I absolutely love it when a movie meets my expectations. For years I’ve been looking forward to the Wonder Woman film. It did not disappoint. I would go so far as to say, it is the best superhero film I’ve ever seen. Definitely part of the top 10 films I’ve ever seen. I loved this film. Between the humour, action and notes reflecting on history, we as an audience were taken in. Director Patty Jenkins is a genius and credit to her craft, in my opinion she has created a world that surpasses the stories previously told in the superhero universe.
The audience was captured by top notch storytelling. Both in the flow of the story and the performances on screen. For years we’ve been waiting for a solo story to be told on the scale of a full on blockbuster epic. Wonder Woman meets that criteria. There are elements of a 300 meets Captain America way of storytelling. I say Captain America because that is the best Marvel solo story and 300 because of the action sequences combined with the flow of the story, completely reminiscent in Wonder Woman, but on a higher scale.
Gal Gadot absolutely encapsulates Wonder Woman. Like I’ve said before in my Suicide Squad review discussing Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, I’m finding it hard to imagine someone else in to role of Diana. Gal Gadot is absolute perfection. She has the emotion, characteristics, mannerisms, everything down pat. I think it helps Gadot has skills when it comes to fight sequences. Her movement is absolutely amazing. That combined with brilliant camera work and directing, create scenes that make me think, I’m taking this to my gym and I will transform. Like I felt when I was a child, I want to be Wonder Woman. It’s been a while since I left the cinema thinking, I want to be that character. A while since I left the cinema feeling invigorated, as if a part of that character imprinted on me. That was the case with Wonder Woman.
Chris Pine as Steve Trevor one of my new favourite characters of all time. His interaction with Wonder Woman and his overall being really resonated with the audience. He was us, the person coming in to this new situation and explaining the realities of life. There were some really funny and lovely scenes between Steve and Diana. The way this relationship grows over the film is a testament to the writers and their delivery in storytelling, having a friendship like that grow in amongst the other stories, all the while not distracting us from the other plot lines is pure genius. The bathing scene is so well done, and helps establish the tone in their story. The growth in all the characters is so well achieved too. You come to love these characters and can’t wait to see what happens next.
Lucy Davis as Etta Candy is another new favourite character. If we were like any character in this film, we would definitely be Etta Candy. She’s the one that brings grounding to every situation. She is hilarious, bringing a light, fun hearted quality to the film. What she brings to the story, just adds to the overall appeal of the film. She’s fun and quirky, so the humour she brings to the story is honestly a breath of fresh air. It’s the type of humour that is more a comment on a situation in passing that has a really honest element to it. Her relationship with both Steve and Diana really makes her a loveable character. For that matter, I really like the use of love, or more so the idea of love in this film. How it relates to the start, middle and ending of this particular chapter. Almost like a thread that connects the different plotlines, and emotions in each of these scenes, together. Another notable mention, David Thewlis (who you may remember as Harry Potter’s beloved, Professor Lupin) stars as Sir Patrick, someone who is instrumental in the going ons of the war, he funds the mission for Diana and Steve to stop Doctor Poison. It was interesting to see Thewlis take on this character, in contrast to characters he’s played in the past. There’s dimension to his character and ultimately the delivery of his role throughout the film really adds another layer to the story in itself. Especially when it comes to his interaction with the team and that includes Etta.
Another great element to this film was the team Diana and Steve formed, Charlie (Ewan Bremner), Sameer (Saïd Taghmaoui) and Chief (Eugene Brave Rock). We start the film off with Diana in present day, receiving something from Bruce Wayne aka Batman. That package is a photo of Diana’s team. The letter reads, I’d love to know the story, it is this device that launches Diana into the telling of said story. Our beginning, and ultimately her origins story. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it is the best origin story I’ve seen yet. You go on such an amazing journey over the two hours of this film. Each part contributes to the story, it adds to the development of not just the plot but the characters. Starting off Diana is a tad unsettled by her team members as they don’t show to have the particular values she shares, but over time Diana learns you can’t judge from first impressions. Underneath each person there’s something that has made them who they are standing in front of you. With each experience you are shaped into the person you are. That photo represents that.
There was a point during one of the action sequences where I was brimming, smiling like a Cheshire cat. I was elated to see a character I’ve looked up to for decades, become a role model to a whole new generation. Add to that how amazing the action sequences were. The slow motion coupled with the amazing moves really created a feast for the eyes. This was also achieved in the training fight sequences. The Amazons on the island of Themyscira created such a cool dynamic of training and then ultimately fighting. There was a good mix between the action and story in this part too. Learning about the history and how it relates to Diana’s story, and how she then takes that mantle on to bridge that into the larger picture of the film. Connie Nielsen and Robin Wright are great both in the way they took on the roles of Queen Hippolyta (Nielsen) and General Antiope (Wright). I honestly want to be a mix between the two, particularly because both have a different type of strength. A strength that can be seen in Diana. You can see over the course of the film that Diana was given the correct arsenal of strength thanks to these two ladies. Over the course of the film with every person she meets, she gains something new, particularly understanding and a new scope on the greater meaning of the world.
Ares God of War is the villain in this film. A being whom Wonder Woman sees as the catalyst for the current World War, the main reason she has journeyed beyond the seas of Themyscira to save the World. Diana believes Ares has corrupted the minds of men and is the sole cause of the World War. That he has taken on a role within the high ranks of military to influence a nation. General Erich Ludendorff (Danny Huston) fits this bill and Maru aka Doctor Poison (Elena Anaya) is by his side creating a gas that will assist their goals. Both are a different type of villain. That’s the thing with the DC villains, two different villains may have the same goal but they each achieve it differently, in their own style. Again, a varying male – female villain duo with their own style. There are some epic fight scenes throughout and the visuals are brilliant. At one point Steve Trevor infiltrates their camp site and upon escaping, nonchalantly drops a hand bomb into a space. The visual effects in the blasts and fire work within the film are so well done. Overall the special effects were above average in Wonder Woman. There were two moments where I felt some of the imagery looked a tad blurred, particularly when it came to panning in moments that were at times moving fast, but ultimately those small problems paid no consequence to the whole aspect of the film.
The costume design is Oscar worthy. Between the outfit Diana wears in the present (I want that outfit), to her Wonder Woman warrior outfit, to her London style, the fashion in this film was beautiful. I loved Etta’s outfits too. That’s the thing, each character had an outfit that was specifically designed to represent the persona and how they relate to the situation they’re in. The hair and makeup complimented these looks, especially the hair. A lot of what I saw in the film could translate into every day life (just my excuse to look like Wonder Woman every day), between the gladiator sandals, to the royal blues and reds, along with the gold, I’m pretty sure I’ll be re-organising my wardrobe this weekend. Speaking of colours, the cinematography in this film is stunning. The contrast between the rich colours in Themyscira to the dull colours of London was achieved well, and summed up perfectly by Diana. I have to also mention how brilliant the music in the film complimented scenes. The Wonder Woman theme playing as she broke through a window in slow motion to then launch into one of the most epic fight sequences was so brilliantly done. I could not stop smiling.
Overall it’s a complex story, with complex characters that create a fantastic story, that audiences can respond to. It’s the first superhero film directed by a woman, Patty Jenkins, a director who has created cinematic brilliance. It’s truly inspiring, both in how this story was achieved/delivered and the content created. It’s very rare that I come across a film that I love this much. That gives me different levels of feeling and emotion using a variety of techniques, like humour, heart and action. Which is why I rate this film 5 stars. I will definitely watch this film again. Walking out of the theatre I was asked, “how was it?” (I was wearing a Wonder Woman top, grinning and enthusiastically analysing the film with my colleague. I replies, “It’s honestly the best, the best superhero film I’ve seen.