Wonder Woman (2017) Director: Patty Jenkins
“I will fight for those who cannot fight for themselves.”
In spite of being a kitschy superhero movie, Wonder Woman is a surprisingly fun and optimistic take on the hero genre –a change of pace from the bleak weight of Justice League. At least Wonder Woman doesn’t fall into the relatively predictable traps laid by so many other big budget movies out there. According to popular consensus, Wonder Woman is a rare bright spot in the DC cinematic universe, and since I recently took an interest in exploring some parts of the DC world, I figured I would give it a shot.
Gal Gadot gives a spot-on performance as the demigod Diana (or “Wonder Woman”), daughter of Queen Hippolyta of the Amazons (Connie Nielsen). The film is told in a flashback as Diana (later referred to as “Diana Prince”) is given a photograph of herself standing next to several men in World War I. The photograph is given to her by Wayne Enterprises, thus connecting this narrative to others in the DC universe. Diana is raised on the secret secluded island of Themyscira where her mother Queen Hippolyta allows her to be trained as a warrior by Antiope (Robin Wright). One day (the context is during World War I), a plane crashes in the waters around Themyscira –it turns out to be an American pilot and spy named Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) who is working undercover against the Germans. He has recently escaped from Germany with a secret notebook belonging to Dr. Maru (Elena Anaya), a sadistic chemist working on a poison gas formula which can cause widespread devastation. Diana decides to go against the received wisdom of her people, and she travels with Steve to London where she hopes to help end the war by killing Ares, the god of war. Along the way, there is a not-so-subtle sexual tension between them both as they stumble into all sorts of hijinks due to the fact that Diana is unfamiliar with this strange new world.
At any rate, they encounter an amusing cast of characters and head straight for the trench warfare along the frontlines. Diana quickly marches straight into no man’s land and sends the Germans fleeing as she deflects machine gun bullets. After rescuing a nearby village, Diana and Steve travel behind enemy lines to infiltrate the German army. At first, Diana battles a German General named Ludendorff (Danny Huston) whom she believes to be the embodiment of Ares, but after killing him, the war continues. Until Ares revels himself to be Sir Patrick (David Thewlis), a proponent for peace in the British Government. It is an odd contradiction for his character. In the end, Sir Patrick/Ares and Diana/Wonder Woman fight to the death while Steve sacrifices himself to destroy the poison gas while flying in a plane up into the atmosphere. Diana spares Dr. Maru and decides to help humanity despite its many failings. As the film closes, Diana sends an email to Bruce Wayne thanking him for the photograph of her standing next to Steve during World War I.
While this type of movie is not my usual cup-of-tea, I can still appreciate what Patty Jenkins accomplished here –an optimistic, a-divisive, historically-inspired superhero epic. With expectations so low for film like Wonder Woman and Aquaman, at least they weren’t terrible. These are not amazing works of art, but you can find a lot worse in the superhero genre than Wonder Woman or Aquaman.
Most overwhelming movies versions of TV and comic book superheroes these days are not my cup of tea either. Certainly in reflection of everything I liked about Lynda Carter’s Wonder Woman TV series. But Gal Gadot indeed makes quite an impression. Thank you for your review.
LikeLiked by 2 people