REVIEW BY CAOLAINN DALY
Wonder Woman is a return to form for the DC cinematic universe. It is a stylish, compelling origin story for one of the most recognisable comic book superheroes and is DC’s best film in years.
The premise concerns itself with a blend of Greek mythology and some extra lore. In a prologue that offers quite a substantial bit of telling rather than showing, we learn that Ares, the god of war, has been plaguing the minds of humans for centuries to cause destruction and conflict. After the Amazons’ paradise is breached, Diana, their princess, sets out to identify his latest incarnation and kill him. The excessive exposition at the beginning can be forgiven as it is just preamble for the main act which goes on to deliver quality in spades. The vibrant and colourful Themyscira soon gives way to a drab 1910s England. Unlike DC’s recent offerings like Batman vs Superman and Man of Steel, drab does not make it dull. The world of greys and blues offered is interesting and has character beyond just being grey-tinted. This is partly down to the performances of the characters. Diana’s initial foray into England is a fish-out-of-water scenario where she only knows the sensibilities of her own tribe and this can make for some genuinely funny passages.
Director Patty Jenkins has done a terrific job at keeping the tone of the film right. It is set during the first world war and Diana is exposed to things far beyond her expectation or imagination, horrors and atrocities which she has never before witnessed. It can be compared to Captain America: The First Avenger in a positive wat in that it is a superhero film set during a war that has happened in real-life, but also does not lose its identity as a superhero film. Its wartime setting does not upstage the superhero but supports her and allows her to shine. The real and supernatural are merged without skipping a beat and without losing its intrinsic feel as a comic book film, and imporantly, without forsaking its charm.
Gal Gadot shines as the titular character and offers a performance that deftly balances pathos with steely ferocity and humour. Chris Pine offers an affable and solid if somewhat unremarkable performance as an allied spy. The supporting cast, including David Thewlis as a pacifistic member of the UK’s war council, Danny Huston as the German bad guy General Ludendorf, and Elena Anaya as the sadistic Doctor Poison, all perform admirably. The script is tight, as is the production. Zack Snyder is involved, as per, but is given a role where he can shine, and that is on the production team. The visuals are bountiful without being flashy or obnoxious, they compliment the on-screen direction delightfully.
DC’s Wonder Woman is an impressive outing and hopefully marks a change in fortunes for their upcoming releases. It offers an interesting story, a splendid cast, wieldy direction, sturdy production values, and is thoroughly entertaining.