in due to good writing, very good acting and palpable chemistry. Moments of hilarity are welcome because they are not forced but welcome.
The colour pallet of the entire film is balanced and not brooding all the time, a welcome departure from former DCEU film entries. This film is dark when it needs to be and at other times light and beautiful.
The soundtrack helps this good movie become a great movie in so many places thanks to some inspired musical scoring.
Wonder Woman, like Batman and Superman, is a monumental character, a huge figure in pop culture but unlike those two, who’ve had various cinematic outings and even the luxury of reboots(some less successful than others), Wonder Woman has never had her story told cinematically. We can now argue that we’ll never have it told so well again. Patty Jenkins has set the bar very high, directing up a storm and delivering to the screen a memorable film full of emotional heft, engaging story and action to spare. It is by no means a perfect film but it’s definitely close. Easily a rewatchable classic , Wonder Woman has finally taken her place in the pantheon of superhero cinema and in the process has given the DCEU a new lease of life. It’s not an exageggeration to say grandmothers will watch this with their daughters and grandaughters and win more fans clamouring for a truly deserved follow up outing. I cannot wait. 🙌