Depending on who you ask, Wonder Woman is either exactly what women (and movies) need right now, or you’re living under a rock rewatching Suicide Squad over and over again trying to convince everyone it’s actually good.
If you were even the slightest bit offended by the female-only screening of Wonder Woman kindly stop reading and move along. Your idiocy is neither needed nor welcome.
It’s pretty shocking that it’s taken so long for there to be a super “heroine” flick (not looking at you Catwoman–nobody is) because the need and want is there, but nobody seems to be listening.
So there was quite a bit riding on Wonder Woman for various reasons. First of all it is about a woman—and unfortunately women constantly have to prove themselves to a higher degree than men do to be successful. Second, because it is tragically the first major superhero movie directed by a woman, which ties into the third factor of the DC Extended Universe entirely devastating most of their movies by interfering with director’s works and trying to play catch-up with Marvel. It was my biggest hope that they would stay the fuck out of Wonder Woman. Thankfully they did, or at least they let the formidable Patty Jenkins do her thing without too much involvement.
Wonder Woman, as it has already been said by people better qualified to be praising it, is like a beacon of light in this dark time. It is bold, epic, and most importantly—fun. It’s by far the best DCEU movie by miles—which really isn’t saying much but it is truly a damn fine film. Taking us from her early days in Themyscira (a place we regrettably get too short a time in) through her training, transformation, and trial by fire, the nearly 2.5 hour movie hardly feels its length with the exception of some unnecessarily cheesy dialogue and stretched-out scenes.
Gal Gadot dons the armor once again, this time taking the full spotlight. She is fierce but fun, daring but conscientious. Her real life martial arts and military training make her Wonder Woman an even more formidable force. But she also brings a certain naivety—owed to her mother’s keeping her in the dark for years about her purpose and the world outside their protected island—that is endearing but also empowering. Taking place during WWI, she is a fish out of water which opens up the doors for some harsh criticisms on the gender roles at the time. She can hardly fathom the attire of the time while men balk at her courage and skills, even if she’s far more talented than all of them combined.
Her partner, Steve Trevor (played by the always charming Chris Pine) crash lands in Themyscira only to be whisked along on a journey to hopefully end the war before Dr. Maru(Elena Anaya) and Erich Ludendorff (Danny Huston) release a deadly poison on the world. Trevor is delightfully uncomfortable and unmatched to Wonder Woman in a swap of the gender roles we’ve come to expect making for an indelible partnership that we can only wish to see continue.
Along the way some other faces appear, but much like the problems of something like Rogue One, due to the timing constraints (this takes place a century before the events of Batman v. Superman) we can’t help but accept the fact that this is the only time we spend with them. Etta Candy (played by Lucy Davis), Steve’s secretary is one such face. She only has a few lines but each one makes you want all the more of her.
As an origin story, Wonder Woman does everything it needs to without trying to cram in other super heroes that would otherwise steal the spotlight, but it left me wanting more scenes on Themyscira, more action (especially with the dazzling whip), and less of the sense that most of the characters were expendable. But its really hard to gripe when everything else is so great.
After much concern that Wonder Woman would fall to the same fates as Suicide Squad, BvS, and even Fantastic Four, it seems as though the studios (at least in this case) have kept their fingers out of meddling with a truly spectacular film. Sure it isn’t perfect, but what it does well, it does so to the degree of which every super hero movie needs to be made. Attention to character, emotions, and love. These movies might be mostly about fighting, but there is still love and hope out there.
Wonder Woman brings them.