It’s fair to say that the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) has been disappointingly underwhelming so far. With their rivals Marvel seeming to roll off hit after hit, releases such as Suicide Squad, and more importantly, Dawn of Justice (DoJ) did not garner the attention they would have expected. While DoJ was frankly all over the place, one of the brightest sparks in the film was the introduction of Wonder Women, who now has her own solo outing. Can this be the vital turning point for the future of the DCEU? Or will it once again fail to deliver?
While Wonder Women shone in DoJ, we knew very little about the character herself, apart from being mighty handy with a sword! Wonder Women follows the journey of Diana of Themyscira AKA Diana Price (Gal Gadot) growing up and training on the paradise island of Themyscira. But trouble soon hits the island after Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), a pilot for the British army crashes nearby, drawing the attention of the pursuing German army to the island. Diana soon takes it upon herself to leave the island, and rid the world of war.
One of the most common criticisms of prior DC movies were the grim colour palette they adopted. The dark filters all over the movies did not give the films much soul, even Superman’s costume is a dark navy! But here, the film is gorgeous, the scenes especially on Themyscira are vivid and rich is colour. It may be a purely cosmetic aspect, but it makes the film just looks so much more appealing right away! Even Wonder Women’s armour in DoJ was a dull brown/bronze. Here, its back to the iconic blue & red!
But what about movie, does it stand up to the pleasing aesthetic’s of the film? It may have taken a long time, but it’s safe to say, that the DCEU finally has a bona fide smash hit! Patty Jenkins has managed to create a movie that manages to combine the charm of the comics with some exhilarating action set pieces. Female superhero movies do not have the best of track records. Catwomen (2004) & Elektra (2005) , the last two female heroes, were dire, and their effects probably explain the severe lack of movies with female heroes. Even Black Widow from Marvel still has no movie! WW does not fall into the same traps, and makes Diana look like a bigger threat to Superman than Batman!
You can probably describe the movie as a mash up of The First Avenger & Thor. With it’s setting during World War I and wartime London, along with the social fish out of water, who struggles to integrate into a new way of life! The film knows when it can afford to be funny, and not looked forced. Her interactions in London provide most of the comic relief, but the jokes work well. Whereas Suicide Squad underwent various cuts, to be more humorous to the audience!
By far, the best parts of the film are the combat scenes. When she isn’t walking alone into No Man’s Land during intense gunfire, she pretty much knees a soldier through a building! All the combat sequences are choreographed well, in such a way, it doesn’t look ridiculous on why her hand to hand combat works effectively against an army of armed soldiers! The film also makes good use of her other weapons in her armory, such as the Lasso of Truth, which let’s be honest, could have looked very cheesy if done wrong! The film does well to not mention her gender constantly on the battle field. The soldiers are more impressed with her sheer bravery and power than the fact it’s a women out there.
Gal Gadot’s casting as Diana is pretty much spot on, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see if this role is associated with her like Tony Stark & Robert Downey Jr. Chris Pine as Steve Trevor provides a great support character & love interest. But it never seems forced upon the audience, and Steve has a great character arc for himself. His charm brings a lot of likability to his character. His secretary, Etta Candy (Lucy Davies) may just be there for the humour, but she provides a jovial foil, to a movie that is about death and war.
It’s not all good news though, and where the film does fall flat is with the antagonists. General Ludendorff (Danny Huston) & Doctor Poison (Elena Anaya) never feel like a serious threat during the entire movie. You just know WW could probably knee them through a building without a seconds thought (yes, that kneeing someone through a building scene is amazing!). But the villains do introduce the element of Magic into the DCEU, which should play a large role down the road. Also, the final battle does seem to be a tad dull. It looks spectacular, but it just feels a bit rushed, just a head on fist fight, and its done. Also the accents are never consistent, some characters speak with a strong British#German accent, whiles others do not, just a slight knit pick!
That being said, it should not detract from this being one of the biggest hits of the year. It is a shame that this film didn’t come of before DoJ, as it would have made sense to have her solo outing before the ensemble performance. But the films splendid action, chemistry between our two leads, fantastic musical score and lore make Wonder Woman a great addition to the DCEU, and finally gives the big screen a strong powerful female superhero.
3 Word Review…..
About Time DC!