Wonder Woman sees the iconic Amazonian princess make her first stand-alone film debut since her cameo appearance in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. This time, however, Gal Gadot gets the full attention of the audience she dominates the screen-time for its 2+ hour duration, rather than having to share it with her Justice League colleagues.
There’s buzz from early screenings that Wonder Woman is the best DCEU movie to date. Well, that’s debatable. It’s certainly a closer, more refined character piece on the super-powered heroine, and is one of the most unique-looking films in the overarching franchise, but it does stumble in its final moments to hit the potential that it laid out in the first portions of the film.
Instead of an origin story per se, Wonder Woman throws audiences right into the world of ancient goddesses and super-humans, without all the unnecessary exposition that often comes with superhero films these days. Set in the 1920s in the height of global conflict, we met Diana, and are almost immediately captivated by who she is and how she is forced to adapt to the “World of Man” after leaving her secret island paradise to help fight “the war to end all wars”, namely World War I.
It’s these moments that makes Wonder Woman shine. Between the clanging armour and superpowered fisticuffs, we get a close look at what makes Diana Prince tick, her reactions to the atrocities and suffering of the real world, and her innocence and naivety to the corruption of the world.
Chris Pine provides some great moments, but the real spotlight is on Gal Gadot, who does a great job at capturing the endearing, virtuous side of the titular character – managing to deliver a physical and captivating performance in the action sequences, which can range from the spectacular to the overwhelming. The majority of the fight sequences are gloriously choreographed, with stellar tracking shots and visual effects, showing Wonder Woman’s agility and strength. However, the final battle does fall a little short of being anything memorable.
Wonder Woman is a fantastic and important entry into the ever-expanding DC film universe, excellently showcasing the portrayal of a character over 70 years in the making. There are a few shortcomings, but it manages to deliver the wonder, with a clenched fist and shield in hand.