A new beginning for the DCEU.
We currently live in the age of the superhero film, there’s no denying that. The two titans at war are of course comic book big-hitters Marvel and DC, although it has to be said it has been a merciless conquering from Marvel so far. The first three entries in the DC Extended Universe (Man of Steel, Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad) have been generally, miserably lacklustre, bringing in the money but little of the praise. With Wonder Woman, DC has hit back – hard.
After living much of her life with her fellow Amazonians on the island of Themyscira, Diana (Gal Gadot) is drawn into the Great War after rescuing an American spy (Chris Pine) from the sea.
Where BvS in particular was devoid of joy, Wonder Woman is an absolute delight throughout its 2h20m running time. Patty Jenkins takes the genre and plays with it in very subtle ways, resulting in the finest superhero film this year (yes it is better than Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2). Starting off on paradise, we see a young Diana growing up, learning the ways of her fierce people. Origin stories may evoke an eye roll after the many we’ve had to bare, but here everything we see is fresh and interesting, not to mention stunning to look at.
Chris Pine’s introduction sets the film towards its peak. The pair’s winning romance drives the film into the hearts of the viewers, a winning Lois/Clark-like chemistry similar to Richard Donner’s Superman, which the film owes a great debt to. It takes inspiration from the more comical moments of the MCU, for example we see Diana, similar to Steve Rogers, struggling to grasp the elements of modern day life – whereas here it is in the early 1900s.
While the main threat at hand is a generic, cliched lust for destruction, the focus remains firmly on Diana for the most part, making it all the more forgivable. Gadot is electrifying as the titular badass, charming and likeable off the battlefield but breathtaking amidst the action. Her first big hero moment, declaring to a mission-focused Pine: “It’s what I’m going to do” is spine tingling, bringing on a whole series of emotions and bodily reactions (goosebumps and tears galore). Battle sequences are played out more delicately this time, remaining stylish but easier to take in, feeling less like the incomprehensible, bombastic moments in Man of Steel.
The climax does veer on Snyder-ish, explosions beyond the scope of being reasonable and rapid camera movement. But thankfully, it loses little of the thrill overall. World War I works terrifically as part of the plot, giving the film a raw touch. All this, and there’s not a Bat in sight. Perhaps we’re all too familiar with men of steel, but Diana’s consistent naivety and pure heart is refreshing. Not to mention it has, without a doubt, the best superhero theme to bless our ears. With Justice League approaching soon, at least some feeling of Wonder is guaranteed.
To sum it up…
An empowering, kick-ass, albeit it overdue introduction to a modern icon. Make room boys, Wonder Woman is brilliant.
Rating: PURE DYNAMITE!
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Author: Cameron Frew