a critiQal film review Wonder Woman (2017)

Plot: Before she was Wonder Woman (Gadot), she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, trained to be an unconquerable warrior. Raised on a sheltered island paradise, Diana meets an American pilot (Pine) who tells her about the massive conflict that's raging in the outside world. Convinced that she can stop the threat, Diana leaves her home for the first time. Fighting alongside men in a war to end all wars, she finally discovers her full powers and true destiny.

707 words (Est. Reading Time 3m 32s)

With Justice League (2017) lighting up the box office this weekend, it seemed a good time to look back on the solo outing for one of the members, namely that little film called Wonder Woman. After the character was finally introduced to audiences in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), it was exciting to hear the long-awaited film was finally in production.

But, would this film – which has been started and stopped so many times over the past decade – be worth our time? Our was DC planning to follow-up the disappointment that was Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) with another blockbuster letdown?

Gal Gadot returns as Princess Diana/Wonder Woman, and does a good job of keeping the superhero intact. While Henry Cavill’s Supes has been kind of a letdown, Gadot’s female superhero seems to hit all the necessary spots. She’s at her best when Diana is learning about the small stuff in the “new world” (like ice cream, or fashion), but when she suits up and takes action as Wonder Woman, she seems to bring a whole new level of fun to the role.

The rest of the cast of Wonder Woman do well in their roles also. On the island, Robin Wright (The Princess Bride (1987)) shines in a role outside of her norm. Chris Pine is just enough bravado and awkwardness to make his character appealing – on and off the island. Joining Gadot and Pine in the “real world”, Ewen Bremner (who hasn’t popped up outside of T2 Trainspotting (2017) in a long while) is a likeable fellow, as is the rest of their merry band – with a standout performance given especially by Lucy Davis as Etta the secretary.

THe plot, thankfully, is a true origin story, which is what Wonder Woman needed. Showcasing her growth on the island, then her first venture into the “real world”, it allows the viewer to get to know the character, and experience her life changing moments with her. Director Patty Jenkins does a good job of giving Diana her due, mixing in her training experiences and the main points of the action with things like Diana experiencing ice cream for the first time. It’s the little touches that give the character some life, and Jenkins does a good job of showcasing those without losing sight of the main plot.

The special effects are interspersed well within the film, and are top-notch, as expected. Like it’s predecessor, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), the key players are somewhat hard to find during the final sequences, but not quite as difficult as they were in the previous film. Thankfully, the special effects don’t falter, which is one of the many things DC is learning from Marvel’s success.

Wonder Woman does rip off Marvel a bit, with it’s war-torn origin story (a la Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)), but in the film, it makes sense. What else would draw an Amazonian off the island other than WWI? And is it a coincidence that World War and Wonder Woman have the same initials? Probably not. Even though there are going to be plenty of comparisons between the two films, Wonder Woman still manages to stand on it’s own, and the comparisons (while maybe not always favorable), still won’t diminish the film too much.

While Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) just has that little something extra, Wonder Woman showcases that DC is learning from Marvel on how to present their heroic characters. While they had it down pat back with Batman Begins (2005), they seemed to have had trouble making anyone but Batman worth the time, with Superman being on the steepest learning curve. With Wonder Woman they finally manage to make another hero explode onto the screen. And, by presenting viewers with a female superhero, they are actually a step ahead of Marvel (Captain Marvel, Marvel’s first attempt at putting a female superhero in her own film, isn’t due out until 2019).

Wonder Woman is a good showcase for the iconic female superhero, and it shows DC is learning how to present it’s heroes for the next generation. But, will this upward trend continue, or are they reaching at their own superhero team-up too quickly with Justice League (2017)? Guess we’ll find out soon enough – but until you get to the theaters, don’t miss Wonder Woman. It’s worth your time.

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