To say that Wonder Woman is one of the most anticipated movies of the summer is, put simply, an understatement. This film is easily one of the most anticipated films of all time, with an unimagineable amount of pressure on the shoulders of director Patty Jenkins, and star, Gal Gadot. With the future of the DC Entertainment Universe, and female-led films all laid at their feet, it would be enough to sink anyone else.
However, these aren’t normal filmmakers. Nor are they normal stars. The crew behind Wonder Woman is clearly one of the most passionate to ever be put behind, or on camera, and it’s evident based on the powerfully near-flawless movie they’ve created. Hit the jump for my long-awaited thoughts on Wonder Woman.
I am a DC Comics fan at heart, with the Trinity being legends to me, and the Green Lantern and Plastic Man being my two favorite heroes of all time. So, yes, it’s important to me that the DC Entertainment Universe make better movies, because it means a lot to me that these amazing heroes be put on the silver screen and faithful and well-adapted fashion. Wonder Woman does this so effortlessly, and so beautifully that I’m hard-pressed to find anything bad to say.
Gal Gadot first debuted as Diana Prince in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, and while that movie wasn’t great by any means, she stood out as a bright spot. That gave many of us hope that her solo film would be good. Her rendition of the Princess of Themyscira in this film is so spot-on. So beautiful. So innocent, and full of wonder. She embodies the compassion and love of Diana so wonderfully, that she is without a doubt the pillar upon which the DCEU will stand. Much like Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark.
There’s a moment in the film, after arriving in man’s world, that Diana spots a crying baby on the sidewalk, and immediately shouts and runs over, in awe of seeing a child for the first time. It’s a moment so small, but so important to the character of Diana Prince. It shows you just how innocent she really is in a world full of death and destruction. We spend the next 30 minutes following her across the battlefield, in an attempt to reach the front, and defeat Ares, as she says. Diana, and her rag-tag group of allies traverse various battlefields, each time stepping in and refusing to allow her to do anything to help them. Claiming that it’s out of her power. When that moment finally swells up, and Diana has had enough, it culminates in one of the most powerful moments ever put on screen.
Diana sheds her disguise, revealing her grand battle armor, and steps directly into the middle of fire. Bullets ricocheting off her gauntlets, as she grows more confident with each step. Her allies step in, and suddenly we’re thrust into one of the most amazing action sequences I’ve ever seen, with that epic electric cello that has now become synonymous with the character, ringing through our ears. I had goosebumps.
Chris Pine also easily put in one of the best performances of his career. Effortlessly balancing being a hero caught between two worlds. In his world, Steve Trevor is a hero. Putting his life in danger for his country, as he infiltrates enemy territory for espionage purposes. But upon seeing someone so pure and innocent as Diana, he re-thinks what it means to be a hero. What it means to sacrifice for the good of the world. Both figuratively, and literally, as the moment when Trevor sacrifices himself to stop Dr. Poison’s gas from reaching London is gut-wrenching. Diana’s screams of agony, knowing that the first man she had ever met, ever known, and ever loved, sacrificed his life for the good of the world. “I’ll save today. You save the future,” he says, as he gives Diana his Father’s watch. Knowing he won’t make it back. A powerful moment, in a film full of them.
Even the villains of the film stand out above the average crowd. Dr. Poison is menacing, and terrifying in her love of agony, and punishing the world around her. Her screen time is limited, but she makes absolute incredible use of what she’s given. Hopefully, in some capacity, we see her again one day. Even the twist of the true identity of Ares, while not unexpected (Thanks, Internet!) was still as palpable as it could have ever been. With Sir Patrick going from one extreme to an unsettling complete 180.
Best of all, the film balances such an extreme amount of heart, with fantastic humor. The scenes on the boat after leaving Themyscira, and most of the scenes in London were great, and really showed that DC has learned much from their past forays. It’s a beautiful movie, with some of the best performances of the year, and, barring something crazy happening, will most likely be my Movie of the Year when the end of the year rolls around.
Overall, my hope is that Wonder Woman sets the tone for the rest of the DC Entertainment Universe. With great humor, incredible performances, stunning action sequences, and the perfect amount of heart and compassion, Wonder Woman is simply Wonderful.