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Wonder Woman – Gal Gadot Against the God of War

MOVIE REVIEW – A summer popcorn superhero action flick, romance movie and anti-war drama at the same time, Wonder Woman takes its time putting its title character center stage in all her Amazonian splendor. But when it does get down to superheroine business, this latest DC Comics ‘extended universe’ outing packs a decent punch and, in Israeli model Gal Gadot, introduces a star with real franchise potential.

 

As far as the ticket sales go, the two previous DC extended universe entries have been, by superhero standards, strong but not spectacular performers, with Suicide Squad taking $746m worldwide and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (in which Gadot’s Wonder Woman made a brief appearance) $873m. Also, the two former movies were critical flops: Batman V Superman was only decent, and Suicide Squad was nothing short of mediocre.

This female-driven and female-directed third entry may be perhaps the answer of what DC fans were waiting for, and it could match or even top those numbers. Why? Because it finally seems to be a very good DCEU movie.

Say goodbye to dark brooding!

Yes, it may have taken four films to get there, but the DC Extended Universe has finally created a good old-fashioned superhero. Sure, previous entries in the Warner Bros. assembly line have given us sporadically successful, demystified takes on Batman and Superman, but they’ve all seemed skeptical, if not downright hostile, toward the sort of unabashed do-gooderism that DC Comics’ golden-age heroes exemplified.

Never inclined to to musing in morose brooding solitude, and taking more to Richard Donner’s flicks than those of Christopher Nolan, Patty Jenkins’ “Wonder Woman” provides a welcome respite from DC’s house style of grim darkness — energetic, earnest, sometimes sloppy, yet consistently entertaining — with star Gal Gadot proving an inspired choice for this avatar of truth, justice, and the Amazonian way.

While Gadot’s Diana Prince had a decent amount of screen time in last year’s “Batman v. Superman,” fortunately, “Wonder Woman” needs no previous knowledge of any previous franchise entry — or of the character herself, for that matter. With most of the film’s likely audience far too young to remember Lynda Carter’s Wonder Woman, Gadot and Jenkins have an unusually broad license to introduce the character to filmgoers, and they remain largely faithful to her comics origins while also crafting a hero who is both thoroughly internationalist and refreshingly old-school. In her earliest comics, Gal Gadot was an all-American superheroine with a mythical background; in this film, she’s an essentially mythical force who just happens to fight for America.

As Diana, Gadot is excellent, bringing fresh breath and intelligent acting to the DC Extended Universe. In Dawn Of Justice she proved that she could handle the kicking and the punching. Here, she gets actual, honest-to-goodness dialogue, and invests Diana with excitable exuberance, bristling defiance and a disarming belief in doing the right thing. She’s also funny, particularly when she goes full bumbling Clark Kent.

True romance

Where it echoes Donner’s masterpiece most is in the central relationship between Diana and Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), a canny recasting of the Clark Kent/Lois Lane affair. The twist is that Pine is Lois: impulsive, brilliant, hopelessly in love with a living God. But he’s more than just the dude in distress — as an above average (his words) spy in his right, he carries a lot of the film’s narrative thrust while deploying that his own sort of deadpan humor (also used in Star Trek) to undercut the ridiculousness of things such as the Lasso Of Truth. The romance between Diana and Steve is actually so charming that it becomes the film’s center force.

Unfortunately, the same can’t be told of Danny Huston hammy acting as generic German guttersnipe. David Thewlis is also surprisingly bland – I expected more from the former main actor of Naked and other excellent movies. Never mind them — this is all about the Amazon prime and the man who can do little else but stare at her in wonder.

The Great War

The strange choice to set the action during World War I instead of World War II may make some uncomfortable – especially fans of the old comic book. However, it gives Patty Jenkins a chance to play with themes of female empowerment, feminism and standing up against oppression.

It’s a film about the evil that men do, from small, snippy stuff to the big, bad, bigoted bullshit that could destroy the planet, and viewing this world through the eyes of Diana, a woman who’s never seen a man before, much less been told by one what she can and cannot do, is hugely refreshing.

It’s not all wonderful, unfortunately. There are logical gaps, and unexplained things: how on earth Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) and his German pursuers gets trough the portal (or what portal is it anyway) is never explained, while it’s a pivotal, central moment of the movie.

The last 20 minutes also can’t avoid the clichés, and the overly CG mistakes comic book movies seem cursed to repeat. It’s a shame because what we have all the way until that moment is a big, goofy grin-on-your-kisser fun, that could teach caped crusaders and men of steel a thing or two. She’s got this, alright.

Still, after a few mediocre attempts, the DC Extended Universe has its first truly terrific entry under its belt. It’s about damn time!

-BadSector-

MOVIE REVIEW – A summer popcorn superhero action flick, romance movie and anti-war drama at the same time, Wonder Woman takes its time putting its title character center stage in all her Amazonian splendor. But when it does get down to superheroine business, this latest DC Comics ‘extended universe’ outing packs a decent punch and, in Israeli model Gal Gadot, introduces a star with real franchise potential.   As far as the ticket sales go, the two previous DC extended universe entries have been, by superhero standards, strong but not spectacular performers, with Suicide Squad taking $746m worldwide and Batman…
Still, after a few mediocre attempts, the DC Extended Universe has its first truly terrific entry under its belt. It’s about damn time!

Wonder Woman

Directing - 8.2
Actors - 8.1
Story - 7.8
Visuals - 8.4
Ambiance - 8.6

8.2

EXCELLENT

Still, after a few mediocre attempts, the DC Extended Universe has its first truly terrific entry under its belt. It’s about damn time!

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