The main issue I have with the DC Extended Universe is just how relentlessly dark and gritty it is. Ever since Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, movie studio Warner Bros. has evidently insisted on having tragic, moody superheroes torturing themselves over moral quandaries. Thankfully, that tradition has been left behind with the latest entry in the DCEU, Wonder Woman.

The iconic Amazonian princess only had a bare-bones introduction in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. There was no space to explore her background story during the over-stuffed 151-minute run-time. As it turns out, this was a boon for us, as the full-length origin story of Wonder Woman definitely deserved its own movie. And what a movie it is!

Starting on the lush, hidden island of Themyscira, the colour palette of Wonder Woman’s first Act is suffused with bright colours. This is both a refreshing departure from the usual muted tones we have come to expect from DC movies and serves as a contrast when the action moves on to London and war-torn Belgium. But back to the start, as we are introduced to young Amazonian Princess Diana, the only child on the island. Diana longs to be a warrior, which her mother Queen Hippolyta (Connie Neilson), has strictly forbidden. But train Diana does, under the secret tutelage of the Amazonian General, her aunt Antiope (Robin Wright) – until the grown Princess proves herself the strongest of all the Amazon warriors.

However, fate throws a spanner in the works when Captain Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) crash-lands on Themyscira, unwittingly bringing the outside world of mortal man with him. After saving Captain Trevor’s life, Diana and the rest of the Amazons engage in a truly epic beach battle with invading WWI Era German forces. In possession of stolen intelligence about a German chemist known as Doctor Poison, Captain Trevor needs to get back to London to deliver the information to the stuffy old white dudes in charge of the Allied war effort. Once Diana learns of The Great War, she makes up her mind to leave the island with Captain Trevor to hunt down the forces who she believes are sowing discord amongst Man to perpetuate the fighting. Kill these baddies, end the war.

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Thus kicks off Diana’s journey, both literally and figuratively. As she travels with Captain Trevor, she learns more about herself and the strange world she finds herself in. At this point, I can’t even begin to explain just how breath-taking Gal Gadot’s portrayal of Wonder Woman is. She is absolute perfection.

Gadot’s Diana is stunningly beautiful and filled with a quiet, unwavering strength. What makes her so endearing is that she is absolutely unaware of just how beautiful she is. This isn’t to be mistaken for naivety, though the world of mortal man is somewhat bewildering to her. Instead, Diana shoulders the burden of learning about the tragedies of The Great War with grace and a determination to make things better.

There is never a moment where Diana’s beauty or womanhood is used as a plot device. Sure, characters comment on how drop-dead gorgeous she is, but it never puts her at an advantage. Instead, her unwavering conviction is the main driving force of the plot. Even when Diana is inevitably confronted with a situation where she’s dismissed as “just a girl” with nothing meaningful to contribute, she deftly proves the doubters wrong. Most importantly, she does so without malice.

Meanwhile, Pine’s cynical, world-weary Steve Trevor serves partly as the comedic foil to Diana’s serious straight man (as it were), and partly as a voice of reason. Though he gets some great one-liners, and a backstory of his own, Pine is somewhat eclipsed by the sheer force of Gadot’s performance. However, Pine’s Trevor has a hidden strength of his own – one forged in the flames of war. Though somewhat rusted, Diana brings out his inner steel. As she does with rest of the motley crew that Captain Trevor ropes in for their mission.

The mission itself is fairly uncomplicated: Do Good. There are bad people doing bad things, and Wonder Woman must stop them. As Captain Trevor and Diana make their way from Themyscira to London and then German-occupied Belgium, Diana grows in conviction and character. The depth of feeling between the pair also grows and, when the inevitable love story kicks in, it feels wonderfully natural. Despite being a literal goddess, Diana treats Captain Trevor as an equal, and there is no imbalance of power that usually comes with being a superhero’s love interest. It’s another testament to Gadot’s impeccable acting that she conveys all these emotions with just a quirk of her mouth or twitch of an eyebrow.

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Unfortunately, while Gadot may be flawlessness personified, the same can’t be said for Wonder Woman the movie as a whole. While the fight scenes may be thrilling, in wider-angle shots there is a noticeable overuse of green-screen and CGI. The third Act and final fight scene also drag on for ages, as the latter would have benefited from tighter pacing and less villainous monologuing.

That being said, the fight scenes really are thrilling. Wonder Woman in close-quarters combat is a jaw-dropping sight. There is never a moment when you doubt that the character’s power and acrobatics are possible. Even though her rock-guitar electric cello-heavy anthem doesn’t quite suit the era of the movie, it fits seamlessly into her combat style. Diana is a force of nature, terrible and beautiful to behold. Nothing holds her back.

There is no question director Patty Jenkins expertly handles the portrayal of a female superhero. Although I hate the phrase “strong female character”, Jenkins has crafted the epitome of what a female superhero should be. There’s no sacrifice of Diana’s feminine side, nor is her feminity called into question. Her being a woman is not the sole motivation. Instead, she is a powerful, inspiring hero who happens to be a woman.

After all the hype, and subsequent let-down, of Batman v Superman, and even Suicide Squad, Wonder Woman is a breath of fresh air. There may be some niggles towards the end, but a straightforward plot, a truly heroic hero, plenty of edge-of-your-seat action and a wonderfully natural story progression all make for a welcome break from the DCEU tradition of mediocrity.

Last Updated: May 30, 2017

Wonder Woman
Summary
Honestly, we’ve waited too long for a kick-ass, take-charge superhero without a tortured background. Wonder Woman is truly a hero, and she personifies what the rest of the DCEU should strive to be.
8.0
/10
76/ 100
  • Chris C

    Glad it’s good. Just hope the DCEU doesn’t turn into the MCU but with DC characters. People want that, they have the dozen plus MCU movies to watch. Plus the constant quipping that completely destroys the tension in scenes they unnecessarily drop jokes in has gotten beyond annoying.

    DCEU movies can be a nice contrast with the gorgeous cinematography, “gritty” tone and yes, even some humor here and there. Just don’t overdo it like the MCU tends to do.

    • Nomis

      Agreed!!

      We already got one Disney inspired humor MCU (ugh) that goes against everything Marvel comic books got famous for, we don’t need another.

    • Thesanmich

      I agree. I love the MCU but I do agree the recent films have gotten too comedy-heavy. I want more of their films to be like Winter Soldier and less like Iron Man 3. The reviewer kinda shits on the DCEU for being too moody but I hardly think thats the problem. Its good to have grittiness.

      • Matthew Holliday

        Commenting on the “comedy heavy” part of your comment.
        Guardians of the Galaxy 2 was an awesome comedy, but a pretty average superhero movie.

    • Hammersteyn

      Nailed it.

    • Magoo

      Absolutely agree. I think it’s the worst in Spoeder Man. The mid-life-threatening-fight quirky one-liners are utter cringe.

  • I actually like the darker tones of the movies, things cant be too bright and happy all the time, glad to hear Wonder Women is a decent movie atleast

  • Viktor Navarro

    Glad to see it’s not about MUH FEMINISM, as it seems from this review.

  • Jamie Carmichael

    Even though this article is optimistic, it makes the movie sound terrible. All the key elements to a good movie go totally neglected. Character development, empathy, setup and payoff – all these are neatly glossed over to focus on the fact that ‘Omg it’s a girl superhero’ and ‘Omg the action scenes look great’. The fact that the other DC universe movies were ‘dark and gritty’ wasn’t their failing. Their failing was that they were narrative cluster-mucks with no likable characters and barely coherent arcs. Does Wonder Woman actually solve these dire, glaring issues in the universe?

  • Tim Taylor

    What kind of weird shilling is this? Did DC just make this site to promote this movie? No way I’m watching any more DCEU garbage in theaters. I’m tired of the DCEU disappointment.

    • Speed_kills

      Ok that’s cool and all but trailers look good, critics say it’s good, fans say it’s good and here you are still allowing the mistakes of the past shape your opinion of this movie. Even though this movie has different produces and director than the D.C. Movies you don’t like. Sorry but you sound like one of those Marvel fan boys who hate on D.C. movies. Just be real

    • lol what? If DC created the site for this review that’s a huge amount of effort and a ton of foresite… definitely a contender for Comment of the Week

      • Dresden

        No use lying to us anymore, Gavin. The jig is up! We now know the truth!

      • Busted!

      • BakedBagel

        Gavin.

        Dont try and deny this allegation.
        Your back is against the wall here.

        Admit this entire site is a vessel for DC content and we are all employees of DC.

        Why lie?

    • Hammersteyn
  • That L Chap

    Great review, it sounds exactly like what I wanted it to be. One error, though: Wonder Woman’s theme is performed on an electric cello by Tina Guo, not on a guitar.

    • Tracy Benson

      Oh, I didn’t know that! Thank you 🙂

  • Gary Revel Jr.

    I heard that the character development in this film is very on point when it comes to Diana and Steve and that sounds very promising as well as with most reviews being positive, I cannot help but expect a good film. I am a huge fan of Wonder Women and will probably see it several times while it is in theaters.

  • patriciaK

    the main portion of the WW theme is an electric cello by Tina Guo… it is not a guitar.

    • Tracy Benson

      I stand corrected, thank you 🙂 I wasn’t aware it was an electric cello

  • Amao Mao

    I would say, tragic super hero stories are fine, that’s how I watched Batman Begin till BvS, I liked them all. There are reasons they got into such tragic spots, but it’s ultimately how they live with, and overcome those tragedies that make the films great.

    That said, I cannot stress enough that how eager I am to watch Wondy on big screen!

  • Zoe Hawkins

    DAMMIT TRACY, now i need to go see this movie! Who wants to baby sit?

    • Tracy Benson

      I’d offer to babysit but i want to go watch it again!

  • MonsterCheddar

    This movie really looks awesome.

    And……. GAL GADOT…..Need I say more.

    • Hammersteyn

      <3

      • MonsterCheddar

        Is that a heart or balls?

        • Hammersteyn

          A heart, but she can have whatever she wants

          • MonsterCheddar

            XD. Indeed. I agree with you on that one.

  • Hammersteyn

    Gonna be so good. Nice review.

  • konfab

    “Once Diana learns of The Great War, she makes up her mind to leave the island with Captain Trevor to hunt down the forces who she believes are sowing discord amongst Man to perpetuate the fighting. Kill these baddies, end the war.”

    So is she going after treaties between nation states and the scarcity of natural resources then? The causes of total war are quite a bit more complex than the presence of people you don’t like.

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      You do know that comic world isn’t the same as real world, right?

      • Jennifer

        zinngggg lol

    • Tracy Benson

      Reviews tend to be deliberately vague to avoid any major plot spoilers. Although Diana’s specific adversary has been an open secret for a long time, I removed the name so it can be a surprise for cinema-goers.You’ll just need to watch the movie to find out what it means 🙂

  • Kenn Gibson

    Watched today. would watch again. 5/7

  • Jennifer

    Tracy Benson thank you for that review. I agree completely. Took my 12-year-old daughter expecting a slightly entertaining DC movie. Left agreeing with her we had to take my husband the next night to see it. It was such an amazing movie. What I do for a living literally pits me against the “evildoers” and this movie has me feeling like I can handle it. Loved it.

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