Step aside, Marvel Comics – it’s DC’s turn to shine! With all the success of the films centered around Marvel Comics superheroes over the past several years, it’s time for its rival, DC Comics, to have its own legendary heroes flex their muscles on the big screen and provide us a window into their respective worlds. Of course, Marvel still is not done, as the company remains set to release yet another Spiderman film (yawn), Captain Marvel, another Thor sequel, and Avengers: Infinity War all within the next two years. However, they will now have to compete directly on film with DC’s array of character titles, much as they have for years in the comic book world.
DC is set to release the highly anticipated Justice League film in November, as well as its subsequent sequel already announced for release within the next two years. In addition, the company has a future Batman project in the works (which is even more interesting now since Ben Affleck apparently has given up on writing and directing the film), as well as Aquaman, The Flash, sequels for Superman and Suicide Squad (as well as individual films of the characters from the series) and Batgirl. Of course, they will all come after the most recent and current release, Wonder Woman.
The story of Wonder Woman is an interesting one. I appreciate the fact that DC and the director of the film, Patty Jenkins, stayed true to the comic by making Wonder Woman’s origin remain from the World War II era. It would have been easy to re-create her universe and have her begin her story in modern times to appeal more to a younger audience, but they stayed true to the original and I applaud that. It was a time in our country’s history, the first time really, where women were given more freedom to lead as a result of so many men being overseas fighting in the war. Consequently, it also was really the first time women were in a position to be independent.
Wonder Woman wonderfully captures all of this in her character. She is strong. She is independent. She is brave. She is a leader. She is sexy while doing it all. Gal Gadot was the perfect choice to play the title role. She masterfully encapsulates all of the aforementioned traits in her portrayal of the star heroine in this film. She is as much appealing to the eye as the mind. I also appreciated the fact that DC casted a more ethnic, worldly woman to play the role versus an “All-American” girl. The previous Wonder Woman in the mid to late 1970s featured Lynda Carter as more of a Wonder/American Woman. Now, 40 years later, it’s appropriate to have her be more diverse and lead the way to save not just America, but the world. Gal, being born in Israel and raised in a diverse ethnic family, embodies everything that the new Wonder Woman is and should be.
The premise of the story is that Wonder Woman comes to Earth from the land of the Amazons in a lateral world to find and destroy Aries, the God of War. In the process of doing so, she links up with Steve Trevor, who, once he finds out his female accomplice is actually literally a god from an outer world, plans to channel her fury aimed at Aries on to Ludendorff, the head of the German army. But in the midst of all this, they find out that their true enemy is bigger and stronger than they ever could have imagined.
In the film, Gadot stars alongside Chris Pine, who plays the role of Steve Trevor, a WWII spy who would wind up becoming the partner turned love interest of Wonder Woman. I am a fan of Pine. I think he is a solid actor and, more importantly, seems to be a solid guy. In the past he has been an advocate for various civil and human rights causes, and said recently he embraced his rare role in this film as a supporting male for a female-led film. Obviously, the majority of films, especially from the superhero world, feature the opposite structure. As much as Pine was proud to play the part, DC should be proud of his performance. He does a great job at portraying Trever appropriately as a man of his time who is strong and valiant, but also isn’t ashamed to play second fiddle (to a woman, nonetheless) if need be for the greater good of the cause.
The electricity in Wonder Woman’s famed Lasso of Truth is nothing compared to the heat provided by the sexy chemistry of Gadot and Pine on-screen in this film. The sex appeal meter is very high in this movie, as Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor both stimulate physical and emotional sparks together throughout their mission.
Wonder Woman is an action packed, tour de force of girl-power. From the beginning of the film with a young Diana training physically by fighting other Amazonians of her world (a world made up entirely of women), to her becoming a grown Wonder Woman later in the film and defending a foreign planet Earth from the axis of evil in its “war to end all wars,” this movie should make women proud and empowered.
Of course, like most other superhero films, there are some cheesy moments. I also felt that the influence of Zack Snyder, one of the producers of the film, was a little overwhelming at times. Several fight scenes felt like exact replicas of the style used in 300, a film directed by Snyder. I like Snyder and his visual expertise, but I was more eager to see Patty Jenkins’ style of storytelling, particularly with a superhero film. But overall, this interpretation of Wonder Woman is a cool, captivating movie that’s perfect for the start of the 2017 summer season.
MATTER RATING: 7/10
OSCAR SCALE: 5/10 (may be a dark horse to get an Original Score or Visual Effects nomination)
BY: CHRIS GUEST