Finally, the DC Extended Universe have a hit on their hands and it’s in the very capable hands of Wonder Woman. Directed by Patty Jenkins and starring Gal Gadot and Chris Pine, this movie tells the origin story of the warrior princess and founding member of the Justice League.
It all kicks off in the mystical island of Themyscira, which is populated entirely by female warriors. This is the home of a young and eager Princess Diana, who trains to become an Amazonian warrior. When pilot Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) crash-lands off the coast of this island, bringing some of the Germany army after him, the now grown up and kick-ass Diana is pulled into the world of men and the war to end all wars – World War 1. Believing she must kill Ares the god of war to end the fighting, she leaves Themyscira armed with her sword and shield to head to London and then the Western Front.
I’ll admit I was worried about whether Gadot could carry this film going by the few appearances she’d made on screen so far, but I needn’t have worried. She more that carries it, she totally owns it. It’s her film through and through with a performance that is both physically impressive (especially when you find out she was pregnant during filming) and at times emotionally touching. Gadot just shines, from her comedic ‘fish out of water’ scenes to the brilliant action sequences. It was refreshing to see a leading man like Chris Pine becoming the supporting actor. They have great chemistry together but there’s never a doubt as to whose film this is.
Let’s talk about the action. I can’t tell you how great it was to see female warriors looking so darn cool and strong. I felt moved to think of the impact seeing these characters on the big screen will have on younger female viewers who will be so used to seeing women rescued by men. The action sequences are as big, bold and explosive as any superhero film I’ve seen and Gadot’s Wonder Woman feels like a whole person, a likable whole person who can take on all the evil in the world and we just will her to win all the way through.
I also enjoyed the supporting cast who brought a band of heroes for Diana to run with including Saïd Taghmaoui’s Sameer and Trainspotting’s ‘Spud’ Ewen Bremner as sniper Charlie. There are great villains too with Danny Huston’s terrifying German general Erich Ludendorff and the evil scientist Doctor Maru played by Elena Anaya.
Giving the film the historic location of WW1 was a smart move enabling for some emotive scenes that brought empathy to a genre that can often gloss over the horrors of war. The scenes in the trenches were visually and emotionally strong allowing for some truly epic action cinematography.
Wonder Woman is a visually spectacular show alongside a new cinematic leading lady who really packs a punch. More like this please.
Reviewed by Ingrid Grenar.