Wonder Woman (2017)
Written by Allan Heinberg (based on the DC character created by William Moulton Marston)
Directed by Patty Jenkins
Produced by Charles Roven, Deborah Snyder, Zack Snyder, Richard Suckle
2h 21min, rated PG-13
For the past month (probably much longer, but that’s when I started to notice) it’s been nothing but Wonder Woman everywhere I looked. From Snapchat filters (yes, I had tons of fun with those) to reviews, posters, events (Women-only viewings caused quite a stir!), and just everything has been about Wonder Woman. Her long-awaited appearance on the big screen has been a long time coming. If there were any thoughts that a female superhero movie “just wouldn’t work”, the trailer and anticipation of this movie crushed those thoughts.
And then the movie came out and the critics agreed, Wonder Woman definitely works. It’s expecting to earn 100 million dollars this weekend, but I’m sure it will surpass that amount. Patty Jenkins has made a DC movie with a female superhero as the lead that not only works, but is spectacular to watch.
It’s an origin story, and the movie begins where Diana (Gal Gadot) began her life; the island of Themyscira. The island is gorgeous and you get a glimpse of Diana in her youth, which I really enjoyed. Knowing and seeing her passion to fight evil and wrong-doing from childhood makes you root for her even more. Of course, any good warrior needs training and who better to train you than your aunt. Antiope (Robin Wright) is that one bad ass aunt we girls have, or wished we had. The one that teaches you the stuff your mom just can’t — or won’t, in this case. Robin Wright did a very convincing job as Antiope. I almost didn’t recognize her when she made her appearance on screen. She’s incredibly fierce and her fight scene is one of my favorite scenes, but I’m jumping ahead.
Diana’s mother, Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen), doesn’t want her to train or fight. Like any mother, she wants to keep her daughter safe. Diana makes it to adulthood to realize she has become more powerful than any woman on the island. Enter Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) via plane, crashing into the waters off Themyscira. Diana saves Steve from the sinking plane and brings him to the beach, along with the German navy that was chasing him. Thus ensue an epic battle scene that I can only describe as a beautiful warrior ballet. I’ll just leave it at that.
Diana’s focus is on one thing, and for this purpose she must leave the island with Steve Trevor. The contrast from the island of Themyscira to WWI Europe is so evident, I wanted to pull out my phone and look up who the cinematographer was at that moment. Matthew Jensen did an amazing job capturing the bleakness of that time. Diana’s story quickly becomes the “fish out of water” story and Gal Gadot was mesmerizing. Now, this is where the good stuff starts happening.
Gadot’s portrayal of Wonder Woman is flawless. It’s been a long time coming, and I thought I would never be able to accept anyone but Lynda Carter in the role, but Gal Gadot’s performance is what makes this movie work. Diana’s awkwardness reminded me of Christopher Reeve’s Superman. Like most women, she gushes over babies and loves ice cream. Like any good superhero, you fight the bad guys…all the time. When she races across No Man’s Land with sword and shield, I got tears in my eyes. Finally, Wonder Woman is here! Diana is naive about war and her character development is what pushes the movie forward. I felt it worked, since it was her origin story. Steve Trevor plays an important role in this development and Gadot and Pine’s on-screen chemistry did not disappoint.
My only criticism for the film would be the convoluted story around the god Ares and the amount of CGI used for the movie’s climactic scene. It seemed like a basic principle at first and I loved the Amazonians’ story and mythology, but it seemed to just get lost there towards the end for me. Maybe for my 2nd viewing, I’ll pay closer attention. Yes, there will be a 2nd, 3rd…and you get the picture.
Go see this movie. It’s a wonderful flick and we waited too long, so don’t wait any longer. Wonder Woman is here!
Wonder Woman opens June 2, 2017
The Rogues Gallery podcast will drop on June 10th with a wave of everything Wonder Woman. Plenty of discussion, opinion, and tons of spoilers; you’ll definitely want to listen to that.