After saving the life of a soldier, Diana of Themyscira learns the horrific details of WWI, the war to end all wars. Believing that she has the answer to end the war, Diana leaves her home behind and ventures into the perils of a global conflict.
Wonder Woman is the newest film in the DC extended universe (DCEU). It stars Gal Gadot (Fast & Furious) as the titular character, and is directed by Patty Jenkins. The film also features roles by Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, Connie Nielsen, Elena Anaya, and Lucy Davis.
Wonder Woman first appeared in 2016’s Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice. I really wasn’t a fan of that movie, but I thought her role was one of the best parts. Since I haven’t really been a fan of any of the movies in the DCEU so far, my initial thoughts about this movie weren’t entirely positive. I was pretty apathetic actually.
That was my initial response, until I saw a second trailer. I will include this specific trailer at the end of this review. Seeing more of the scenes that pertained to Wonder Woman’s origins on Themyscira made me far more interested in the film, and this enthusiasm only continued to increase as I found out more details. Once the positive reviews started rolling in, I knew I needed to see this film.
Overall, I really enjoyed Wonder Woman. I spent the majority of the movie with watery eyes and a smile on my face. There were just so many things that made me really, really happy. The character was able to be powerful, but not in a way that was sexualized. Gal Gadot portrayed the character as believably naive to many of the complexities of a world she had never known, and it was nice to see the character grow and learn as the movie progressed.
I thought the pacing was very well done. I never felt that anything dragged too much. For me, it felt like a natural progression. It definitely didn’t feel like it was two and a half hours to me. The performances helped carry the story along pretty well, and I enjoyed the filming locations.
One of the aspects of Wonder Woman that I found most interesting was how it actually felt like a comic book movie. There was a real sense of “pop” to it. Whether this was through the contrast between Wonder Woman’s vibrant armor and the dreary WWI backdrop, or the dramatic close up zooms and slow motion segments that felt straight out of a comic book panel, this film really manages to stand out. This may be a positive or a negative thing for viewers, depending on how you take it, but it’s a stark difference from the realism that many superhero films have been going for as of late.
On top of this, Wonder Woman brings an interesting, new perspective to the table. She brings with her the idea of fighting war with love. Her actions are to stop the fighting, not to choose a side to fight for. The film focuses more on the battle within the heroine herself than the details of the battle going on around her. It’s very different in a way that I feel is pretty positive.
Despite the many positive feelings I have toward Wonder Woman, it isn’t a perfect film. Nothing ever is. In many ways, I felt that the story could have been better. It’s not a bad story, but at times it feels kind of thin. On top of that, there are several times throughout the story that it feels like it’s not even about Wonder Woman. There are times when it feels like she’s a secondary character within her own story. It winds up feeling like there are several opportunities that were missed.
There are some points where I thought the action sequences were a bit sloppy, understandable for a first attempt at action movie fare from Jenkins. In the end though, it’s still really entertaining. I would say it’s the best addition to the DCEU so far. I’m looking forward to the possibilities with this character in future installments.
Wonder Woman has been lauded for its portrayal of a female superhero and for its female director. While I’m definitely happy to see the recognition that the film is getting for this reason, it makes me feel more than ever that we need more stories told from a variety of voices. It shouldn’t be as much of a big deal as it is. It should be more normalized.
Let’s hope we get to see more stories like this in the future. Check out the trailer that got me excited for Wonder Woman below!