Despite a rough opening half hour Wonder Woman manages to take a ‘fish out of water’ story and make it feel fresh and unique.
The DC Extended Universe films have been anything but stellar since the release of Man of Steel, which had many problems of its own. This poor track record completely muted my expectations for upcoming DC projects including the upcoming Justice League film. Thankfully what Wonder Woman does with its well told story gives some hope for the future, creating a film that somehow feel fresh despite being a known quantity.
With all this being said, there was a real opportunity to make a tight and snappy 2 hour film (somehow that is snappy now), but instead the run time eeks out to 141 minutes, with at least 20 uninteresting minutes of dull exposition to start the film. Once we get past the slow build the film rattles along at a great pace, rarely feeling dull or slow. Going forward without the need for a ‘new’ character introduction, hopefully we see the length come down to a solid 2 hours. It will be interesting to see what director Patty Jenkins would do with a sequel, already stating that she wants to bring Wonder Woman to America’s shores. Whether it is current day or days past again, with the introductory business out of the way, a full sequel would be exciting.
Before she was Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, trained to be an unconquerable warrior. Raised on a sheltered island paradise, Diana meets an American pilot (Chris Pine), whose plane crash lands into the islands waters. Fleeing from the German enemy he tells her about the massive conflict that’s raging in the outside world. Convinced that she can stop the threat, Diana leaves her home for the first time. Fighting alongside men in a war to end all wars, she finally discovers her full powers and true destiny.
Since Gal Gadot stole the spotlight with her first performance as Wonder Woman in the disappointing Batman vs Superman, their was a buzz for what she would bring to a full Wonder Woman film. What we get is a really charismatic and charming performance that hits all the right notes. It is as consistent as it is ambitious from Diana’s introduction to a new civilisation, that echoes the first Thor film, to the stunning action sequences that just ooze style. Pine continues to be one of the more underrated stars of Hollywood, also excelling in his role as Diana’s love interest and link to the war Capt. Steve Trevor.
The nice thing about the film is that it lives in a space that is an in-between point of the dark styling of a Nolan Batman and the technicolour insanity of an Avengers. Grounded in some form of odd reality it finds a difference that is desperately needed in the realm of superhero movies. Not expecting to love the film due to DCEU’s very subpar track record, Jenkins, Gadot and co. left me very surprised and with a feeling of excitement again for further interesting superhero outings.