<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>
Directed by Patty Jenkins. Starring Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Connie Nielsen, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, Said Taghmaoui, Ewen Bremner, Eugene Braverock, Elena Anaya
Running time: 2 hours 20 minutes
After the terribly morose Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, where the only bright spot was Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman, we are finally treated to a solid origin story in the new Wonder Woman film.
A female super hero gets her own film. You have to give credit to DC for doing that considering Marvel hasn’t managed it so far. And you know why Wonder Woman has done so well? Mostly because of Gal Gadot’s awesome performance, some great screenwriting and cute humour.
While Wonder Woman is by no means a great movie, it is a brilliant origin film. Unlike Marvel characters – ‘I got stung by a radioactive spider and now I’m Spider-Man or I found a suit that turns me into a tiny Ant-Man’ – DC characters have always had rich origin stories that give them depth. Think of Superman and Batman; there’s pain and pathos there and epic changes that have lead these men to the paths they are on now. Similarly, Wonder Woman has her story, no less epic than perhaps Thor (one of the few Marvel characters to have a slightly more elaborate origin story).
Another thing great about this film is that its protagonist is female; a very hard thing to come by especially in an industry dominated mostly by white, male leads and heroes. And Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman isn’t awesome just because of her ass-kicking abilities – which are great – but because of her raw power coupled with her intense innocence and deep curiosity. She’s like a kid in a toy store for the first time when she enters the real world after leaving her island of Amazonian wonders.
Princess Diana (Gal Gadot) leaves because her hidden island of Amazon warrior women, created by the great God Zeus to fight the God of War Aries upon his return, is unwittingly uncovered by a British spy called Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) as he crash lands there followed by the German navy. This was during World War II, when outside of the dome of invisibility the real world lay ravaged and ruined.
Together they must stop the evil leader of the Germans from killing millions with the new deadly gas developed by Dr Meru aka Dr Poison (Elena Anaya). But this isn’t a simple mission of find the bad guy and save the world. It’s also an exploration of Diana’s psyche, it’s us seeing the world through the eyes of an innocent woman who tells an ice-cream vendor he should be proud of himself for making such a delicious dessert. Throughout the film your eyes cannot but be transfixed on the ravishing Israeli actor who portrays her character with a strength and vulnerability that is as endearing as it is effective.
Her romance with Star Trek’s Chris Pine as the ‘above average’ Steve Trevor is expected when they first meet, but it isn’t unbelievable how they fall in love. It’s a gradual progression and their chemistry is rich as he treats her as child who he doesn’t want to tell that there is no Santa Claus. It’s lovely to watch.
What I didn’t like about Wonder Woman were elements of CGI and the way they made her stunts look: almost like a video game especially when she jumped into action. Another jarring element was the villain – no not the one played by Danny Huston as the evil German General on steroids – who looks way too old to play that part and then they make him look animated by the end of it. Not very nice.
There’s no end credit scene so don’t bother staying. We’ll see Wonder Woman in the new Justice League film in December and hopefully she’ll take over the group and give us something to cheer about. Don’t want to see the dull Superman they’ve created or irritating Batman who thinks being rich is a super power!