Once the Princess of the Amazons, Diana (Gal Gadot) looks back on her past as an unstoppable warrior. However, when a warplane carrying an American spy (Chris Pine) crash lands on her hidden island, she learns of a raging conflict in the outside world. Convinced that she can stop the threat, Diana leaves her home to fight alongside the soldiers of World War I and discovers the truth about her superpowers.

It took over seventy years but the Wonder Woman origin story has finally made it to the Big Screen  – and some might argue that it was worth the wait. Painter turned director, Patty Jenkins opens our narrative in the present day with Diana Prince (Gadot) in her Paris office. Having received a long lost photograph as a gift from Bruce Wayne, she is transported back to her homeland. Here, she lived peacefully with her Amazon tribe on the isolated island of Themyscira. Moulded from clay by Zeus himself, she was known only as Princess Diana to her people. Trained from a young age in combat, the women who have occupied the land for thousands of years fight only to keep the Ares, God of War, at bay.

Diana’s sheltered life is soon drawn in to the conflict of World War I after Steve Trevor, a charming American spy, crash lands on the paradise island – with German soldiers following close behind. Having never met a man and, believing Ares to be at the heart of the destruction, Diana agrees to travel to ‘The Land of Men’ (or England) to fight at the Front. However, she soon learns that there are many things she does not yet know about mankind and her own powers.

As the fourth instalment in to the DC Cinematic Universe, it feels as though we finally have a female lead with a deserving narrative. In terms of its blend of humour, action and aesthetics, there are times when it feels reminiscent of Marvel’s Captain America: The First Avenger (Joe Johnston, 2011) – for all the right reasons. But whilst it can be looked at plainly as an all-kicking, all-punching comic book hero story (which it is), it also has a great amount of significance and social context.

Wonder Woman is the first female-lead superhero blockbuster to come out of Hollywood in over a decade, the first to be directed by a female – with the highest budget – it’s success has a huge impact on the future of female roles and equality in filmmaking. As well as showcasing a powerful female lead, Wonder Woman gives the opportunity for a generation actresses often forgotten and typecast. It serves as proof that mature actresses are just as relevant in Hollywood; with Connie Nielsen and Robin Wright reinforcing that you can be even more badass and beautiful in your fifties.

Male audiences can often put off by the notion of ‘feminism’ but Wonder Woman has constant reminders of equality throughout; and at no point does it seek to exclude male spectators. It does, however, make fun of outdated gender conventions from the 1920s. The inside joke being that they still play a role in modern society. Unlike the majority of superhero films we’ve seen previously, there is no power struggle between Steve and Diana. Even though Diana is still learning about the new world, she is never portrayed as the uneducated party who needs Steve’s help, and remains relatable consistently. Their chemistry is both believable and entertaining, (reinforced by great performances from both Gal Gadot and Pine).

It is, of course, not entirely without flaws. As with all superhero genres, there are naturally times of unavoidable cliche and you can be safe in the knowledge that good will always triumph evil. On more than one occasion, however, the CGI does let the film down in part. Despite Wonder Woman being not entirely dependent on the effects, there are times when it does feel over-saturated and comes a little distracting.

Further to this, there are also moments when we feel a slight drag – a fairly slow start, building up to some incredible scenes before a slow finale. With there being so many characters, it can be said that some are less memorable than others and are brushed over. Thankfully, there is enough action, humour and stunning visuals to keep our attention throughout – but I can’t help but feel as though the film could have been twenty minutes shorter.

 

Through all the action scenes, Wonder Woman is full of heart. One of the most prominent scenes is that of when Diana goes ‘over the top’ and enters No Man’s Land. Diana is never actually referred to as ‘Wonder Woman’ at any point but this is her big reveal and the first time we see her in the iconic suit. Having been told that “no man can survive’, this is an emotional and powerful scene in which Diana proves herself to the men as bullets ricochet from her armour and she is able to conquer enemy lines. However, while it is a narrative set at the heart of war, an ever-present message to take from it is that Gods do not create war – man does.

 

In spite of some very minor flaws, the DC Extended Universe finally has its first truly enjoyable entry; the best since The Dark Knight (Christopher Nolan, 2008). Appealing both to the masses and the avid comic book fans, Wonder Woman really does offer something for everyone. I can honestly say that I left the cinema feeling empowered and excited for more.

Movie Review: Wonder Woman
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About The Author

Sophie Elizabeth

Sophie is a film blogger from South London with a degree in Film Theory and Major Production. Sophie currently works in digital marketing but in her spare time you'll find her writing reviews or at the cinema. Sophie loves all things Star Wars and Hollywood but having specialized in the Horror genre, monsters are her first love. She'll watch absolutely anything given the chance - you can find her also on her blog, http://www.popcornandglitter.co.uk Twitter: https://twitter.com/sophieathawes