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Wonder Woman – Movie Review

Wonder Woman is a breath of fresh air…when it comes to DC movies. It used to be that we looked forward to how good a Marvel movie would be and how bad a DC movie would be.

Release Date: June 2, 2017
Writer: Allan Heinberg
Director: Patty Jenkins
Cast: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright

Wonder Woman follows the demi-god, Diana (Gal Godot). She lives on the island of Themyscira with her fellow Amazons including her mother, Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen) and her aunt General Antiope (Robin Wright). The island is mysteriously hidden from the rest of the world, while the rest of the world slowly destroys itself during World War I.

Wonder Woman is an origins story. It starts by lumbering through an explanation of the Greek Mythology, of Zeus, and of his son Ares. But the real story here is Diana’s struggle to become the greatest warrior of the Amazons and the mystery as to why Queen Hippolyta will not allow this to be.

Meanwhile, as World War I comes to an end, American spy and pilot Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) crashes his damaged plane off the shores of Themyscira while fleeing a squadron of German fighter planes. Diana rescues Steve and vanquishes the German soldiers with the help of her fellow Amazons. Untrusted and captive, Trevor tells Diana about the “war to end all wars.” He pleads with her for his release so he can deliver the stolen formula of a potent nerve gas that Germany will use as a last-ditch effort to win the war.

Diana helps Steve escape in order to help him win the ultimate war. After proving herself to her mother, Diana leaves the island as a warrior and with an ominous warning about ever returning. Eager to become the heroine, she is destined to become, Diana finds herself increasingly impatient with Steve’s stalling and British bureaucracies.

Demanding to head directly into action, Steve teams her up with a motley crew of fighters including Sameer (Said Taghmaoui)-master of disguise, Charlie (Ewen Bremner)-PTSD scarred sniper and Chief (Eugene Brave Rock) – Street-smart trader of goods. That’s Wonder Woman.

I mentioned in my Man of Steel review, that Zach Snyder’s depiction of Superman is not Superman. As good as Henry Cavill was, the man on screen is not the Superman I came to see. Thankfully, Gal Gadot is Wonder Woman. Beauty aside, she is a convincing warrior with moral conviction. She has the confidence and strength to be a hero. She has charm and Patty Jenkins masterfully tells a brighter story in contrast to the dark overtones of Man of Steel. DC finally made a hero that girls (and boys) can admire.

A pre-requisite of a superhero film is good action scenes. The battle on Themyscira was fantastic showing Amazon cunning in a fight of guns and mortars versus swords and arrows. The movie’s set pieces of Diana leading the charge into “No Man’s Land” is a spectacular display of Wonder Woman’s power, strength, and fighting ability.

I have only two minor complaints about Wonder Woman. I won’t belabor it because this is an exceptional movie. One, the origin segment at the start and its mythology, just needed to move a little faster. I think we’re proving that origins are not necessary for all hero movies.

Two, there is a moment when Diana is in London and she is the fish-out-of-water moment. It’s played for laughs and at the expense of this strong character, Jenkins had established for over an hour. While humorous, the sequence is not very original. She is portrayed as a little naïve when she could have been portrayed as regal.

Wonder Woman is a straight up superhero film. It is a story about Diana’s transformation into Wonder Woman. It’s not making a statement about gender. While Diana is a woman. She has no hang up about gender inequality, she’s a powerful confident person with all the experience of being female. She is not fighting men, she is fighting evil. She is not fighting for women only but fighting for all people in hopes bringing peace to a war-ravaged people.