In her first solo outing, we get to see Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman save humanity for the first time. After growing up on the hidden island paradise of Themyscira, Diana, Princess of the Amazons witnesses a plane crash off the coast. From the wreckage she pulls Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), an American spy on the run from the Germans. When the pursuing Germans arrive at Themyscira, the Amazons are exposed to a war that spans the globe. Convinced that Ares is responsible, Diana heads off in search of the God of War so she can kill him and restore peace.
At this point you may be thinking: do I need to see another superhero origin story? Well probably not, but do we really "need" any movie? Wonder Woman is the fourth movie in the DCEU and according to many, the first to get the tone right. Despite being set during one of our darkest periods in history, Patty Jenkins still manages to bring humour to the proceedings. It really is a fish out of water story for both Diana and Steve. Firstly Steve arrives on this undiscovered island, whose inhabitants have not only lived for thousands of years, they've done so without any knowledge of what's going on in the outside world. Then the tables turn when Diana leaves paradise and heads for London, at a time when women didn't even have the vote. This is one of the best parts of the movie, watching Diana question this ridiculous, chauvinistic society.
What really sells it is the chemistry between Gadot and Pine. The two leads work perfectly together, as a cynical Steve attempts to help the naive, optimistic Diana navigate early 20th Century Europe. This incredible partnership is supported by a brilliant cast. Steve assembles a motley crew to assist them in their mission: Sameer (Said Taghmaoui), a spy/con-man, Charlie (Ewen Bremner), a sniper and Chief (Eugene Brave Rock), a smuggler. They're supported by Etta Candy (Lucy Davis), Steve's secretary and Diana's guide to the life of women in the early 20th Century. Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen) and General Antiope (Robin Wright) are elegant yet tough as the leaders of the Amazons. On the other side, Danny Huston's General Ludendorff well represents the proud military hierarchy of Germany whereas Dr Poison (Elena Anaya) seems less interested in victory than she is in watching the world burn! Preferably at the hands of her own creations.
As with all movies in the DCEU, Wonder Woman has a dark side. Any movie set during the Great War has to. And this is something Patty Jenkins has done well. The trench battle and the fight on the beach between the Amazons and Germans are incredible. In fact, those Amazons are badass! Jenkins managed to depict life on the Western Front accurately, and not just for the soldiers, for the civilians and even the animals caught up in this terrible war. It's here that we see Diana start to question humanity, much like a child growing up to find out the world isn't all sunshine and rainbows. This Diana starts off very different to the one we saw in Batman v Superman, but through Gadot's excellent performance we see her begin to lose faith.
Unfortunately, Wonder Woman does suffer from some standard origin story problems. If you have seen Batman v Superman or are in any way familiar with the DCEU and its future releases, you'll probably find the story a bit predictable. Wonder Woman also suffers from a couple of easily predictable plot twists. Without getting into spoilers, I went into this fairly confident that it would resemble Captain America: The First Avenger. I left the cinema surprised at how much it actually did, especially the third act.
As a fan of all the movies in the DCEU so far, I was optimistic about Wonder Woman. Yes it's not perfect, but what movie is? Overall, Wonder Woman is a fun, action-packed adventure filled with interesting characters, brilliant performances and incredible locations. Is it possible that Patty Jenkins has saved the DCEU? Given that it's already a financial success, it's unlikely it needed saving. Has she delivered the most critically acclaimed movie in the DCEU so far? Almost certainly!
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