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Wonder Woman Review


Whenever you talk about Warner Bros. and the DCEU, there’s alway that voice that is screaming in the back of your head, “What took you so long?”. Time Warner bought DC Comics in 1989, and we only got Batman and Superman sharing the big screen in 2016? What took you so long!!!!???? That statement goes double for the shared universe’s latest installment, Wonder Woman. Not only is she DC’s most iconic heroine, but the current superhero movie fad has been around for almost a decade, and we’re only now giving the girls a chance? I’m not being political here. Super hero fatigue set in quite quickly, and no one thought to shake things up with a female super hero till now. Anyway, Wonder Woman not only has the pressure of being the first female led super hero flick, but given the less than stellar track record of the DCEU so far, a lot of is riding on this one to turn the burgeoning shared universe around. So let’s see if it does.

Gal Gadot may have made her first appearance as Wonder Woman in the present day in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, but we're in origin mode here, with light been shed on Wonder Woman’s past as Amazon princess Diana, growing up on the Amazon warriors isolated home of Themiscrya, and obsessed with the prophecy that only the Amazon’s can defeat Ares the God of War whenever he inevitably resurface after been defeated by Zeus centuries before. When World War I reaches the island's pristine shores, along with U.S. spy Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), Diana is sure Ares is to blame for the great war, and ventures out into the world of man to defeat him.

From the opening frame, Wonder Woman is everything Man of Steel, Batman v Superman, and Suicide Squad were not: earnest, thrilling, and, above all else, entertaining. There is a definite shift in tone form the grim darkness that proceeded it, but it’s not the 180 shift to the Marvel Studios style of super hero movies many people expected. It’s more of a recalibration (though there is plenty of fish out of the water humour when Diana arrives in London, but it’s toned down before it gets too grating), director Patty Jenkins injecting a bit more heart into proceedings than what came before. There’s still a darkness to it, especially when dealing with the horrors of a very real war, but it’s tempered nicely by a genuine sense of hopefulness. The period setting goes a long way to making this feel fresh, much in the same way it worked for Captain America: The First Avenger, and the narrative moves forward at a brisk pace. Once it gets going, that is. The first act is a bit of slog in terms of setting up the story (though it does give us one of the movie’s stand out set pieces), but once Diana leaves Themiscrya, or Exposition Island as I’ve come to call it, the wheel spinning starts to slow down, and we’re thrust into the main story.

Things really get going once the action reaches the front, and Diana stands fully revealed as Wonder Woman in the bravura No Man’s Land sequence. Never has an action sequence felt more earned as this one. Sure, we’ve glimpsed it in the trailer, but that won't prepare you for how triumphant this scene will leave you feeling, as Diana singlehandedly rips through the German forces without breaking a sweat. And the bulk of that is down to Gadot's performance. The Wonder Woman we’ve met before was a jaded badass, not so here. This spirited, naive version of Diana is incredibly endearing, Gadot possessing a sweet innocence and intense ferocity that work well in tandem with each other.

The rest of the action works well, even if Jenkins relies on slo-mo a bit too much, and the odd dodgy effect slips through the cracks. But they can’t really hold a candle to Diana crossing No Man’s Land. The same can be said of the supporting cast compared to the movie’s lead. Pine plays the familiar love interest role well enough, sparking off Gadot nicely. The main villains, Danny Huston’s Colonel Ludendorff and Elena Anaya’s Dr. Poison, are ill served by the movie’s plot, reduced to the same moustache twirling, cackling (quite literally at one point) bad guys we’ve seen time and time again. Ares had the potential to be a compelling villain, but we spend so little time with him, that he becomes just another throwaway bad guy.

While Wonder Woman has some flaws, the redemption of the DCEU begins here with this thrilling adventure that also proves, when it comes to super heroics on the big screen, the girls can do it just as well as the boys. Lets hope the DCEU installments that follow reach the high bar set by this one.


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The Movie Bit: Wonder Woman Review
Wonder Woman Review
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