By Ryan Keating-Lambert
Wonder Woman is without a doubt, one of the best superhero films of recent years. It’s popping with energy, charisma, and superb storytelling. Gal Gadot is unstoppable and a perfect fit for the Amazon princess. It took 75 years of waiting to get this character from comic to screen, but it was worth it.
Diana (Gal Gadot) is the princess of the hidden island of Themyscira, brought to life by Zeus, and the strongest warrior of the godly race of Amazon women. She believes in freedom and justice and after air force pilot Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) crashes on the island and informs the Amazons of the first World War, Diana makes her way to the front line.
What sets Wonder Woman above the other modern superhero films is its ability to really spend some time on its lovable characters. Diana is the bright-eyed and bushy-tailed newcomer. She’s full of curiosity and love for all things innocent – she’s out to make the world a better place.
Gadot is almost seamless with her representation of such a character. She’s overwhelmingly beautiful and commands a certain power on screen, but is still able to effortlessly portray that lively child-like spirit from the paradise in which she was raised. She’s adorable and infectious. It’s impossible not to smile like a fool. Especially when she first enters the battlefield in her iconic costume with sword, shield, and lasso in hand. Wow.
Unlike the other films in the DC Extended Universe so far, Wonder Woman brings the superhero film back to its retro roots. Like Marvel’s Captain America, it’s adapted the wholesome goodness and goof of older films like The Rocketeer or even the Indiana Jones franchise. The last DCEU movie Suicide Squad was somewhat of a mess when it came to re-shoots and editing, probably due to the vastly negative feedback from its predecessor Batman v Superman and it’s lack of humour and all round fun.
There’s no lack of humour in Wonder Woman, aside from Gadot, secretary Etta Candy (Lucy Davis) serves some impeccable British quirk, not to mention the crew of ex-army oddballs surrounding Trevor. It’s one lovable cast. Even villains Lunnendorf (Danny Huston) and Dr Maru aka Dr Poison (Elena Anaya) have a Pinky and the Brain type feel to them.
The greatest feat of this film however, is the fact that it’s so pro women. The fact that this is Director Patty Jenkins’ first film since Monster in 2003, which Charlize Theron won a Best Actress Oscar for, is ridiculous. Wonder Woman is the powerful backhander that Hollywood needs to wake up to itself. More women in film; more directors and more leads. This is the first superhero film to feature a female lead since Marvel’s Elektra in 2005.
Not only was this film able to get a fierce female lead in Gal Gadot, but it also managed to get a group of 80 strong women to play the Amazons, and they actually look like Amazons. Composed of athletes, boxers, models and actresses, as well as the superb Robyn Wright as Antiope and Connie Nielson as Diana’s mother Hippolyta, the women were required to attend a hardcore summer boot camp on the exotic Amalfi coast of Italy. The results are outstanding.
There’s no shortage of good action and fight scenes in Wonder Woman. A healthy mix of CGI, live action, and sheer brute force really make these scenes spectacular, but Jenkins also gives you a chance to calm down and recollect between fighting sequences.. unlike other modern action films that can be a bit non-stop.
With strong themes of love, freedom and humanity, it’s not surprising that there’s some occasional cheese, especially towards the finale, but it’s never too much. There’s almost nothing capable of bringing this film down, except the army of man-trolls on the internet. Poor guys, they just don’t get it.
This is an exceptional film, breaking all sorts of box office records this weekend already, and it’s an all female team behind it. Go and see it, if not out of interest, then out of respect for a much needed change in cinema… and then go see Justice League later this year. Suddenly DC’s future is looking much brighter.