Move over, boys. Diana of Themyscira is here to save DC movies with power and grace in the action-packed Wonder Woman, directed by Patty Jenkins.
Based on the DC Comics character, Wonder Woman tells the story of the strong and stubborn Diana (Gal Gadot), a princess among a society of Amazons who reside on Themyscira, an island created by the gods of Mount Olympus and secluded from the rest of the world. She receives her long-awaited chance to prove herself as a fighter when Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) crash-lands on the shores of Themyscira and eventually reveals to the Amazons that the Great War (World War I) is occurring outside of their isolated island and that he must deliver secret information stating that the German Army is developing a deadly poison that poses a danger to all sides. Driven by her sense of justice, Diana accompanies Steve in a secret escape from Themyscira to join the fight in the outside world and destroy the god of war Ares, who she believes to be the source of the ongoing conflict. As she integrates into the modern society of the early 1900s and pushes back against the German Army, she slowly discovers new powers and a life-changing destiny that she must fulfill.
While previous DC films, such as Batman v. Superman and Suicide Squad, spent much of their runtimes hurriedly expanding the DC film franchise with an overabundance of characters, Wonder Woman shines by giving audiences a more personal look at the origin story of one of DC’s most iconic and inspiring female heroes. Gal Gadot offers a compelling performance as she portrays a strong-willed warrior who often loses herself in fantasies of fighting evil and is suddenly humanized as she leaves the confines of her peaceful island home and comes face-to-face with the truths and horrors of humans trapped in a war-torn society. When she isn’t taking down hordes of German soldiers in intense action sequences that will leave moviegoers cheering, she’s making a powerful statement by standing up against stubborn, heartless military strategists and instilling her own moral code in those around her. As Wonder Woman is already a wonderful role model in and of herself, Gadot does well to portray her with equal parts passion and emotion.
The film also does well to slow things down so that each character gets a bit of focus and can show off some great chemistry with each other. Yet despite this focus, the film still retains much of its integrity in fluid transitions between development and pure action. Wonder Woman even shows off a fair share of jokes that audiences can get a kick out of. Never taking itself too seriously, Diana’s first real foray into a cinematic adaptation (aside from her brief seven minutes in Batman v. Superman) is an enjoyable, dramatic, and even fun-filled experience.
If any complaints are to be had about Wonder Woman, direct them at the special effects. While most of the fight scenes feature some spectacular stunts and some graceful lasso action, audience may cringe at some of the CGI-heavy fights that really only serve to take away from the more practical sequences the film has to offer. There are still some visual aspects of the film that are quite the site to behold, such as the beautiful seaside landscape of Themyscira, so there’s at least that to look forward to.
For anyone who’s been waiting for DC’s live-action film series to step it up and were less than wowed by its previously entries, rest assured that Wonder Woman is, if nothing else, a step in the right direction.