Wonder Woman (2017)

Review #1,459






THE SCOOP
Director:  Patty Jenkins
Cast:  Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Connie Nielsen, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, Said Taghmaoui, Ewen Bremner
Plot:  Before she was Wonder Woman she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, trained warrior.  When a pilot crashes and tells of conflict in the outside world, she leaves home to fight a war to end all wars, discovering her full powers and true destiny.

Genre:  Action / Adventure / Fantasy
Awards:  -
Runtime:  141min
Rating:  PG for sequences of violence and action, and some suggestive content 
Distributor:  Warner Bros

IN RETROSPECT (Spoilers: NO)
“I will fight, for those who cannot fight for themselves.”

The film’s radical nature struck me like a lightning bolt during a midway ‘No Man’s Land’ sequence that sees Diana Prince a.k.a Wonder Woman flaunt her prowess in battle.  This part, like any other action sequence in a superhero movie, is typical seen-it-before stuff.  However, I was momentarily taken out of the screen experience by the sheer fact of seeing a woman invigorating an army of morale-sapped men in uniform to fight and gain strategic ground in “a war to end all wars”. 

The very image of Diana, armed with sword and shield (and a handy glowing whip), inspiring the charge is an empowering sight for both women and men.  On the other side of the camera, the subconscious presence of director Patty Jenkins, the first female ever to helm such a major, high-stakes, pressure cooker of a big-budgeted Hollywood studio movie—and passing with flying colours (hell yeah!), also simultaneously appears. 

This duality makes me feel very proud of the achievement of Wonder Woman.  And this is why the film is radical, not in form, style, or treatment, but in symbolism—and what it means for gender equality as (role)-modelled in popular culture.  So kudos to the much-maligned DC Comics for taking that leap of faith and opening that window with this project.

That being said, Wonder Woman is what it is—a safe, formulaic superhero extravaganza, filled with the requisite ‘origin story’ exposition (much better developed than what we would normally expect from a DC movie) and action (the frequent use of slow-motion technique is justifiably exciting). 

It stars Gal Gadot, whom on the basis of this outing, will forever be remembered as the titular character.  She is a charismatic actress, and I can’t help being drawn to her presence and beauty.  She has a unique smile—the kind with both eyes and lips—that would melt anyone, yet her character’s tough persona and kind heart resonate clearly.  I envision that she could very well play a Bond girl who saves 007 in the end, in a kind of revisionist Bond film for the modern age. 

Running a good twenty minutes northward of two hours, Wonder Woman makes the most of its relatively long duration to deliver a solid package.  It won’t be the finest superhero movie you’ll see this year (that might just belong to Logan), but this is a film that needs to succeed critically and at the box-office (as of this review, it ticks both checkboxes handsomely) to have any kind of trailblazing impact… and finally consigning the sexist likes of Catwoman (2004) and Elektra (2005) to eternal damnation.  

Verdict:  The film’s radical nature hides within its safe, formulaic underpinnings in what is DC's finest superhero movie since Nolan's ‘The Dark Knight' trilogy.

GRADE: B+






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