The DCEU isn’t doing too great so far. ‘Man of Steel‘ was good, ‘Batman v. Superman‘ was a let down and ‘Suicide Squad‘ was pretty bad. So leave it to one of the first female led superhero movies in a lot of years to come along and save it! Wonder Woman makes her solo movie debut and she does not disappoint.
Diana is a princess on the island paradise of Themyscira who longs to help people and stop war from ever occurring. When captain Steve Trevor crash lands on their shores, Diana soon becomes aware of the outside world a the first World War that plagues it. She and Steve venture out to try and put an end to the war and stop some nasty Germans from creating a weapon that would end many more innocent lives. It’s an origin story that almost doesn’t feel too much like an origin. Yes, the first 20 or 30 minutes focus on Diana becoming a fearsome warrior, but once she leaves her home, she is a superhero. She just doesn’t know it yet.
In a way, this movie does a better job of the ‘fish out of water’ scenario than ‘Man of Steel‘ did. Diana heads off into the great war thinking it will be easy to end. That killing one person will turn everyone good again. She doesn’t understand the horrors of war fully and she definitely doesn’t understand Western culture at all. The dynamic between her and Steve is very interesting, with him knowing what bad things sometimes have to be done and Diana thinking the opposite. This makes for some good drama between the pair and with some romantic feelings between them it really works. I rarely care all that much about romances in superhero films, but in this one I found myself on more than one occasion praying for the two to just finally kiss.
Some people seem to think Wonder Woman stole the show in ‘Batman v. Superman‘. I don’t think she did and to be honest I still wasn’t sure of what Gal Gadot would be like as the titular hero. However, after watching this, I am very confident in her abilities to play Wonder Woman. She’s got a great range of emotion and really plays Diana’s naivety well. Chris Pine as Steve Trevor is great. He’s funny and a good hero and would steal every scene he’s in were it not for Gadot being so equally great. They both play off each other really well, both in terms of acting and characters. That’s why you want them to be together so much, because they are so good together. Danny Huston and David Thewlis are good supporting characters, as are Trevor’s group of buddies. Lucy Davis as Etta Candy, Trevor’s secretary is very funny and offers up a lot of light moments during the film. Perhaps the only actor I wasn’t completely keen on was Connie Nielson as Queen Hippolyta. I’m not sure if it was just her character or not but she seems a bit vacant and uncertain when delivering most of her lines. That’s just a small part of the film though.
Really this film is a breath of fresh air. Not just for the DCEU, but for superhero films I think. It offers up a good origin story, gives us a very strong female superhero and gives us a DC movie that isn’t all doom and gloom. It’s got some jokes, it’s got some bright colours, it’s fun and it has a lot of heart. I was actually very pleasantly surprised. The villains are fairly good. They’re menacing and pretty evil and provide some good opposition to the good guys. There’s a couple of small twists and turns which may not be revolutionary but are a bit of fun. The action scenes and special effects are really good too. I’m not completely sold on the lasso of truth glow effect and the final battle features a few too many explosions. Plus they overdo it on the slow motion quite a bit too. Although saying that, seeing Wonder Woman stride through no man’s land in slow mo is pretty cool.
Yes it’s not the best superhero film ever, but it is a whole lot of fun. I really enjoyed it and hopefully this has put the DCEU on the right track. Hopefully it’ll give female superhero movies a boost too and we see more of those in the future. I’m looking forward to seeing Wonder Woman in action again and looking forward to see where this takes the DCEU leading forward. Not quite a wonderful film, but a pretty good one at least.
JACK’S SCORE: 4/5