Movie Review: “Wonder Woman”

Movie Reviews Design

The DC cinematic universe has been a complete mess. With sub-par films such as “Man of Steel” and “Suicide Squad” (though I liked that one) and the complete disaster that was “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” DC has had a really rough time getting their feet off the ground.

When it was announced that a stand-alone film of “Wonder Woman” was being released, fans everywhere were naturally nervous as the first female superhero film to be produced was going to be fronted by a studio who has proven they don’t know how to make a proper superhero film. I had hopes for the movie, but expectations were low. I was wrong. So, so wrong.

Not only is “Wonder Woman” the greatest DC movie ever made — that’s including Christopher Nolan’s holy “Batman” trilogy — but “Wonder Woman” is also the best superhero film to be released since Marvel’s “Captain America: Winter Soldier.”

Raised on the island of Themyscira, Princess Diana (Gal Gadot giving a performance that can only be described as perfection) has spent her entire life training to become the greatest warrior the world has ever seen. When an American spy (Chris Pine) crashes on her island, she learns of a great war — World War 1 — that is taking place in the world and she makes the decision to leave her home behind and help the people of earth fight their battle.

There’s a lot of pressure on this movie. I’ve felt sorry for not only the character of Wonder Woman herself but also for Gadot as the future of female-starring superhero movies all depend on this one movie. If it succeeds then it will open the door to more but if it fails, it’ll be a long time, if ever, that we’ll see another movie like this come along. Luckily for us, this movie delivered in every way possible and has surpassed every obstacle and expectation that has been thrown its way.

I’m not generally one who tries to get myself too involved or fired up in the issue regarding more female leads in movies. I know, that makes me sound terrible but I just don’t have a lot to say on the matter other than yeah I agree. I know this movie means a lot to women everywhere and the level of excitement and hope I could feel for this movie will never match the excitement and hope they felt waiting for the release for this movie.

While watching this movie, I couldn’t help but feel like I was watching the beginning of movie history being made. The moment we first see Diana step out in her costume and engage in her first real battle sent chills throughout my entire body. There were several moments that gave me goosebumps all over but I won’t go into them as not spoil the experience for you. I hate for this to sound too political or preachy but this is a film that every woman should be proud to go and see. It’s a huge step forward for women in film, especially in a genre that exists only in a man’s world. The entire time watching this movie you’re going to be asking yourself why did it take so long for us to get here? It’s one of the few films I honestly believe you will always remember how you felt the first time you watched it.

Gadot carries the film entirely on her shoulders alone and does it with so little effort. From the moment she steps on screen you’re captivated by her and not just because she’s one of the most beautiful women alive. She has a presence around her that demands your attention and you give it to her for the entire two hours and 21 minutes. My favorite part of this movie was not only the performance she gives, but the performance of her male costar. Gadot and Pine have great chemistry together and even though they sneak a love story into the plot, it doesn’t feel fake or forced. It’s a natural progression and drives the plot forward.

The interesting part about their relationship is that Gadot’s Diana is written the way a man would be written and Pine’s character is written almost the way a woman would be. Pine (who does serve a purpose and is useful) is often written as a “damsel-in-distress” in need of rescuing and at times, is the eye candy of the movie. It sometimes feels like his story is there to serve her arch and move her story forward. Gadot on the other hand is the hero, the one does all the rescuing and single handedly stops an entire army on the battlefield. Her costume covers her body and not only does she save the world, but she also gets the guy while doing it. The feminism in this movie is really obvious but it’s done in such a subtle way that it never feels preachy or over the top which is what I was hoping this film would go for.

Both the male and female leads are treated as equals more than anything which is what I liked. Yes, Pine serves as the “woman” at times but he also proves to be handy and is given something to do. They see each other as equals and treat each other as such. The film focuses more on the unity and equality of a team, rather than a solo act which also helps the film a lot. It’s subtly telling us that rather than have one gender be over the other, let’s stand side by side, work together and see what we can do.

A lot of the reason this film handled its message so well is because the film is directed by a woman — Patty Jenkins (who is also the first woman director to direct a superhero film). Again I hate for this to sound preachy and over the top, but only a woman would really know how to handle a female superhero film the right way. Only a woman could show the way she was meant to be seen without over-sexualizing her or being too over the top with everything. Jenkins does a fine job at keeping this movie at the exact tone it needs to be and for that I say job well done.

“Wonder Woman” is at times rather breathtaking. It’s funny, well-paced, exciting and the battle sequences are beautifully choreographed. It’s been a long time since I saw movie that made me feel like I needed to stand up and cheer at the end but “Wonder Woman” made me do so. I didn’t stand (because no one else would’ve…) but I did give her the round of applause she deserves.

The bottom line: “Wonder Woman” is the film DC has needed in order to save itself from complete failure and embarrassment. If this movie is any indication for how future DC films are going to be, then Marvel better watch its back. “Wonder Woman” is one of the best superhero films you will ever see and I can’t think of any movie this year that will have you walking out as happy as you will be when you walk out of this one.

—keithariaz1@gmail.com