Wonder Woman could be the most wonderfully epic movie of the year
The DC Cinematic Universe has not enjoyed the critical acclaim that it’s comic book brethren Marvel has, to date. Marvel seems to have that mass market appeal while DC has been a bit more polarizing. While I enjoyed Man of Steel, Batman V Superman and Suicide Squad, most of the general movie audience hasn’t shared my opinion. It doesn’t help that there seems to be this perception that DC is rushing things along instead of employing the steady universe building strategy that has been so kind to Marvel. No question DC has been desperate to eat into Marvel’s market share of success. They’ve been looking to put out that movie that finally gives them the legitimacy of its rival. DC may have finally pulled this off with Wonder Woman.
Wonder Woman is basically an origin story. We are introduced to the Amazon race and young Princess Diana, who aspires to be a great warrior like many of the others on her island. During her growth to adulthood, we learn about the customs and history of the people of this island along with the very island itself. There are no men here but one day, Steve Trevor, a British spy being chased by German military, crashes in the islands waters. Diana, not knowing any better saves him. Through him, Diana and the rest of the Amazons, find out that World War II is going on. Being that Diana is naïve and selfless, she decides to help Steve return to London where he can give critical intelligence info to the British army that may have major significance in bringing the war to an end.
Most origin stories usually have a slow buildup where we are introduced to the characters and given their backstory before the action usually goes down. That’s what happens here. This is not a whole two hours of Wonder Woman kicking you know what. However, this character building really pays off. The origin of Wonder Woman is handled so well, that you can’t help but be emotionally invested in her quest the whole way.
Emotion is the key word here. Wonder Woman rises above shallow action to provide a lot of powerful emotional moments. The relationship she builds with Steve Trevor, played brilliantly by Steve Pine, is impactful. Gal Gadot and Chris Pine have amazing chemistry together in this film and really play off each other well. Speaking of Gal Gadot, there are many who thought she was miscast. Those notions are silenced as she owns this role with her exceptional performance.
Everything about this movie is visually stunning. Not only is this movie easy on the eyes, Director Patty Jenkins does a magnificent job cutting the action while providing quieter character building moments. She also has the right balance between humor and seriousness. The action, despite having some Zack Snyder-esque moments of slow motion, is top notch. There are a few epic moments in here that are so gratifying to watch. I think we may have one of the most epic comic book movie action scenes ever in Wonder Woman also.
Wonder Woman had expectations of being a feminist movie. It’s not that all. Wonder Woman really does an excellent job in humanizing Princess Diana. She is vulnerable despite being a powerful goddess. Besides that, Diana is a character that is built up in a way that both men and women can relate to. Her successes are not exclusionary to men.
What a wonderful triumph Wonder Woman is. It has some minor flaws but to discuss them here would be to nitpick. The story combined with the action come together to provide one of the more enjoyable cinematic experiences to date this year. That’s right, Wonder Woman could be the best movie of the year so far. Wonder Woman was supposed to be victory for females everywhere. Its more than that. It’s a victory for everyone.