It has been almost ten years since Marvel kicked off the superhero resurgence with ‘Iron Man’. Since then, there have been over 25 superhero movies and not one of them has been about a female superhero. And while I’m beginning to feel superhero fatigue from the number of movies being released each year, the thought of a female superhero movie intrigues me. Can it bring something different to the table? Thankfully, DC have decided to test that theory and have finally brought Wonder Woman to the big screen. It’s about bloody time
With a lot of superhero movies they can go one of two ways – over bloated and boring or brainless popcorn fun. Thankfully, Wonder Woman manages to mostly tread that fine line between both offering a story that has depth and meaning whilst also providing the thrills. The opening act of the film is probably the strongest section of the story for me as we are introduced to the Amazons and seeing Princess Diana (Gal Gadot) grow up. You get to understand the relationship she has with her mother, with her aunt in a short amount of time but none of it feels bloated. Before we know it, Diana is whisked off to London with Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) to help put a stop to the war to end all wars (World War 1). It’s in this section of the film where the more light hearted moments are placed. Much of my issue with superhero movies (e.g. Thor 2) is the placement of the comedic moments is severely misplaced and therefore breaking the flow of the story. But here, the comedic moments feel like a natural part of the story. Of course Wonder Woman is going to try on London clothing and wonder why she can’t fight in it!
It’s towards the middle where the film began to lose me a little bit. As Wonder Woman and her comrades travel across Europe, the story feels a little bloated at times. The director (the wonderful Patty Jenkins) could have shaved 10/15 minutes out of the middle and the story wouldn’t have suffered. Action wise, they have thankfully managed to avoid using those awful fighting effects used in ‘Man of Steel’. The action scenes are well shot, well choreographed and truly thrilling to watch. I don’t know how many times I wanted to jump out of my seat in the cinema and scream ‘YASSS, KICK THEIR ARSE WONDER WOMAN’. She is beyond bad ass. Unfortunately, the action goes OTT for the final act and becomes a massive CG fest as Wonder Woman takes on her final foe. It’s not as bad as Man of Steel’s ridiculous city destroying CG mess but it feels to me like this was a studio decision. MUST HAVE EXPLOSIONS! I would have preferred it if the final fight had been a more grounded fight like the rest of the movie.
Where Wonder Woman truly excelled for me was in the dynamics between the cast. I hadn’t seen Gal Gadot in anything so I had no idea whether she would be good as Wonder Woman. I think she was a pretty great choice for the role. She has a strength about her, not so much a physical one but an inner strength that just exudes from her. It makes her incredibly empowering and I couldn’t take my eyes off her. Wonder Women started the film as a naive yet confident young woman and by the end, she had a greater understanding of the world but still remained that confident and kind woman. I feel like Gal really helped contribute to her character going on that journey through her acting. I’ve always been a fan of Chris Pine and this movie was no exception. He has fantastic chemistry with Gal, their scenes together really sparked and I felt that their relationship felt real from the get go. It didn’t feel forced in a ‘a woman needs to have a love interest’ kind of way. It felt like the natural direction for their relationship to take.
Wonder Woman is easily the best movie in the DC Expanded Universe. It’s also the best superhero movie of this year by far. Wonder Woman is an intelligent, interesting and exciting movie that shows you that it’s possible to have a strong female superhero that is just as good, if not better than their male counterparts. It’s a shame it’s taken this long but my goodness, it’s been worth the wait. I can’t wait to see where they take her next.