Unless you’ve been living on another planet, you should know by now that Wonder Woman hit the theatres last Thursday, June 1st. I can't begin to tell you how excited I was about Wonder Woman coming to the big screen. It took long enough, especially when you consider that her first appearance in the comics was in 1941, a little before my time. I have absolutely no recollection of Wonder Woman from the comics (we didn't read DC comics in my house) but I was a real fan of the television show that starred Lynda Carter. Lynda Carter and Theresa Graves from Get Christie Love were my idols at the time. Unfortunately, Graves’ show didn't last that long, but we can revisit that in another post. Anyway, the point is, I felt as though I would be watching the movie with a fresh pair of eyes.
Diana tells her story via flashback, not one of my favorite ways to frame a story, but it works for this film. She tells us about her life as an Amazon princess, revered and protected from the outside world. As a child Diana had an innate desire to learn the art of combat, but her mother, Queen Hippolyta, played by Connie Nielsen, was against Diana’s participation in these activities. Antiope, played by Robin Wright, goes against Hippolyta’s wishes and begins to train Diana any way. One day they are found out, and the Queen agrees to let the training continue provided Diana never finds out who she is. Who is she? Well, I think that would be too much of a spoiler to reveal here.
In any event, It's a good thing Diana received that training as it comes in handy when outsiders arrive in pursuit of Steve Trevor, a spy whose plane crashed into the sea right outside of the island. Diana saves his ass from drowning and it winds up costing a few of the Amazon sisters their lives. Steve tells the women about the war raging in the outside world, which Diana is sure has been started by Ares, so she decides to leave home to find and kill him.
What did I think about Wonder Woman?
Well, while watching I found myself wishing that the story had been set in present day as I have grown weary of storylines of Nazis and spies. The movie also reminded me of Christopher Reeves’ Superman, but I couldn't put my finger on why until I read this article, which reveals that the director, Patti Jenkins, was heavily influenced by Superman. The dialogue is extremely clichéd. I suppose cliche’ works for a superhero flick, but I was hoping for a little more substance, reflective of the complexity of Diana’s character. The film is also quite predictable as I figured out who Ares was pretty early, so the Big Reveal near the end fell a little flat for me. I'd also hoped for a more menacing Aries as I really believe a good antagonist makes a great film.
In spite of its flaws, the cinematography and graphics are excellent and the acting is pretty good. Fight sequences and battle scenes are executed flawlessly. Robin Wright is excellent. I liked Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. I think she is believable as a woman entering a world she is unfamiliar with, presenting the perfect combination of strength, naïveté and fearlessness. Thematically, it touches on many of today’s hot topics: sexism, social stratification, and warmongering to name a few.
On that note, I recommend that you go see it. Wonder Woman is what we need right now.