Movie Review: Wonder Woman
Wonder Woman has finally made its theatrical debut, and I am happy to announce that it made $100.5 million in its opening domestic weekend. As the first female-led superhero movie from DC and a beloved character, everyone seemed to be waiting to see how it would be received. The film starred Gal Gadot as the titular character, Chris Pine as Steve Trevor, and an outstanding supporting cast in Robin Wright, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, and Connie Nielsen. Directed by Patty Jenkins, the film follows the origin story of Wonder Woman/Diana Prince.
The film begins with Diana giving a short narration as she walks through the present-day world. She receives an old photo from Bruce Wayne, and it’s that photo that launches us back to relive Diana’s story with her. It begins with her as a child on the island of Themyscira. She is the only child on this island of female warriors, and through her bedtime story, the lore behind their people is revealed. They are hidden from the world and from Ares, the God of War, and it is on this island that they have powerful weapons to defeat Ares, including a sword that can supposedly kill gods. When Steve Trevor crashes near their island and is saved by Diana, the war that battles outside is brought to their attention. Diana, especially, feels compelled to help and fulfill their ancient duty when this horrific, world-changing war is brought to her attention. So, she leaves with Trevor with the intention of going to the front lines and killing Ares, who she believes is deceiving humans and causing this conflict. The journey to find and defeat him follows, and Trevor and Diana are joined by a ragtag group to accomplish their goal.
There were so many moments that I loved in this film, and I hope that it’s a sign of the tide turning for DC. First of all, though, there were so many fantastic performances. Gal Gadot’s performance as Diana Prince herself is stunning. She handles the physicality of the role well, and her reactions to so many moments within the film were genuine. I think that the casting of Chris Pine as Steve Trevor was brilliant, and their chemistry helps make the film as successful as it is. Robin Wright’s General Antiope was a powerful performance, and her relationship with Diana is incredibly special. I don’t want to go into too much about the other characters, but let’s just say that most of them added to the value of the film.
The most compelling part of the film, though, is the story and ultimately, Diana’s journey. When she sets out to defeat Ares, she speaks of it almost through a child’s eyes. She thinks that once Ares is defeated then men will be the good people they are at heart. She begins out as quite naive, and most of this story is her realization that men have both light and dark inside of them. Ares might promote ideas and weapons, but it is the humans who decide to use them and bring harm upon one another.
Overall, I really don’t have many criticisms. Were there a few slow motion shots I could have done without? Sure, but for the most part, it really worked for me. There were some decisions concerning CG that I would have liked to be handled differently. I could have used a little stronger villain throughout the film, but all of these criticisms are kind of nitpicky. However, I liked the way they set up the story within the modern world since we already have been introduced to her there. They also thankfully managed to infuse humor throughout the story, which is something that DCEU movies have failed to accomplish in the past.
Overall, Wonder Woman ends up being this story filled with hope. Diana faces the truth about human nature, and instead of being discouraged and through with humanity, she decides to defend it. She decides that they are worth saving. It’s a timely commentary, and one of the many reasons I have to recommend that you go see Wonder Woman in theaters.