Film Review: Wonder Woman

Jordan Samuel Jordan Samuel
Expert Contributor
May 30th, 2017

Film Critic and Writer for ComiConverse.com, the Founder and co-host of the official Nerdcast Network Podcast

Review of: Wonder Woman
Price:
A True Wonder

Reviewed by:
Rating:
4
On May 30, 2017
Last modified:May 30, 2017

Summary:

Wonder Woman is a celebration of the 75-year-old creation, reinventing Diana's origin for modern audiences, but not forgetting her roots and values. The DCEU is finally on track!

Review of: Wonder Woman
Price:
A True Wonder

Reviewed by:
Rating:

4
On May 30, 2017
Last modified:May 30, 2017

Summary:

Wonder Woman is a celebration of the 75-year-old creation, reinventing Diana's origin for modern audiences, but not forgetting her roots and values. The DCEU is finally on track!

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After the disappointing DCEU offerings, 2017 brings Wonder Woman the most anticipated superhero film in a decade. And film critic Jordan Samuel brings us the official ComiConverse review.

Film Review: Wonder Woman

Before she was Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), she was Diana, Princess of the Amazons, trained to be an unconquerable warrior. Raised on a sheltered island paradise, Diana meets an American pilot (Chris Pine) who tells her about the massive conflict that's raging in the outside world. Convinced that she can stop the threat, Diana leaves her home for the first time. Fighting alongside men in a war to end all wars, she finally discovers her full powers and true destiny.

Credit: Warner Bros.

Warner Brothers first venture into their own superhero cinematic universe, the DCEU, opened to an uneven start, dividing both critics and fans with its emphasis on darker elements. Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad all lacked the positive response needed to go forward with a blemish-free expanded universe. Needless to say, the DC community's ongoing support wasn't enough to bring in global box-office success.

Batman and Superman have both headlined recent iterations, giving us more DC adventures, but fans have been waiting a long time for the Amazonian princess Wonder Woman to get a shot at the big screen.

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These dreams cam true in 2016, with the lukewarm Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, as Gal Gadot gave us a universality praised performance. Due to the character's popularity, Warner Bros. green lit an origin movie based on the Wonder Woman's origin story.

Patty Jenkins (Monster) was chosen to direct the long-awaited adaptation of Wonder Woman, which excited filmgoers due to her previous film being an Oscar-winner. Patty Jenkins is known for giving smaller lesser-known actresses career-defining roles, and having the keys to the first female-led superhero movie felt like the right thing, as her work is always character driven.

But apart from being the first female led superhero flick, does Wonder Woman stack up against the competition? Find out, as we delve into the next big DCEU movie.

Credit: Warner Bros.

Wonder Woman (2017) is a triumph for the 75-year-old DC Comics princess, concentrating on the character’s golden fundamentals and quirks, but also reinventing her origin for a new audience. Wonder Woman is one fun ride; giving fans a superhero that goes back to the cool mix that Superman (1978) brought to cinema.

The movie has personality, and is not frightened to go in another direction completely; dropping the complex and interconnected storytelling seen in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016). Gone is the forced world-building, as those efforts are swapped out for a more developed character, driven adventure, filled with laughter and hope - something that has been lost in this genre.

Patty Jenkins enters the superhero genre feet first with Wonder Woman (2017), making a terrifically fun adventure film, with one serious message. It's the perfect balance.

Jenkins makes her audience root for good, instead of the indefinite desperadoes in Suicide Squad. Comedy is an important factor here, as the fish-out-of-water theme carries through the run-time. Wonder Woman (2017) understands how to respect the character; developing Diana Prince thoroughly.

Credit: Warner Bros.

 

Wonder Woman's story revolves around American pilot Steve Trevor, who crashes on Themyscira, who then explains to Diana Prince about the War to End All Wars. Diana leaves her home for the first time, to try to stop the terrible war, and becomes a superhero in the process. This might sound like Captain America: The First Avenger, but Patty Jenkins doesn’t focus on the war as the main initiative. Instead, Wonder Woman is a character driven adventure that develops a female icon, one who fears for mankind in this dire situation.

The plot is a simple affair, and doesn’t have any connections to previous DCEU outings; creating a more streamlined picture.

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Gal Gadot (Fast and Furious) returns as Diana Prince the immortal Amazon princess and daughter of Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen), who has lived on the island of Themyscira all her life. Gadot gives us a contemporary take on the beloved character, expanding upon her cameo in Batman v Superman; this time being less mysterious but curious about man’s world.

Gadot may not have the charisma and wittiness seen in recent superhero outings, but she delivers a powerful performance, embodying Wonder Woman at every step. The connection with her co-star Chris Pine is something to write home about, as their playful comradery plays out perfectly on-screen.

Patty Jenkins uses all of Gal Gadot’s talents, with a focus on the actress’s physicality and charming personality - making Wonder Woman come alive on the big screen. Jenkins has expanded on the mythos, providing a solid origin story, which doesn’t shy away from modernizing the 40-year-old roots.

Credit: Warner Bros.

Chris Pine (Star Trek) plays Steve Trevor, the first outsider to ever set foot on Themyscira. He is also the first man Diana has ever seen. Pine’s signature charisma is a stark comparison to the serious Wonder Woman. Pen gives us the best on-screen performance in his career, as the lovable army Commander.

Screenwriter Jason Fuchs (Ice Age) gives us a reason to care about Steve Trevor, as the connection between he and Diana Prince feels real, while they get to understand each other's background. Chris Pine deserves awards for bringing the relatively unknown Steve Trevor into live-action, with a needed personality change from the comics.

David Thewlis is Ares, the treacherous son of Zeus and Greek god of war, who pretends to be Sir Patrick Morgan, a member of the German General Staff.  David Thewlis does his best in giving fans, an intimidating villain, but ends up falling short, in a boring third act that reduces the role to painfully bad CGI and limits his dark mysterious tone.

Its disappointing that this part of the story did not live up to its potential, even though I loved his interaction with Wonder Woman. Perhaps using more of his onscreen presence would have lessened the CGI issues. Patty Jenkins does try to make it work,  but the CGI in the script is the main issue.

Credit: Warner Bros.

In terms of cinematography, Wonder Woman is one beautifully shot movie, feeling authentic to the time period, with costume and set design to match.  Color has been added to divert away from the moody tone seen in previous DC outings. The action is also immense ,and focuses on the strength of Wonder Woman. Patty Jenkins does use many slow-mo effects which do feel forced, limiting impact on-screen. This should have been toned-down in this final release.

Wonder Woman a celebration of the 75-year-old creation, reinventing the origin for modern audiences but not forgetting the character's roots and values.

Patty Jenkins continues to create character-driven movies, this time within a beloved superheroine, proving that females deserve their own hero movies as well.  In an era of confusing complex storytelling, this film gets down to a grounded level, while developing a superhero many will love.

Wonder Woman is not a masterpiece but respectfully brings an iconic superheroine to big screens across the world. Being a smaller project than the latest DCEU counterparts, Wonder Woman (2017) remembers to give a world-renowned hero a focused and solid picture.

I would recommend to go and see this one in IMAX! Patty Jenkins has finally made a great female superhero movie!

 

Wonder Woman

  • 4

A True Wonder

Wonder Woman is a celebration of the 75-year-old creation, reinventing Diana's origin for modern audiences, but not forgetting her roots and values. The DCEU is finally on track!

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