Review: Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman, directed by Patty Jenkins, explores the origin story of the superhero many have waited to see a film about. Before she was a superhero or even Diana Prince, she was Princess Diana of the Amazons, daughter of  Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen). The exploration of Diana’s background takes us to the stunning Themyscira, a utopian nation where no humans (nor men) live and offers us some beautiful animation of the Greek Gods. These images are juxtaposed against the brutality of the first World War, and the ugly scenes that convey this harsh reality. Unfortunately, these latter images are Diana’s first encounter with humanity.

Given that she’s spent all her life sheltered in a utopia, Diana (Gal Gadot) is quite naïve and idealistic when it comes to human matters, and this is quite charming. We see more of Diana’s charm in the chemistry between her and Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), a spy whose plane crashed into Themyscira. What helps this relationship is the actors’ natural chemistry with each other.

An area in Themyscira. Credit: Vamers.com

The interactions between these two characters, as well as Diana’s naivete, also add a comical side to the film. A scene from the comic book where Diana eats ice cream for the first time was even included, albeit this time in a different era, to also show her naïve nature, which was a nice touch and quite entertaining. The character Etta Candy (Lucy Davis) was also quite funny. Despite the comical side of the film, Wonder Woman touches upon serious issues. For instance, some of these problems are unrelated to the war as characters speak about racism and the genocide of the indigenous peoples of the Americas. However, the serious side of the film related to the war is where we see most of Diana’s idealism. She wants to help everybody and thinks that aspects of human life are black and white. Nevertheless, as the film progresses, Diana adopts a more realistic view of the world and comes to understand that life is more grey than black and white.

Wonder Woman is better than the previous DC films Man of Steel,  Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad (although the first film is the most visually stunning out of all these). It still, nonetheless, suffers from the shortcomings of these films, namely the weak writing. For example, Diana seemed to be not too shocked when she protected herself from an attack from Antiope (Robin Wright), which seems like the first time she sees her powers. Furthermore, she didn’t really question what or who she is after this, even though we see her testing her superpowers. In sum, her acceptance of her super abilities isn’t fully explored.

Furthermore, the writing was lacking given that several core parts of the story were quite predictable. This included which characters were going to bite the dust and the revelation of Ares’s true identity, which was still quite enjoyable to watch and even chilling in some respects. Moreover, although Diana and Steve had chemistry, their romance between felt a bit rushed and hence not fully developed as they seemed to have fallen in love with each other after having met each other days earlier.

Image result for themyscira wonder woman film
Left to right: Sameer (Saïd Taghmaoui), Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), The Chief (Eugene Brave Rock), Charlie (Ewen Bremner).

Unfortunately, another downfall of the film were the action scenes as they weren’t quite realistic. I understand that I’m talking about a superhero movie where everything is going to defy the laws of physics. However, the overuse of CGI destroyed any ounce of realism in certain action scenes. In fact, it made the film look like a video game at some points, which wasn’t really consistent with the images present in the non-action scenes.

Nevertheless, the most enjoyable part about some of the action scenes was Wonder Woman’s theme song created by Hans Zimmer (of course!) and Junkie XL. To be honest, it may be one of the best things about the entire film. This musical piece honestly is the epitome of awesomeness, thanks to Tina Guo’s amazing performance on the electric cello, which at first sounds like an electric guitar. It’s just a shame that the action didn’t live up to the hype the theme song stirred up. Nor did the rest of the soundtrack particularly stand out compared to this brilliantly crafted theme song.

Although the film suffered several drawbacks, they were not as big as those that appeared in Man of Steel,  Batman v Superman or the Suicide Squad.  On the whole, I’d say that Wonder Woman is a nice introduction to Princess Diana and her background, even though it could have been better, and would rate the film a 3/5. I’m looking forward to the release of Justice League later this year and hope it improves on the weaknesses of previous DC films.

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