Wonder Woman Review

Wonder Woman - Poster #4

Wonder Woman (finally) brings hope and optimism to the DCEU.

In its relatively short existence, the DC Extended Universe has gone through its fair share of unpleasant criticism. Hardcore DC fans may valiantly defend these films but the general consensus is that these films are all a bit dull. As a result, there has been a change in leadership over at Warner Bros. DC Comics’ most popular writer, Geoff Johns has come onboard to shepherd a new era of the DCEU. A new era where he wants “hope and optimism” to return to DC films. It’s only fitting that the first film under his guidance is Wonder Woman. But does Wonder Woman right the ship or does the film continue DC’s streak of lackluster films?

Thankfully, Wonder Woman is a wonderful (pun intended) film that brings Johns’ overall vision for the DCEU to life. Patty Jenkins shows us why it’s so important to hire filmmakers who truly love the characters that they’re adapting.

Wonder Woman follows Diana Prince (Gal Gadot), Princess of Themyscira. When an American spy (Chris Pine) crashes upon their world, he tells them of the deadly conflict that is plaguing the entire world. Believing that destroying Ares would end World War I, Diana decides to leave Themyscira and embark on a journey that’ll fulfill her destiny.

Wonder Woman - Saïd Taghmaoui, Chris Pine, Gal Gadot, Eugene Brave Rock, and Ewen Bremner

The dark and gritty tone of the DCEU has been the subject of many debates throughout its short existence. Under the leadership of Geoff Johns, the DCEU is looking for a more optimistic and hopeful take on these classic characters. Tonally, Wonder Woman is the first film where it truly lives up to the optimistic tone that Johns’ looking for. Although this might piss off some DC fans, Wonder Woman feels very much like a Marvel Studios film. Writer Allan Heinberg put together a script that’s full of humor, action, and of course, heart. Thankfully, nothing is forced and everything comes naturally. Also, Heinberg keeps the dialogue simple but engaging enough to keep audiences entertained.

As a whole, Heinberg sets up Diana to become a Campbellian hero. In other words, she embarks on an adventure, goes through trials and tribulations towards victory, and ultimately, returns to their old world different from when they began. Unfortunately, this focus on Wonder Woman leaves little room for a good villain.

Patty Jenkins is the real hero of Wonder Woman. Taking a cue from Richard Donner’s Superman, Jenkins put together a loving tribute to the cultural icon. She loves the character and it clearly shows in the film. Furthermore, Jenkins is able to deftly blend various film inspirations together. Films such as Gladiator and Saving Private Ryan are just some of the influences that you’ll see in the film. However, once we get to the final battle, the film devolves into the same cartoonish CG-battle that has plagued Snyder’s previous films. But at 141-minutes long, the film moves at a brisk pace and never leaves you bored.

Wonder Woman - Gal Gadot

Gal Gadot brings a naivety and innocence to the character. A result of the sheltered upbringing that she was exposed to. As the film progresses, Gadot becomes confident and strong—something that’s very fitting for the character. Chris Pine brings a “Han Solo” style performance to his character. As Steve Trevor, Pine brings a cool swagger but he also brings a good-hearted, selfless, swashbuckling spirit to the character as well.

As for the rest of the supporting cast, Saïd Taghmaoui, Eugene Brave Rock, and Ewen Bremner bring much of the fun to the film. Their varying personalities and team chemistry are really fun to watch. Most notable is Taghmaoui who has one of the best lines in the film. Connie Nielsen provides a stern yet warm and motherly performance to Queen Hippolyta. As usual, Robin Wright is bad ass as General Antiope. Unfortunately, don’t expect to see much of Nielsen and Wright in the film.

Sadly, as I said previously, the villains are the film’s weak links. Danny Huston and Elena Anaya doesn’t bring any dramatic heft to their characters. They’re primarily used as plot devices to advance the story.

Overall, Wonder Woman is the not-so-bleak film that audiences have been waiting for. Supported by its two likable main leads, the film is hopeful, funny, and full of action. Not to mention that the film is actually good. Wonder Woman is a step in the right direction for the DCEU and we hope that trend continues with Justice League.

Rating: 4/5 atoms

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