Wonder Woman (Movie Review)
Wonder Woman Arrives
It started with Man of Steel (2013) then came Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. The world was introduced to a new hero, Diana Prince who one day would become Wonder Woman. Nearly 4 years ago, Zack Snyder made the decision to cast Gal Gadot as the DCEU's Wonder Woman. The decision made for a lot of fan chatter as some DC faithfuls believed it was a miscast on Snyder's part. Fast forward to the release of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, although it was met with mixed reactions from fans and critics alike, a few positives did come out of it. Gal Gadot's portrayal of Wonder Woman or at least presence created enough intrigue on the slated Wonder Woman film. A little over a year since the release of BvS, Wonder Woman hit the big screen and here is our review.
Fans criticism over the casting Gal Gadot were quickly put to rest as the one and true shining glory of Wonder Woman is Gal Gadot's portrayal of Wonder Woman! Gal Gadot's acting in the film draws you in, you begin to feel compassion and wonder much like Diana once she leaves paradise island (Themyscira). The innocence Gadot gives the character makes you fall in love with not only Diana but Gal Gadot as well. She is funny, caring, strong, determined, and relatable. Gadot reinvents the character, from the start of the film you see present day Diana and she looks and feels weathered down by all the tragedies brought upon the earth by man over the many years she has lived among them. When we are suddenly taken back to her beginnings you see a tonal shift not only in the film but in Diana herself. She is innocent, naive but it doesn't dumb her character because she has been protected by the island. Steve Trevor crashes in the waters of Themyscira and is saved Diana, this is when the film really starts to pick up.
The chemistry between Gadot and Pine is undeniable and is what really sells the film once it gets going. Chris Pine is another wonderful gem in the film. Pine was easily the most relatable of all the characters, he was the audiences POV. Pine did a great job creating the chemistry between Trevor and Diana that by the end you are rooting for a happily ever after even if we as the audience know that is not the case. Pine could have come off as this macho alpha male soldier but instead he was endearing and it was easy to see why Diana just gravitated towards him and just made for a better romance. I think we all want to be like Steve Trevor, Chris Pine captures the essence of the character while also giving him more depth and a more emotional arc.
The team Steve and Diana form which is highlighted in BvS with the photo is also a strong dynamic in the film. Where they could have felt secondary they didn't. They immediately fit into the story and each member had their own moments with Diana that felt genuine and believable. Lets not forget the amazons themselves, Connie Nielsen as Queen Hippolyta, Diana's mother gives a great performance, struggling to tell her daughter the truth or to let her train to become a warrior. Robin Wright as Antiope, Diana's aunt and fiercest warrior does a great job making you believe she is this great and fables warrior. Now comes just a few negatives that aren't really negatives but things I noticed through out the film. First was some of the slow-mo used during the battles and fight scenes, when this happened you can easily tell that a character is fully CGI which almost take me out of the movie a bit. The use of the slow-mo was fine because it was used to showcase the Amazonian fighting style but it did hurt when it came to my last point of telling apart the CGI from the actual actor. My last negative, the villains in the film almost seem unnecessary until the very end when it is revealed who the actual villain is.
The score by Rupert Gregson-Williams is beautiful and powerful, every song fits and it enhances the film and the emotions beats of the more heart pounding scenes. The Wonder Woman theme from Hans Zimmer makes a return with a slight remix but overall the music in the film is touching and brings out the feelings from you.
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD
Touching a little further into the films plot, the relationship between Diana and Steve is one of the most important parts of the film. Along with her own personal growth into one day becoming the hero for justice, Diana relies on her belief of man as good. In one of the most powerful scenes when Diana kills Ludendorff who she believes to be Ares, she and Steve exchange a bit of dialogue that I will paraphrase but went somewhere along the lines of this, "Maybe we're to blame, maybe we're not all good, but we have it in us" this is where the film really makes you reflect and the entire film in general does that but it is here that we are left to our thoughts on how we perceive ourselves as people, good or bad. Now comes the most heart wrenching moment in the film which happens during the third acts climax. Diana is barely beating Ares and Steve has a plan to save the lives of those who could be affected by the release of Dr. Poison's deadly gas. Steve says something to a dazed Diana and then he hands her his watch and he runs off while Diana returns to fight Ares. Steve takes control of the plane which has the gas and takes it up to the sky, meanwhile Diana is trapped by Ares and watches as Steve takes up the plane. Knowing that he is about to sacrifice his life Steve points his gun at the flammable containers of gas and before pulling the trigger takes a moment to breathe, he smiles and then we see the explosion from Diana's POV. This moment was so critical and it left people in the audience silent and crying. This moment gives Diana the strength to escape, but instead of releasing her wrath she instead decides to let love win, she remembers what Steve's last words were after he handed her the watch, "I love you." Diana realizes the sacrifice made by Steve was one of love. She decides to spare Dr. Poison and defeats Ares. Gal Gadot's acting in these final sequences truly captured who Wonder Woman was and is. You as an audience member felt that pain, loss & love.
Overall, the film is great with barely anything to complain about. The acting is great, music enhances the experience and action & story is well directed by Patty Jenkins.