Dan's Review: Gadot shines as "Wonder Woman"
Gal Gadot in Wonder Woman - © 2017 Warner Bros.
Wonder Woman (Warner Bros.)
Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence and action, and some suggestive content.
Starring Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, Connie Nielsen, Elena Anaya, Lucy Davis, Saïd Taghmaoui, Ewen Bremner, Eugene Brave Rock, Emily Carey, Lisa Loven Kongsli, Mayling Ng, Florence Kasumba, Madeleine Vall, Ann Wolfe, Doutzen Kroes, Samantha Jo.
Written by Allan Heinberg, Zack Snyder and Jason Fuchs, based on the comic book by William Moulton Marston.
Directed by Patty Jenkins.
The DC folks are back in a rut of late. After the smash success of Chris Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, they attempted to launch their own superhero “Universe” involving several mainstay characters interacting to save the world. Such a cinematic universe would mirror the success of Marvel’s interlaced movie franchise. Their first film Man of Steel did well to get their most popular character going, but they faltered with the sub-par Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice and the awful Suicide Squad. One bright spot in the sloppy start was the introduction of Wonder Woman in Batman v. Superman, starring Gal Gadot. Now, it’s her turn to get an origin story in this week’s release of Wonder Woman.
Gadot plays Diana, princess of the Amazon and daughter of Zeus and Hippolyta, who grows up on an isolated island paradise, surrounded by immortal women. Her lineage gives Diana special powers she cannot yet harness nor understand, prompting Hippolyta (Connie Nielson) to protect her from battle training. Her aunt, General Antiope (Robin Wright) secretly trains her until Diana becomes the fiercest of all the Amazons. One day, a World War I German fighter plane breaches the hidden cloak around the island and crashes in the water. Diana saves the pilot Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) from drowning, just before a German regiment also enters the secret realm and engages in battle with the Amazons. The Germans are defeated, and Trevor is spared, informing the women of his mission as an American spy trying to thwart the development of killer chemical weapon being produced by the evil General Ludendorff (Danny Huston) and a disfigured scientist, Dr. Poison (Elena Ayana). Trevor convinces Diana that the world is about to end, and she agrees to help him, for she knows that her half-brother Ares, the evil god of war is behind the destruction. She plans to go to the war front and kill Ares. Diana and Steve make it back to London and gather a team to infiltrate the German high command. They are assisted by Sir Patrick Morgan (David Thewlis), part of the English Imperial War Cabinet with a secret agenda. When Diana, Steve and their team (Ewan Bremner, Saïd Taghmaoui and Eugene Brave Rock) arrives at the front, they liberate a small Belgian town before setting off on their mission. When they finally confront Ludendorff and Dr. Poison, they discover that Ares was there all along manipulating the situation and causing more destruction. Steve and Diana risk all to try and save humanity.
First of all, I have to say that Wonder Woman is the coolest and most awesome superhero film in the current DC universe, and it makes you wonder why the DC folks didn’t consider a “ladies first” option, instead of yet another Batman tent pole. Gal Gadot is perfectly cast in the role, and her characterization is the perfect combination of toughness, innocence, morality and pure “bad-ass.” When Diana rises from a WWI battle trench and enters a spot known as “No Man’s Land” (get it?) to take on a German regiment single-handed, you can’t help but get a little giddy at what she’s about to unleash. Most of such action sequences involving Gadot are especially exciting; a perfect combination of spectacle and beauty.
If there is a disappointment in Wonder Woman, it’s the lack of such sequences, which come late in the movie following a lot of Greek mythology minutiae, back story exposition and philosophical chatter. I know such things are necessary in a superhero origin story, but the movie needed a little more “wonder” and less of the boring stuff.
Something else I found refreshing in Wonder Woman was the absence of controversy regarding gender roles or any kind of “battle of the sexes” chatter that has preceded the film’s release. Good versus evil, selfless sacrifice and true heroism know no gender, and such principles are universal, regardless of which chromosomes define your DNA, and Wonder Woman embodies these principles quite well.
So, go out and see Wonder Woman and enjoy a decent DC movie for once. Not sure if the coming November Justice League film will stand up to scrutiny, but with Wonder Woman as part of the team, it can’t be all bad.
Wonder Woman Trailer