I was originally going to give Wonder Woman a miss, as comic-based films don’t tend to be my bag (Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy are perhaps the exception); and the trailer also didn’t look too great. However, on its release I saw so many people completely loving it, so I thought I’d have to check it out.
Wonder Woman is the story of Diana (Gal Gadot), a princess of Amazons, who was bought up by her mother amongst an entirely female community. When Steve (Chris Pine), an American pilot crash lands into their island, he brings with him news of a war to end all wars, and Diana takes on her race’s vow to protect the world against Aries, the God of War. Teaming up with Steve and his rag-tag gang, Diana is thrown into the horrors of the First World War.
This film is so much better than I expected it to be. In part, this is due to the (unfortunate) incredible novelty of getting to watch an action film that (especially for the first 30 minutes) is dominated by women. To get to see a female character being such a bad-ass, and yet driven by a desire for peace, is just very refreshing. It is also made more awesome by the fact that the film is directed by a woman also (Patty Jenkins), which meant it was generally not overly male-gazey either.
As the focus of the film Gal Gadot, is really good. She’s obviously stunning, and the camera loves her, but she also does a great job at Diana’s naivete and ultimate anger at the world around her. I enjoyed the performances from Said Taghmaoui, Ewen Bremner and Eugene Brave Rock, as Steve’s gang of helpers who are on board to try and stop the war becoming a greater horror. Connie Nielsen and Robin Wright are also both great as Diana’s mother and aunt, in grounding both her as a character and the world that she grew up in.
There were parts of the script (by Jason Fuchs, Allan Heinberg & Zach Snyder) that were a bit cheesy and I felt like as an antagonist Dr Maru was a wasted opportunity, but for the most part the script was solid too. The film doesn’t lose pace, and the final bad-guy reveal is pretty great. I also really appreciated how the film didn’t shy away from showing the discrimination that women and people of colour experienced during the time period; but most of all I appreciated the way it showed war. At no point does the violence feel glamorous, and the futility of the First World War in particular is really well shown.
For a summer blockbuster, Wonder Woman is pretty good. And as a film that carries the message that love wins, one that is worth watching in these difficult times.