Comics Anonymous at the Movies – Wonder Woman

While Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman was introduced in last year’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice we got the first solo outing for Diana Prince courtesy of last month’s release.

The movie introduces us to the idyllic world the Amazons inhabit as an island of warrior women brings out the strength in a young Diana as she yearns to break away from the duties of a princess and onto the training fields.  Quicker than you can say “get me a montage” her training is underway and she soon finds out there’s much more to her own story than she realized.

The day-to-day grind of a warrior princess is flipped on it’s head with the arrival of a plane crashing into the surrounding sea and when she saves the pilot, Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), from certain death he’s only gone and brought his pursuers across the divide between worlds.  It’s at this point that both worlds truly lock horns as a battle ensues which leaves more than it’s fair share of casualties with some more significant than others for our central character.

A quest for peace for both worlds is on the cards and we are eased into a slick crossover where Diana ventures into a modern world with a naive sense of excitement but with a strong purpose behind it.  There’s war, there’s romance, there’s sacrifice and a male-driven world is almost slapped in the face with the arrival of the head strong heroine but that’s exactly what’s needed to push things along to the battlefield and the ultimate showdown with the big bad guy…..and then the not-so-surprising real bad guy.

The story and momentum is great as Gadot & Pine’s on-screen chemistry hits just the right tone and the connection between the two that develops from the worst elements of war and life feels like a very natural progression.  The supporting cast of Ewen Bremner as Charlie, Saïd Taghmaoui as Sameer, Eugene Brave Rock as The Chief & Lucy Davis as Etta, in particular, add the key elements that help blend the action, war, tragedy and even humour that the DCEU was missing.

This ends up with Wonder Woman becoming the heart of the DCEU at a time when the gritty edge to more recent releases lost sight of the uplifting elements that most superheroes embody week-in, week-out in the paneled pages of the comics.  That being said it’s not a perfect movie by any means as the last third of the film teeters on the edge of ruining the good work done in the previous two thirds with an elaborate descent into a CGI battle between Wonder Woman & the two enemies that threaten war and destruction on a massive scale.  Thankfully that feels like the only issue that developed and while I’m still not 100% sure that Gal Gadot embodies a tangible enough sense of power that I’d expect from the character, I’m inclined to think that’s more to do with me having read much more recent incarnations of the character and associating a muscley physique as a reflection of the power the character possesses….because other than that she acts the hell out of the Diana character!

Wonder Woman feels like a massive step in the right direction for the future of the DCEU with a movie that’s got great characters, a great story (for the most part) and a stronger sense of direction than expected.  I had always suspected that the future of DC’s movies could well hinge on the success of the first solo movie that didn’t feature Superman or Batman or even the Joker which seem to be an almost bankable set of characters to use and the success of this movie has left things much more hopeful than they were before.  The box office is the big indicator of success these days (for some reason) and with records being broken the hope is that the progress from Wonder Woman will pave the way for not only better constructed DC movies but more female-lead movies that have been sorely lacking.

8/10

G-Man

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