The DC Cinematic Universe has had what many consider a rocky start. Yes, each film so far has been immensely profitable, but unlike the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the films have been mostly panned by critics and fans alike. I truly believe, no matter how well they are marketed, if the DC films didn’t begin to improve, people would stop going to them. Thankfully, “Wonder Woman” delivers a cohesive narrative that films like “Batman v Superman” and “Suicide Squad” did not. Zack Snyder can direct the hell out of an action sequence, but he could learn a thing or two from “Wonder Woman” helmer Patty Jenkins about telling an actual story.
The film begins on the hidden island of Theemyscira, a place inhabited only by Amazonian woman warriors. Princess Diana (Gal Gadot) has trained since childhood to become the greatest warrior on the island. Although her mother Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen) was against it first, she allowed her sister Antiope (Robin Wright) to instruct Diana. When a fighter plane crashes into the water just off the island, Diana leaps into the water and rescues American Spy, Steve Trevor (Chris Pine). Unfortunately, this leads to some more unwelcomed guests and a beach set battle between Germans and the Amazons.
Unaware that there was a war going on in the world around them, Diana chooses to leave the island with Steve, in order to find Ares, the son of Zeus, who is behind the world’s devastation. This leads us to Diana aka Wonder Woman, Steve Trevor and a group of interesting characters, played by the very talented Saïd Taghmaoui, Ewen Bremner and Eugene Brave Rock to the heart of World War 1. Their mission is to stop German General Ludendorff (Danny Huston) and Doctor “Poison” Maru (Elena Anaya) plans to kill millions of people with a deadly gas. Diana believes that Ares is actually the one behind this, but Steve is not so sure.
Setting “Wonder Woman” during the time of the first World War was very much what was needed for the first cinematic adventure of this character. I don’t count “Batman v Superman” as her film because she was obviously thrown into that mix as more of an afterthought. Jenkins gives us a fun, though a little overly long adventure that feels more like classic Hollywood that modern blockbuster.
Pine and Gadot have great chemistry together and Jenkin’s proves that she knows how to handle a massive undertaking. Screen writer Allan Heinberg also does a great job with his first feature film writing credit, coming off scripting episodes of “Grey’s Anatomy”, Sex and the City”, and “Gilmore Girls”. This man has plenty of experience writing women. And was the smart choice for bringing such an iconic character to life. “Wonder Woman” is a great deal of fun, with plenty of thrilling action. I have been underwhelmed with this season’s first group of blockbusters. Yes, I dug “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” but the latest installments of “Alien” and “Pirates” failed to deliver much enjoyment.
We are just months away from seeing Wonder Woman back on the big screen with “Justice League” this fall. Hopefully that team was taking notes with “Wonder Woman”. It would be a shame for DC to take another step backwards after this huge leap forwards.
By: Marc Ferman