Finally! A DC film that is worth watching…. although could that be because of how much like a Marvel film it is?
Now, don’t get me wrong, I have been waiting for DC to deliver on a movie for ages. The Nolan Batman’s notwithstanding their other attempts at delivering a credible adaptation have been poor. Batman vs Superman wasn’t as good as it could have been (Martha; Martha, anyone?) and in fact it was only Wonder Woman who gave that film any credibility for me, and Suicide Squad suffered from the reshoots – whether they were trying to recreate the Marvel vibe or not, it just didn’t work as well as it could.
Wonder Woman held some very high expectations, and also a fair amount of trepidation. The early test audiences raved, the critics were saying good things, but would it actually hold up with the general public?
This is the DC film we have been hoping would come out of the stable for years. The cinematography was fantastic, the casting was excellent and there was enough humour injected into the writing without seeming forced. It actually seems like DC finally found screenwriters who knew what they were doing and a director that could deliver the vision.
Yes, the CGI was a little patchy when we were first introduced to Themiscyra, but that can be overlooked with just how well young Diana’s early life is shown. The cast at the start delivering a strong, yet compassionate portrayal of a group of women that show us prowess on the training field that we are more used to seeing from Spartans and other such historical heroes.
-start rant- Now, before I carry on, I would like to address the elephant in the room (“Hi Nelly!”) – Feminism. I am not going to go on any kind of pro- or anti-feminist diatribe surrounding the film. Personally I think there are too many people trying to tout this film as a piece of feminist propaganda, and whilst I agree that it is refreshing to see a superhero film with a strong female lead doing well, it is not the first time we have had a comic/videogame adaptation that has a female protagonist, nor do I feel it should be put at the forefront of the feminist message.
I think it is a good movie adaptation of a comic book character (yes, female) who can be a positive role model for both young boys and girls. -end rant- (feel free to disagree in the comments. Healthy debate is always welcome!)
Back to the review!
The movies tropes are very familiar, and are very reminiscent of the first Captain America movies in a few ways – hero gets told they cant fight, tries to fight anyway, turns out super awesome (for Cap it was due to the serum, WW it was destiny but similar effect nonetheless), hero goes on a journey, falls in love with the obligatory love interest (different sexes, granted), male protagonist flies off in a plane to sacrifice themselves… but actually this works in Wonder Woman’s favour as it gives the audience a sense of familiarity.
We see Diana struggling to understand “modern-day” London (‘It’s horrible!’) before heading off to The Front and seeing for herself the stark realities of the toll of human suffering caused by the Great War.
As we move through this sequence we are given the magnificence of the No Man’s Land scene.
I think this is one of the best, if not the best scene in the film. It starts with Diana showing her humanity, which for the daughter of a seemingly immortal Amazon brought to life by a God is at odds with what you might believe of her, especially as she has been so far removed from anything she is experiencing.
She then strikes out alone, crossing No Man’s Land and drawing the attention of the German gunners, allowing the Allied troops to make an advance and take the ground, before heading into and liberating the town beyond.
Throughout this scene I picked up echoes of other great films; the slow motion of the bullets as they were deflected from her gauntlets reminiscent of Neo fighting Agent Smith in The Matrix, the surroundings and ferocity of the gunfire taking me back to Saving Private Ryan (quite a compliment as that is the finest example of a modern war movie there is) amongst others.
I could carry on into the realms of the super spoily, but I won’t. Instead I will jump back to the casting. Gal Gadot is brilliant as Diana. I defy you to find someone else who could’ve played her better. Lithe, statuesque, and exuding an aura of serene power. Perfect! Connie Nielsen was great, and Robin Wright a revelation, if criminally underused. Chris Pine was very well cast as the heroic male lead, something he is not unaccustomed to albeit usually as the main event. Danny Huston was terrific as the foil. Yet again this incredibly versatile actor shows us what he is made of and doesn’t disappoint. The only grumble I have with the casting is David Thewlis. I love him as Remus Lupin in the Harry Potter series, and as the bumbling politician here he is the perfect fit. However the revelation of his character at the end is a little jarring as his physicality doesn’t seem to go with it. Maybe that is just me.
Speaking of the ending, the CGI here as well isn’t terrible, but could be better in places. $150m+ budget; could do better. Just sayin’.
Overall I am super happy with the film. I cannot wait to see more of Wonder Woman on screen, I just hope that there is a strong enough storyline to do the character Justice (d’ya see what I did there!)
An Amazonian 4/5 Lasso’s of Hestia.