Movie Review: Wonder Woman (Warner)

Since 2013, Warner Brothers and DC Comics had a rough start in regards to building a cohesive cinematic universe. Much like Marvel, DC Comics has a pantheon of characters worthy […]

Since 2013, Warner Brothers and DC Comics had a rough start in regards to building a cohesive cinematic universe. Much like Marvel, DC Comics has a pantheon of characters worthy of cinematic presence. Batman and Superman pioneered and had dozens of films, but rarely did Warner Brothers and DC ever try to introduce anyone that wasn’t Superman nor Batman.

In 2011 audiences saw Green Lantern, and it failed to launch a potential cinematic universe. 2013, Zack Snyder’s and co-create Man of Steel, which was a rocky start but was the first jump for a cinematic universe. Divided, it would be more difficult for WB and DC once Batman v Superman was released in 2016, causing mixed reaction, along with Suicide Squad. While financially successful, it didn’t bode well with critics. Despite its flaws, Gal Gadot’s portrayal of Wonder Woman in Batman v Superman was well received, but WB and DC’s cinematic future was in doubt. After 13 years, could there be a good, and successful Female led superhero movie, let alone a good DC Comics movie? And if you’re wondering if this movie was gonna tank, I’m here to reassure that it doesn’t tank, it soars in all the best ways possible. Wonder Woman is surely the first and most confident step in the right direction for Warner and DC Comics, along with Superhero films as a whole.

The movie is set during the time of World War I. It’s centered around Diana Prince, the daughter of Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazon’s. For centuries the Amazon’s and the island of Themyscira have remained hidden from the sight and wars of mankind.  Diana questions if there is more to the world she lives in, beyond what the gods and the Amazon’s have informed her. It is not until a shipwrecked pilot named Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) crash lands onto the island and reveals that there is a war the lives of everyone. That is unless Diana can stop it. Diana embarks on a journey that’ll take her from Themyscira and into the heart of war,  where she will defeat Ares the god of war, and end the war that plagues man. But, that is just the beginning of her quest, as she will learn as the movie goes along.

The Film: the film examines different aspects beyond the superhero conventions. It examines War, and what it does to people. It examines sexism, and even examines aspects of racism, genocide etc. The movie pushes Diana to understand the flaws, potential the ugliness, evils, as well as the potential good in mankind. Diana is thrust into situations where she has to put her foot down and stand firm when no one else can, nor would. In each situation, whether socially, internally, spiritually and physically, she is challenged. She learns and grows as she traverses within society, seeing different points of views while also reaffirming her own. It’s a very human film that really glimmers Ray’s of hope and pushes viewers to see the potential bad and good that humanity is capable of. But unlike the prior DC films of the DCEU, it actually sticks the landing in regards to the story, pacing, and execution. Everything within the film is well placed and thought-out as best as possible. The humor and action balanced out in a satisfying way. The are appropriately timed moments of humor, while also providing serious moments that really cement the severity of the battles that Diana and Steve face. Much like any other films, slow motion shots appear here and there. Some people may or may not like it depending on their tastes.  Despite that, the movie makes up for its flaws due to its heartfelt story about a person, a woman, who is willing to reel humanity away from the darkness by pushing them into the light.

   There are certain twists and turns within the film that are actually surprisingly satisfying in regards to the villains involved within the film.  Most people felt that Superman should have been like this in regards to Batman v Superman. In context to the film universe, Superman isn’t a perfect person, and whatever hope he was supposed to give off, is lost in translation to most audiences due to either the execution of story /writing. But that’s where Wonder Woman gets it right. It’s able to go to dark places without being consumed by the darkness that Wonder Woman inhabits. It’s able to cast a light and ensure that no matter how dark things get, there will always be a brighter day. As long as love perseveres, war cannot win.

The Cast: Gal Gadot has now officially crowned herself as The Wonder Woman. Her portrayal encapsulates a combination of Susan Eisenberg and Lynda Carter’s confidence and compassionate characteristics that have kept Wonder Woman relevant within the times of today. Gadot’s portrayal displays a character that is well rounded. She isn’t one-dimensional, she is confident, but at times has moments of doubt, and displays a wide range of emotions that show that Wonder Woman is a humanistic figure. Wanting to even the playing field for people, while also lifting women up in spirit and strength as an essential and valid voice and conscience within society.  

Chris Pine would have made a great Hal Jordan, but either way, he makes for a good live action version of Steve Trevor. Patty Jenkins as a director does a solid job at not only taking numerous influences of the characters mythology, but she has managed to channel the very essence of Wonder Woman, and successfully deliver a cinematic interpretation that is much like her comic counterpart, yet unique to her own.

The rest of the cast are solid and the comrades that accompany  Diana and Trevor have solid personalities that compliment Captain America: The First Avenger in a sense. Eugene Brave Rock, Said Taghmaoui and Ewen Bremner portray Chief, Sameer and Charlie, the rag tag group of men that assist Wonder Woman within the film.  Each character exploits different facets of war, life, and society in various ways. Other characters such as the Amazon’s are fierce and intimidating. There is an interesting order to their society that audiences will probably develop more interest in seeing more of their society.  Despite the fact that there isn’t enough time to see the Amazon’s more, the actresses that play them do enough with their regal presence and performance.  Hopefully it won’t be the last time audiences see them. The villains in the film are down right evil, and in all the best ways possible. They’re ruthless and unforgiving, and snicker with every vile action carried out. Danny Huston plays a convincingly smug and villainous figure that’ll have audiences wondering who his character Ludendorff really is, but that’s for the movie to reveal, not the reviewer.

The Visuals: The visuals are vibrant and beautiful. Whether it’s the island of Themyscira, a war torn battlefield or a fight scene, the cinematography in this film is amazing. To see so much color within the film makes the movie lively. It’s as if one was looking at the vibrant colors of a Michael Turner illustration come to life.  The colors are so distinct that it makes one wish that Batman v Superman utilized the color pallets of this film. Hopefully Justice League will learn from this films choice of color scheme along with strong storytelling.

Overall, Wonder Woman is the DC movie that people have been waiting to see. Now this isn’t because it’s solely due to this movie being a Wonder Woman, it’s because it is a DC film that finally nails what a DC comic is like.  It’s an adventurous, action packed and emotional film that does its best effort to inspire hope. The other films of the DCEU had difficulty translating that. The fact that it’s taken 13 years for another female lead superhero film is one thing, but to have a director like Patty Jenkins bring Wonder Woman to glorious life is a historical moment in comic book and cinematic history. There have been some female lead superhero films, but most of them never successfully executed the landing. This moc will make you laugh, it’ll make you cheer and most definitely it’ll make you excited for where the character will go next. It’s a solid superhero film that offers something different, and that is definitely worth the price of admission.

Wonder Woman opens on Friday, June 2nd.

Anthony Andujar Jr.

About Anthony Andujar Jr.