It’s a relief to be able to say that Wonder Woman is the best superhero movie so far in the rebooted DC universe. Given that all director Patty Jenkins had to do was tell a more compelling and coherent story than Man of Steel, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad, that is not as powerful a statement as it should be, but this origin story sees the franchise take a big step in the right direction.
That’s commendable, because there’s a big – perhaps even unfair – responsibility dumped at Wonder Woman’s door, being the first major superhero film to sport a female lead. Thor and Iron Man aren’t saddled with questions of whether they champion female empowerment, or if their characters pass the Bechdel test – although, ironically, they should be, or we wouldn’t even be having this conversation. Safe to say, Wonder Woman is, for the most part, the film female comic-book fans have been waiting for. The early scenes on Themyscira alone, which see a young Diana, princess of the Amazons, begin her journey from naïve young girl to formidable warrior, are powerfully crafted and beautifully shot.
When a spy working with British intelligence (Chris Pine) crash lands on the mysterious hidden island, he brings World War I with him. Following an epic beach battle, Diana (Gal Gadot) decides to leave with him to fight the good fight. Some chauvinist overtones aside during the (albeit occasionally cute) fish-out-of-water scenes, Diana’s eventual introduction to war is one of the film’s most impressive moments. While Pine and Gadot make for a good pairing, it’s a shame he’s given as much sway as he is – you just can’t imagine Thor deferring to Jane as much as Diana does to Steven.
For all its good early work, the finale is something of a let-down. Ares the War God should be a truly formidable foe, especially given the powers he displays, but the boss fight fizzles when it should spark – something true of all too many superhero flicks. Still, this is a confident, competent entry for a truly iconic comic character, and will hopefully pave the way for more diversity in our cinemas given the stranglehold these films have on our viewing schedules.
Release: Out Now
From: Warner Bros.
Format: Theatrical Release
Age Rating: 12A