Wonder Woman, the fourth entry into the DC Extended Universe is finally in cinemas. We’ve had somewhat mixed to disappointing reactions to Man of Steel, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad. It’s time to ask that question we’re so fond of about Wonder Woman.
Holy heck, they actually did it! Wonder Woman isn’t just a good comic book movie, it’s a great one. The first female-led superhero movie in the new age of comic book movies, Wonder Woman stars Gal Gadot as the titular character. Gadot is front and centre this time around and she owns absolutely every single second she is on screen.
Set way before we meet her in modern times, the film takes us back to World War I, where we see a young Diana’s upbringing on the isolated Amazon island Themyscira. When American pilot Steve Trevor – Chris Pine – crash lands and brings news of the Great War, Diana believes this to be the work of Greek God Ares and sets out to stop him.
The chemistry of Gadot and Pine feels incredibly natural and you really do feel for the pair. This gives the film a strong emotional core from the get-go, something the other DC films have lacked. Gadot is the perfect combination of strong, beautiful and capable – a fantastic role model for women of all ages, and one that has been fairly lacking in the comic book movie department.
The supporting cast elevates the already strong leads. The team we caught a glimpse of in Batman V Superman plays an important role in the film. Ewen Bremner, Said Taghmaoui and Eugene Brave Rock help provide another layer to the film, bringing humour and a deeper sense of camaraderie.
Not forgetting, of course, Diana’s mother Queen Hippolyta, played by Connie Nielsen and the always wonderful Robin Wright as her aunt and mentor, General Antiope. Their screen time may not be much, but when they do appear their presence is certainly strong.
Director Patty Jenkins has crafted a truly wonderful film, all centered around a strong woman. The pacing and editing of the film is easily the best that DCEU has offered to date. Visually the movie is incredibly good looking. Themyscira is brightly coloured and lush, juxtaposed brilliantly with the bleak, dreariness of wartime London and the western front. Each location we visit feels unique and the sets and real locations blend together quite well most of the time.Now the movie isn’t perfect and it does have a few issues. The action is incredibly well done – the choreography and filming style is engaging and exciting. My only problem is the “fast-slow-mo” that pops up in the action scenes. Things move normally, then we have slow-motion section before returning to regular speed. This happens in almost every action sequence and it felt incredibly overdone by the end of the film.
The third act, in my opinion, is also the weakest. Nothing is inherently wrong with the story they tell here, rather the presentation of it. The movie becomes overloaded with CGI in the third act, completely saturating the screen. By comparison, the Doomsday sequence in BvS felt tame. The exposition is sometimes dolled out a little haphazardly and doesn’t quite feel natural at times. There are a few minor character plot-lines that didn’t really feel complete by film’s end, but this wasn’t a huge detriment overall.
In the end, Wonder Woman is a fantastic film, one that was thoroughly entertaining from start to finish. The performances, the action, direction and score – seriously, Wonder Woman’s theme is kick-ass – all combine to easily make this the best film in the DCEU.
WONDER WOMAN is in Australian cinemas NOW!