Review: Wonder Woman saves the DCEU
Wonder Woman has arrived and it is here to save the day or, better said, save the DCEU. After being a highlight in Batman v Superman, the most famous female superhero gets her own movie and shines like a beacon of hope for the rather grim DCEU. Not a perfect film, but a good and solid one. A breath of fresh air after the failures of Suicide Squad and BvS. Diana reminds us that heroes are meant to inspire us, but that they are also human on the inside, they suffer loss the same as we do and love as we do. Wonder Woman is not what we deserve, but what we need right now.
In the early 20th century, the Amazon princess Diana (Gal Gadot), who is living on the island of Themyscira, meets American military pilot Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) when he washes ashore. After learning from him about the ongoing events of World War I, she leaves her home for London to bring an early end to the war. The story of Wonder Woman is simpler and more coherent than any other DCEU movie. It does follow a familiar pattern (like Marvel movies), but it feels fresh and easy to follow. This way of telling the story gives much more time for the characters to develop and for us to care for them. Script-wise, the movie is good, it has humor, it has drama and romance, with some cheesy lines, but those are easily forgotten and forgiven. It’s the best DCEU movie until now, even better than Man of Steel, which it surpasses with its optimism. It is a very uplifting and positive movie and that goes a long way in making it a better movie, because we are talking about superheroes, icons, characters that inspire people, not make them sad and depressed. The first act is beautiful and can be compared to Man of Steel‘s first act quality wise. It sets up the main characters and sends Diana on her journey and is also visually breathtaking. The second act changes the scenery but continues to develop the characters, giving us great scenes, especially lots of comic moments. Where the movie does suffer a bit is the third and final act. It’s not as sloppy and chaotic as in other DCEU movies, but it does feel a bit rushed, yet satisfactory.
When it comes to the actors and their roles, Wonder Woman does not disappoint. We got only a glimpse of Diana in BvS and it was amazing, but it told us nothing about how Gal Gadot will be in her role. This movie proves that she was a very good choice. She becomes Wonder Woman and portrays her beautifully. Diana is a naive and idealist Amazon that meets the horrors and wonders of the outside world and that’s where Gal plays her part best. Even more so in the action scenes. She owns the role physically. When it comes to physicality she does a wonderful job. That’s not to say she doesn’t deliver her lines well, cause she does. Maybe other actresses could have given a more powerful voice to Diana, but Gal does her best and it doesn’t disappoint. Long story short, Gal Gadot is Wonder Woman! Chris Pine was a great choice for Steve Trevor. Acting as her guide into mankind’s world, her friend and her first love, Steve is central to Diana’s origin story. Pine brings in is experience with both drama, comedy and action movies and has great chemistry with Gadot. You can see that they both have fun together and play well of each other. This is most evident in the comic scenes, where both react in a very awkward and funny way as they talk about the Amazons, the gods or the ways of mankind.
Sadly, the Amazons don’t get as much screen time as some would like, but the first act of the movie is beautiful and breathtaking. And that is in part due to the actresses portraying the Amazons. Connie Nielsen is exactly how a DC fan would imagine Queen Hippolyta, Diana’s mother: a strong presence, a powerful voice and a protective mother. Robin Wright as Antiope, Diana’s aunt and trainer, is also a very good addition. The supporting actors are there to make Gal Gadot stand out. even if they are better known or more experienced, they help Gal play her role better. In other roles we have Danny Huston as general Ludendorff, your usual bad guy and David Thewlis as a British diplomat who helps the team on their mission. The members of the team are fun and they are there to bring comic relief, doing a great job at that. They don’t really stand out, but the characters also help Diana to see how mankind treats minorities, outcasts and other races and makes her even more sympathetic to the cause of the weak. All in all, a great cast and a huge surprise from Gal Gadot, who shows us she can be our Wonder Woman.
As said before, the movie is visually stunning. It has more colors than all the other DCEU movies combined and that makes it amazing to watch, because it relates to a brighter and more heroic character. A darker movie is ok for Batman and Superman was also created to be more grounded and grittier, but Wonder Woman is a special kind of hero. She’s a warrior, but she is also a dreamer. She dreams of a better world, a world for which she fights. Even though she’s not born in man’s world, she is part of it, she is part of a society and a civilization sworn to defend the world, Amazon and mankind alike. So, visually, Wonder Woman reflects that. There’s colors everywhere and when the movie gets darker, it’s to show the sorrows and suffering cause by war. The CGI effects are very good most of the time, though, during some actions scenes the replacement of Gadot or her stunt is clearly visibile. The cinematography is also amazing. The way Matthew Jensen chose to show us the beauties of Themyscira or the horrors of war deserves praise. Patty Jenkins will probably go down in the movie history as the director that brought to life the biggest superheroine the world has ever known and for good reason. Right now, the movie has a 97% RT rating, which almost the other 3 movies’s ratings combined. That says a lot. She did a very good job on bringing Diana to life on the big screen and she really deserves a big round of applause. And if you are a DC fan, pay attention, cause there are numerous nods to Donner‘s Superman.That in itself is proof of how different Wonder Woman is from the other DCEU movies. Rupert Gregson-Williams‘s soundtrack also deserves praise. Keeping her theme from BvS, he added more. The soundtrack is as uplifting as the story and the heroine.
So, Wonder Woman did something no one thought possible. It saved the DCEU. Considering the importance of the heroine in comicbook history, this movie does her justice. Wonder Woman is a strong and powerful story, with a well-rounded cast, a beautiful and amazing heroine, well written, with wonderful music and shines brighter than any DC hero in a long time. Best DCEU movie.