Wonder Woman (2017)
Directed by Patty Jenkins (Monster) and screenwritten by Allan Heinberg (Grey’s Anatomy, The O.C.), Wonder Woman is the fourth instalment in the Detective Comics Extended Universe (DCEU) superhero film series and it focuses on the titular heroin’s origin story set during the World War I period. Diana / Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) is an Amazonian princess who grows up on the hidden island of Themyscira. After saving US army spy Steve Trevor (Chris Pines) and learning about the world outside, she decides to leave the island to end the war and kill Ares, the god of war, whom she believes is the catalyst of the war.
This is the one that we’ve been waiting for from Warner-DC. One that’s not overly rushed, bloated, choppy, grim or forcefully funny. It focuses on mainly on one important character like Man of Steel (2013) and gave her the proper narratives and development that’s essential to get both general audiences and fans behind the superheroine and feel genuinely engaged and compelled. Yes, its formula is quite the typical, average origin story with highly predictable final act and boring, underdeveloped stock villains but the film ticks almost every requirement box for a modern superhero flick.
The film has a well balanced tone of seriousness, humour, sadness and pure over-the-top superhero stuff. It has very impressively entertaining action sequences with actual fight choreography shot wide angle and a mix of practical and CG effect. If you loved Batman’s warehouse scene in Batman v Superman
(2016), you’d love every action scene in the first two act in this one. On top of all that, the story surprisingly carries deep themes of human nature and war, which many may not have expected from a DCEU film, and it’s so very politically correct as well. There’s this one scene where Diana asks Chief (Eugune Brave Rock), an ally of Red Indian descent, about who took his people’s land and he said Trevor’s people, subtly conveying the irony of the war they’re helping America to win. Perhaps the most honest moment in superhero film history.
Gal Gadot’s (Batman v Superman, Fast & Furious 6) charismatic performance as the superheroine is just wonderful — full-mark portrayal of innocence, intelligence, righteousness, heroism, independence and courage. She also nailed the funny moments and action sequences. Her comrade-cum-love relationship with Chris Pine’s (Star Trek films, Hell or High Water) character is very convincing as well. Pine’s performance as the ordinary soldier who just wants to help end the war, is highly commendable too.
The film does have more than just the few problems mentioned. Although the film is not too rushed, it is still a tad bit too fast-paced. Some of the supporting characters and villains needed more screen time and development. The first act, set in the beautifully shot fictional Amazonian island, is like a quickie version of Disney’s Moana (2016). If more time is spent on the island, the emotional impact that the act seeks may be much stronger. Again, the final act and its ending are highly cliched, leaving some basic questions unanswered as well. And its attempt to close out with the love-triumphs-everything message just didn’t quite connect for me. However, despite its flaws, I’d still say I enjoyed Wonder Woman a lot more than its Marvel counterpart Captain America: The First Avenger (2011).
Post-credit scene? No, there isn’t even a mid-credit scene. Suicide Squad (2016) remains to be the only one in the DCEU series to have a mid/post-credit scene.
Malaysian censorship: Like most superhero flicks, I doubt there’s any scene that needs to be cut. The inevitable kiss is left intact.
Verdict: Hands down, easily the best film in the DCEU thus far.
Rating: 4 / 5
Running Time: 137 minutes
Director: Patty Jenkins
Screenwriter: Allan Heinberg
Cast: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, Ewen Bremner, Said Taghmaoui, Elena Anaya, Lucy Davis, Connie Nielsen
Malaysia Release Date: 1 June 2017
Local Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures Malaysia
Production: DC Films, Atlas Entertainment, Cruel and Unusual Films, Tencent Pictures, Wanda Pictures