Perfect timing, a phrase all to relevant when thinking about the character of Wonder Woman and her first bout on the big screen. Turmoil rages, inequality, fear and hate all reside within the real world and when we are at our worse we don’t need masked vigilantes beating the snot out of each other. We need a hero who embodies peace love and wisdom with a little old school flare. Gal Gadot as Diana Prince is that embodiment in the long overdue big screen adaption of the iconic character.
Wonder Woman follows the story of Diana, princess of Themyscira, and her origin story that precedes her tenure in the forthcoming Justice League. Diana is born with an urge to protect and before she can protect those around her she must learn that the world outside of her own is full of hate, fear and turmoil. With the help of a solider stranded upon the shores of her home, Steve Trevor, they’ll embark on a journey that will thrust them into the thick of World War 1, a war Diana believes ties back to a time long before man.
We as an audience have never been treated to a big screen telling of Diana Prince, and now that it’s truly here it’s hard to imagine anyone else carrying this iconic mantel into the future. Gadot was an actress I was dubious of going into the film as I’d only seen her in Fast and Furious in scenes that desired nothing more than to highlight her looks. Batman V Superman gave me a sliver hope in her ability to portray this character, as I thought she brought a fierceness and a sense of wisdom that’s seldom given to big screen heroines. My dubiousness was put to rest in this film as I though Gadot toed the lines of naive, fierce, compassionate and smart all while never feeling forced or taking away from her as a character. She’s someone you would believe knows what shes doing, knows how to win a battle, knows how to outsmart you and yet be the most approachable person on screen.
Chris Pine as Steve Trevor was the perfect balancing act for Gadot. He was someone she gelled with incredibly well that made me fall in love with them as a duo. Trevor kept Diana on her toes and was the one to show her how low man can steep for all the wrong reasons, helping her grow while also accuenting him as a character. At instances where she was naive they never overplayed it to the point of stupidity and never made Trevor seem condescending. Their back and forth was a bonus for both actors in their respective roles as they highlighted each others strengths as actors and highlighted their individual character flaws to a point of endearment.
Seeing a super heroine out of her element and struggle through the horrors of not only an alien world, but one during the hardship of war, made for a fascinating story. However, the biggest flaw this movie has is that of the villain, as his presence is never really felt until the end. He truly floats his way through the movie twirling his mustache awaiting to reveal the truth to Diana about her lineage. A truth that doesn’t fundamentally change Diana or the overall story arc in the slightest, and more so left me going, yeah duh. When films leave me with a true understanding of the hero it’s usually always at the expense of the villain, and Wonder Woman is no exception.
Director Patty Jenkins truly gave this film it’s own style and flare that separates it from many others in the genre. Slow motion is a tactic used by countless directors and often times is done at the expense of lacking a story. Jenkins is tasked with introducing us to a race of people we’ve never seen, making them feel real, helping us understand their customs, buy into them and showcase their battle tactics. I found her implementation of slow motion highlighted the almost majestic like movements of the Amazons that only further separates aspects of this film from others in the genre. She told a heartwarming story about love and war that never stepped on its own feet, sending the audience through a wide range of emotions rarely felt in blockbuster films.
Wonder Woman is a film I truly believe will change the approach future filmmakers will take when stepping into these commercial film outings. Jenkins as a director kept the story concise and themes that proved their relevance as the story of Diana progressed. Gadot showed that our heroes and heroines are allowed compassion without abandoning their morals. The character of Diana is a breath of fresh air into a genre that’s arguably overflowing with ego and stubbornness. She allows us to fall in love with a character that only wants what is best for everyone and can achieve that without causing an alien invasion or a city to be a boxing arena for two Kryptonians. None of it is possible without Jenkins’ clear vision and spectacular storytelling that highlights what Gadot does best in this role. This film should have been the first film in the DCEU, and gives me nothing but high hopes moving forward.