2017 – USA
Director: Patty Jenkins
Starring: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Danny Huston, Elena Anaya, David Thewlis, Connie Nielsen, Robin Wright
Words: Christian Abbott
The superhero movie is a staple of cinema; it has been now for over a decade. Year after year there is a deluge of films centered around some of our favourite caped crusaders (and some of our not-so-favourite). These films cannot be called a genre onto themselves, but rather a formula which can be retro-fitted onto a variety of genres – often to great effect.
Wonder Woman is no different; it is an out and out war movie. Set during the final weeks of WWI, we find Diana Prince, Wonder Woman herself (Gal Gadot) thrust into a world she could never have imagined – our own. Living on Paradise Island since birth, an island inhabited solely by Amazonian women, she witnesses a plane crash just offshore. That plane was piloted by Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), an undercover US operative whom warns the island of the war to end all wars. Diana hears of this and seeks to help humanity as it is not only her duty, but destiny.
Director Patty Jenkins has produced a film that feels entirely detached to the rest of the DCEU, to very much its benefit. Without the shackles of needing to adhere to an established continuity, being set 100 years apart from the events of the other films allows for that freedom. Patty Jenkins can flex her creative muscles and create a piece of genre-fiction like no other in modern Hollywood.
Shockingly, this is the first female led superhero film in over a decade, and is so far above the others in this sub-genre that they are not even worthy of note. DC has rightfully trusted their leading lady to start a franchise of her own that this seemingly non-risk has certainly paid off – almost entirely due to the two charismatic leads.
Gal Gadot as the title character fulfils all the requirements needed for such a character – she’s strong, fierce but gentle and kind, fish-out-of-water-funny and intelligent. Diana may be in unfamiliar lands but she certainly commands every scene.
Gadot’s entry into the DCEU was in last year’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and it was arguably the defining moment of that film. Expectations were high after seeing her more than hold her own against the two biggest heroes of all time – and for her, they’ve been met.
Steve Trevor, the love interest and charming but cocky soldier is equally delightful to watch. Chris Pine has finally come into his own here after a variety of misses and weakest links in other hit or miss franchises.
Together they form one of the most believable and engaging couples on screen. It is a joy to watch their scenes play out with both vying for control in a variety of increasingly audacious set-pieces.
For DC, this is a much needed crowd pleasing romp that should be enjoyed by many, for Patty Jenkins this is a career defining moment, for Gal Gadot the same and for women everywhere (and men), this is the superhero movie they have been waiting for.
A refreshing change from the dark and overly-serious tone of the DCEU and a wholly entertaining film in its own right.