Review: Wonder Woman (2017)

Wonder Woman (dir. Patty Jenkins, 2017) – When a pilot crashes on Paradise Island, young Diana learns of the conflict beyond her Amazonian world and decides to leave home for a war to end all wars.

Verdict

Taking a breather from the sullen skirmishes of the budding Justice League, Wonder Woman brings hope in her faith for humanity and to the DC Extended Universe.

4/5

Review 

There are very few things I can say about Wonder Woman that has not already been said. It is empowering, tons of fun, and everything an epic adventure should feel like. But how can anyone not rave on about the first superheroine film that has risen above this male-dominated genre?

It is perfect timing too. Post-Nolan, the DCEU has gotten onto an uneven restart. The dour monotony that Zack Snyder has imposed on the new era, has long been clamouring for a new voice. This challenge falls into the steady hands of Patty Jenkins, who has previously steered Monster to tremendous acclaim, and is about the same for the Amazonian warrior.

Jenkins’ involvement is in itself a cause for celebration. Historically, there are hardly any female filmmakers in comic book adaptations. Lexi Alexander is the only one who comes to mind, with her nine-year-old Punisher: War Zone. What better joy than to watch a woman take on the task of introducing the iconic Princess of Themyscira?

Wonder Woman
Super couture.

And finally, the fictional face for female vigilantism gets her solo shot on the big screen. Integral to pop culture lexicon, Diana Prince is not simply a feminist figure. Her message extends beyond gender politics, and is one for the modern world. Her strongest power is neither her combat skills, nor her mystical weapons. It is her faith in humanity, guiding her to save us from ourselves.

Her origins story does well to build her ideology from a young age, when she learns the legend of Ares. Following her naive vilification of the God of War, Diana only comes to truly grasp the complexities of humanity when she steps into our world. It is a self-discovery journey not unlike the Man of Steel‘s, and this focused thematic exploration works perfectly.

When Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) introduces her to the patriarchal era that contradicts her all-women upbringing, her initial perplexity plays out with effective humour. But it is also a meaningful scene that bears out the importance of her hopeful ideals, tempered but never extinguished by her growing understanding of mankind.

Gal Gadot is outstanding as Diana, rendering both innocence and fortitude in her stranger in a strange land. Her credibility is effortless and her fights, powerful. One amazing sequence sees her charge through No Man’s Land to the aptly grandiose theme by Hans Zimmer, Junkie XL, and Tina Guo. Together with Rupert Gregson-Williams’ score, the iconic notes make a lasting impression, which most modern soundtracks fail to do.

Wonder Woman
“Who needs Captain America?”

Not to be outdone are the warriors who fight alongside Diana. Her mother Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen) and aunt General Antiope (Robin Wright) lead the powerful Amazonians on Paradise Island, against the invading forces of World War I. The war here is portrayed with ramifications and succeeds where The First Avenger fell short. Each loss is truly felt, giving sound impetus to the eventual rising of Wonder Woman.

Trevor himself recruits a diverse army in Etta Candy (Lucy Davis), Sameer (Saïd Taghmaoui), Charlie (Ewen Bremmer), and the Chief (Eugene Brave Rock). There is not just charm in their comedic interactions. As soldiers caught in this great war after battles of their own, their conversations reveal the folly, futility, and trauma of warfare.

The splendid script also delivers a send-up to the formulaic genre, so often been trapped by its good-versus-evil dichotomy. The God of War turns out a more abstract antagonist, who subtly dismisses the idea of a singular Big Bad. Instead, he explicates the perturbing grey areas of humanity. This revelation plays into Diana’s disillusionment, which can make Justice League an interesting watch as she fights beside men of varying worldviews.

The finale foils the streak when it turns to an inevitable CG-driven affair, where her proclamation of love can feel downright schmaltzy. But ultimately, the fantastical action feels fitting for what comes down to a brilliant comic superhero(ine) adventure, both before and behind the scenes. Now, is anyone spurred to take on Birds of Prey proper next?

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40 thoughts on “Review: Wonder Woman (2017)

  1. I will be seeing it this sunday, and I could not be more excited for it. Being a Marvel fanboy for quite a while now, I am slowly warming more towards DC reading even a few comics from them, that so far have been highly entertaining. Everything I have so far read about this movie, is making it out to be one of the best superhero movies to date. And this review certainly is quite erm…wonderful (pun intended). Seriously though, this was well written abd thoughtful. Can’t wait to see this movie, thanks for sharing your thoughts on it 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yay, hope you’ll enjoy it! 😊 I’m rooting for DC myself, since the only comics I’ve ever kept up with are DC (Hellblazer, Batman). So I’m really happy they’re catching up with Marvel on the movie front! I think Wonder Woman is definitely one of the best, though The Dark Knight is hard to beat. Thanks much for your kind words, I can’t wait to hear your thoughts. 🙂

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  2. I enjoyed this movie a lot too, especially the No Man’s Land scene. That was epic! DC needed a win and this was the perfect character for it. Hopefully this means that there is a bright light in the future of the DCEU. Great review, Jade!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reading, Drew! And oh yes, epic is the right word for sure! Nothing makes me happy to see Wonder Woman triumph. I’m not too confident about Snyder’s Justice League, but I do have my hopes up for James Wan’s Aquaman. 😀

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  3. It was so annoying every time the men said something like “a woman can’t be in here”. The only thing I could think about was how she could fight them all and win, if she wanted to. Powerful movie and I’m so glad DC’s rising! Awesome review Jade!! 😀

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    1. That IS the most infuriating thing, but it’s so satisfying to see her rescue an entire army of men thereafter! And I couldn’t agree more with you. What a powerful story. Thanks much, Renate! 😊

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  4. Fantastic write up for a great film. Am pleased DC has finally released a superhero movie in the EU that is actually really good. Good story, right time to release and well delivered. I think I agreed with everything you said.

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  5. Great review, Jade. Heard good things about this from a few friends and I’m keen to see it. Doubt it’ll be one I’ll catch in the cinema, though.

    P.S. I caught Prometheus 2 and really enjoyed it.

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  6. My one complaint about this movie: not enough Etta Candy. Wonder Woman is a triumph all around. It deftly tackles the overtly masculine terrain that is the superhero genre, reinvigorates tired heroism tropes (and rejuvenates the superhero origin story), and course-corrects all of the DCEU. AND THAT NO MAN’S LAND SCENE THO (I find myself thinking about it quite a bit). Leave it to Patty Jenkins to show the boys how it’s done. Also, loved that you mentioned Lexi Alexander. I sincerely hope she gets another shot at one of these movies someday.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yes, I’d have loved to see more Etta Candy! She’s so lovely, especially when together with Diana. I was rather hoping to see more of their friendship together. Everything you said is spot on. That No Man’s Land scene is not just symbolic, but absolutely iconic! And I’m always happy to see some love for Lexi Alexander. She’s just wonderful. I too hope she’ll get back into the superhero scene soon! 😊

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      1. I honestly can’t recall the last time a hero sequence like that truly affected me. Maybe the train scene in Spider-Man 2? And to think that was over a decade ago! Studios nowadays are so obsessed with team-ups and cross-overs that it’s quite refreshing to see a defining standalone superhero picture. I haven’t seen one of those in years and I think it’s wholly appropriate for Wonder Woman to be the one. Also, I sincerely hope Etta Candy has an insanely witty descendant in the WW sequel. Here’s hoping!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. The ending lost a few points for me, but before then was superb. I’m so glad it was such a strong story. It reminded me a lot of the first Captain America in how strong the story was. Hoping it inspires Hollywood to make more of them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I completely agree the ending could have been much stronger, but I have few other complaints. Here’s hoping this might set the direction for future superhero films! Thanks for reading, Alex! 😀

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  8. Great review! I prefer DC characters to Marvel ones so it was fantastic to finally see a great DC movie post-Nolan. I hope they continue down that road but I still worry for Justice League and even more so with Gotham City Sirens – David Ayer should not be getting another shot in DC let alone with this movie. At least Aquaman looks terrific

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks much Sati! 😊 I couldn’t agree more about DC characters; I’m still holding out for a proper Justice League Dark movie! I really do hope DC might have a better run from here on, given their roster of brilliant heroes and rogues alike.

      Strangely enough, Aquaman is the most promising out of the lot. As for the other two… I’m keeping my expectations way low! 😉

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