Director: Patty Jenkins
Starring: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Connie Nielsen, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, Elena Anaya, David Thewlis, Saïd Taghmaoui, Ewen Bremner, Eugene Brave Rock, and Lucy Davis
Synopsis: 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.
While a lot of fans were opposed to the casting of Gal Gadot, she completely stole the show in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and was arguably the best character in that movie. In Wonder Woman, Gadot proves that not only is she capable of portraying this character but is perhaps the perfect actress to take on the iconic role. Gadot delivers an incredible performance as Wonder Woman, and it’s not an easy character to portray. The script demands more than a few deeply emotional moments, as well as some challenging action sequences, all of which Gadot delivers amazingly with a surprising amount of passion and charm.
Chris Pine also impresses with his performance as Steve Trevor, the first man Diana ever meets. This could have easily become a sidekick role but Steve Trevor has a real purpose in the narrative and Pine’s ability to bring humour to the film helps Wonder Woman find its tone. Pine also brought a certain level of strength to his character, to the point where Steve didn’t seem beneath Diana, but the two characters were portrayed as equals.
The relationship between Diana and Steve sits at the heart of this movie. Patty Jenkins has done a great job of building the connection between Diana and Steve and takes the time to develop a relationship between the characters. This kind of development really makes you care about these characters as individuals but also as a pair. It’s been a long time since a comic book movie forced me to care about a relationship but leaving the cinema it’s the emotional side of the film and the relationship between the characters that makes Wonder Woman special.
Regarding the story, it’s great to see that Jenkins took the time to tell Wonder Woman’s origin. Unlike Batman and Superman, this isn’t a story that the audience has seen a dozen times and the director had the opportunity to represent who this character is and how she becomes the world’s greatest female hero. Jenkins was able to piece together an entertaining and engaging storyline that ultimately acts as an excellent introduction to this character. The narrative also opened the door for Jenkins to build some truly outstanding action sequences. As teased in the trailers, Wonder Woman features a lot of action scenes all of which stand out as some of the genre’s best. While Wonder Woman features three major action sequences, it is the soon to be iconic walk across no man’s land that will cement Wonder Woman as one of the best-choreographed movies in the genre.
What Didn’t Work?
It has become standard for modern comic book movies to lose focus on the villain and unfortunately, this is something that even Wonder Woman cannot overcome. The villains in this film are severely underdeveloped, and while the performances are admirable, the script simply doesn’t offer the actors an opportunity to develop the characters beyond what they first appear.
The audience doesn’t get a chance to actually understand the motives of the villains and a little more time spent with these characters could have improved the darker side of this movie. Saying that however, it would be heartbreaking if we lost any of the great action sequences or any of the beautiful moments between Steve and Diana. I can understand why Patty Jenkins focused less on the villains, after all, this is an origin story for Diana and that was the real objective of this film and Jenkins did a fantastic job.
Wonder Woman stands out as being the best instalment of the DC Extended Universe and one of the greatest origin stories the genre has produced. A mixture of great storytelling, stellar acting, and some phenomenal action sequences have ensured that Wonder Woman’s first solo outing will be remembered as an excellent introduction to the character. Even underdeveloped villains don’t stop Wonder Woman from being one of the most exciting offerings from the genre, and we can all hope this opens the door for more female-led superhero movies.