As you all may have guessed (given the fact I co-founded a website dedicated to all things nerdy) I love comic books, especially superhero comics. As a former fat, ginger nerd who attended an all-boys catholic high school, I received my fair share of ass kicking’s from the “cool kids” and thus took solace in comics, there’s something comforting about picturing yourself as Batman, and beating the piss out of your childhood bully.
But, dear friends, here comes the twist…I have never liked Wonder Woman as a character. I know, and believe me when I say I have taken some stick from my poindextrous colleagues over the years, it’s varied from people saying, “I just haven’t read the right comics” all the way to “well obviously you just hate strong women” (and just to clarify, I’m married to one of the strongest, smartest women in the English-speaking world and I can recite every line from the musical episode of Buffy, so suck it!)
No, the reason I never really took to Wonder Woman as a character was because I found her cold and a little antagonistic, I’ve now come to realise she acts that way because she was raised on an island of warriors cut off from the rest of the world, but what do you want from me I was a teenager.
Even so, to this day my exposure to Wonder Woman as a character consists of The Justice League TV show, several animated Justice League films and the Wonder Woman animated film (of course I loved that one because Nathan Fillion was in it), so you can expect an unbiased review from this guy.
The films plot takes place towards the end of World War One, princess Diana (Gal Gadot), is living on the island of Themyscira and being trained by Frank Underwood’s wife to kick ass and if there is anyone left alive, to take names. While she is training she sees a plane crash into the ocean and dives in to save the survivor. The survivor turns out to be US Pilot Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) who tells her all about the events of World War I, Diana decides she must intervene and save mankind. She leaves her home for the first time in order to bring an end to the conflict.
And that brings me to my first bit of praise for this film, the origin and setup is short and sweet, no unnecessary back story, no lengthy speeches about how with great power etc etc, just, “you’re super strong and could sort this out sharpish, wanna help?” “sure, sounds like the right thing to do”. Bam!
(Hold my purse while I go kick these guy’s ass)
Action Scenes/Special Effects
The action scenes are to be commended, they managed to find the line between believable and wondrous and they walked it perfectly. From what we saw from the trailers and given what we received from the previous films, I was honestly expecting the action scenes to be more of the same slow-motion flying, super punching and just god awful special effects, but Wonder Woman subverted my expectations in every way. Diana starts out strong and tough but still, for the most part, mortal, and the action scenes have more of a war feel about them, boots in the mud and kicks to the bollocks. It’s only as the film progresses and she gains her full powers and strength, that the scenes change and become more fantastical, but by that point I felt the film had earned that.
And also, I feel it’s worth mentioning that the use of colour is refreshing to see, the back drop of the war is drab and dower because..you know, war, however Wonder Woman stands out, emblazoned in colour and representing hope.
(Oh you done fucked up son!)
Wonder Woman introduces quite a few characters and at the beginning it had me worried that, like Dawn of Justice, they would all be fighting for screen time and that the central character would get overlooked and it would become a mess. Thankfully that isn’t the case, while each character is well defined and fleshed out, the film never forgets that this is Wonder Woman’s story and we’re here for her.
Another thing I’d like to mention about the characters is that, while their backstories are touched on just enough to explain their motivations, enough is left unsaid to allow the characters to retain some mystery and to keep them interesting. For example, among the group there is a sniper who has nightmares and sometimes shakes when he holds his gun, but it is never directly revealed what happened to him, because the film understands that, people who have just met wouldn’t reveal that kind of personal information!
While all the actors did a wonderful job, I feel I must mention Gal Gadot, this was the first time I’ve ever seen her in anything and wasn’t sure what to expect, but there was a strength to her, in both performance and presence, quiet and reserved, but warm at the same time.
I only had one small issue with the film over all, which was how childish and naive Diana could be at times, wandering off by herself and constantly ignoring advice and warnings from her companions about a world she is completely unfamiliar with or screaming at the British commanding officers. You were raised under a militarist queen; how do you not get chain of command? But if that is the smallest complaint I can muster it must be doing something right.
By far one of the best superhero movies to date and certainly the best in the DCEU, a fun and interesting film that is full of action packed scenes and some genuinely touching moments. Director Patty Jenkins gives me hope for the DCEU franchise and I hope it will not be her last time in the director’s chair.