Verdict: 4 / 5
When Wonder Woman first appeared as somewhat of a cameo on Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, I was a bit underwhelmed. In fact, even before the movie released, I was quite annoyed and critical of the selection, as with many other fans, although not as aggressively so. BvS didn’t do much to quell my fears that the DCEU was headed for rough waters, even more so the lack of direction I felt Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman received in the film. Thankfully, with a huge sigh of relief, the 2017 Wonder Woman origin story was a breath of fresh air from the DC Extended Universe, and a definite must-see, whether you’re a fan or not.
This being an ‘origin story’ on the big screen, you’d expect some liberties when it comes to the retelling of the story from the comics into the theatre. And while there were a few differences, the core of it remained largely the same. Instead, I was patiently awaiting how things would play out in the script more than how much changes there would be. The story may start off in modern-day France, but quickly switches to 1918 in Themiscyra, and then the UK and Belgium at the climax of The Great War (now referred to as World War I). Diana sets off rather naively to defeat Ares but soon realises things aren’t what it seems, as she learns there’s a lot more to the human race than the simple “right and wrong”. The story, I felt, held up quite nicely throughout the film, minus one or two gripes I had with a few scenes I thought could have been more polished. It will make for interesting discussions to come shortly.
As always, I didn’t watch a single trailer leading up to the film. While there were still many debates happening around me on whether the film would be good or not, I wasn’t able to add any substance to these debates, as I didn’t even know who played the lead male role for Steve Trevor, or any of the other Amazons. What I enjoyed most about the film was how different the movie was shot and directed, the more upbeat overall direction. It’s a film that aims to provide a positive message as its core theme throughout.
There’s a huge contrast between the island lifestyle the Amazons enjoy on Themiscyra compared to the much harsher ‘real world’ setting of the war. I feel this distinction set a good tone for the film, not only showcasing this real world situation, but also the growth Diana undergoes as she transforms from a naïve princess to the strong and formidable character she represents as Wonder Woman. I feel the character, as represented in the film is a lot more than simply filling the gap of a female lead in the superhero universe.
Wonder Woman hasn’t enjoyed much success as a live-action representation on TV or the big screen and, as such, there is tremendous pressure to get it right for the first time in a full feature film. Given the fact that characters such as Superman and Batman have been rebooted more than a handful of times in the last 20 to 30 years, you can almost expect a different take on the origin story for each. Wonder Woman, however, does not enjoy that same luxury and the writers were almost forced to deliver a story closely resembling the comic books, and all the better for it.
Gal Gadot deserves credit as well. While I still feel her role and stature in BvS didn’t do her any justice, there’s been a huge change between the two films. I also noticed that Gadot seemed a bit more stocky from her previous appearance as well. She looks a lot more the part than before. I’m not one to jump on board the whole debate on body size, body hair, or all other battles women have to face on a daily basis, but I do have to say that at no point during the film did it even cross my mind that such a debate exists. My Fiancée was more welcoming of the changes made for her solo film.
As I stated previously, I enjoyed the way the film was shot. The contrasting between the two settings added a level of suspense as a result. The very gloomy scenes in UK and on the battlefront in Belgium were lit up both metaphorically and quite literally in her bright red, blue and gold outfit. While many still deem it to be quite skimpy, I didn’t get the same sense, especially when you consider their upbringing on an island inhabited solely by women, as well as an armour for women that’s supposed to provide a lot more freedom of movement. At least that’s my take on it.
I enjoyed the film. Wonder Woman provided a great ‘re-kickstart’ of DCEU films ahead of the upcoming Justice League movie. Not only will it rejuvenate the fans’ expectations, but it also adds a lot more depth and character to the role of Wonder Woman in the universe. She’s more than able to hold her own. This film proves that.