Title – Wonder Woman (2017)
Director – Patty Jenkins (Monster)
Cast – Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, David Thewlis, Connie Nielson, Saïd Taghmaoui, Ewen Bremner, Danny Huston, Elena Anaya, Eugene Brave Rock, Robin Wright
Plot – Leaving her home on the female only island of Themyscira, Princess Diana (Gadot) of the Amazons teams up with American spy Steve Trevor (Pine) to help put an end to World War 1.
“I will fight for those who cannot fight for themselves”
Review by Eddie on 6/06/2017
For Jordan’s take on Wonder Woman CLICK HERE
It would’ve taken a brave soul to confidently go out and say that Wonder Woman would be a success.
Of course it was always likely to make some quick $$ for its studio and get extra airplay due to its female driven hero being the centrepiece of the feature, but on the back of DC Comics recent output of films that have made money, but not exactly found a place of fondness within peoples affections, Wonder Woman was always going to be a wait and see proposition.
It’s with some form of relief then that we can now safely say that Monster director Patty Jenkin’s reimaging of a character that has long been left in the shadows of her manly counterparts is a success, financially and critically, but this big budgeted comic book event hides its genre defined play by plays behind the fact it has a female leading proceedings, in a film that remains constantly fun but also utterly by the numbers.
In a marketplace that has been inundated with comic book blockbusters for over a decade, Wonder Woman’s story of Amazonian princess Diana leaving her idyllic all female only island life with Chris Pine’s World War 1 American spy Captain James Kirk (aka comic book favourite Steve Trevor) to hunt down some incredibly weak “German baddies” and put a stop to the warring and fighting, is a story not up to the energy and appealing nature of its heroine.
From the moment Diana hops onto a boat with Steve and sets sail to experience the world, we know where the story is heading and as is the unfortunate usual nature of modern day comic book films, Wonder’s Woman’s more nuanced and original ideas feel squandered on an overblown conclusion and rather terrible computer generated spectacle that feels cut from another movie altogether.
The finale is actually a rather glaring example of Wonder Woman’s often so-so CGI work that can at times take away from the visual pizazz and spectacle Jenkin’s and her team have delivered when bringing Diana’s whip and sword led carnage to life.
For a film with such strong production values elsewhere and budget to spare, it’s curious as to why CGI in such a tentpole picture would look often like nothing more than a slightly above average video game. It may sound like nit-picking, but for a film centred on what it can provide to its audience in a visual sense, it’s a big no-no.
Aside from some questionable CGI and lacking baddies (complete in one scene with a moment of almost Dr. Evil like laughter at their dastardly plans) Wonder Woman’s other unfortunate element is the fact that it seems as though the studio for all its talk and bluster, was afraid to let Wonder Woman fully take centre stage in her own film.
Tagged in the majority of the runtime with Pine right alongside her, as our Godly princess learns the ropes of the outside world and her own true powers, Pine gets to play a version of his Enterprise captain and have almost equal screen time as Gal Gadot’s incarnation, which is both a shame for the movie and for Gadot who really is the shining beacon of this otherwise standard event.
As she showcased in limited yet memorable screen time in Batman vs Superman, Gadot feels like the perfect fit for an icon like Diana Prince.
Showcasing the physical prowess, the smarts and the charisma the character needs, Gadot will no doubt become a newly minted superstar of the DC universe and whenever Gadot is allowed to take centre stage and get away from forced romantic flirtations with Pine or awkward costume fittings, Wonder Woman in full flight is a joyous sight to behold thanks to Gadot’s career making turn and hopefully a reason for future standalone events to take further time to shine the spotlight on her character and her screen presence.
From running headfirst into the battlefields of Europe or beating up goons in the back alleys of old school London, you can’t help but escape the feeling that Gadot and therefore Wonder Woman had more to give to this film than was eventually allowed.
Final Say –
Overcoming a rather laborious and cringe worthy opening act as well as some second rate visuals culminating in an unfortunately mediocre final stanza, when Wonder Woman herself is front and centre of this superhero film (with less of a difference than many would have you believe) it’s a fun popcorn event that sets up a nice stepping stone for future adventures.
As long as they agree to let Gadot do her thing without the help of a male offsider.
3 Captain Kirk doppelgangers out of 5