Wonder Woman is one of those films that I’ve dreamed about seeing at the movie theater for years. We’ve been Supermaned and Batmaned to death with makes, remakes, re-remakes, and even re-re-remakes. The time to make a movie about one of the other Justice League’s key members was well past due. So when I discovered that a movie studio was finally bringing Wonder Woman to the big screen, I was beyond ecstatic. Finally, Princess Diana of Themyscira will get her time in the spotlight.
But as the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) started rolling out their rebooted cinematic brand, I began to worry about the final Wonder Woman product us fans would be seeing at theaters. Man of Steel had lukewarm reception from critics and fans while Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was viewed as a huge disappointment with plenty of missed opportunities. Many movie-goers hoped that Suicide Squad would be the film to turn the tide for DCEU, but it proved to be a big flop despite making $325M at the box office. And in my humble opinion, that movie is almost unwatchable.
When I walked into the movie theater Friday afternoon, I had fingers, toes, eyes, and breasts crossed because Wonder Woman had to succeed where other DCEU movies failed. Why? Mainly because the hero was a woman. Yeah, let’s be honest here. The comic book genre of films is male-dominated. And while there are sometimes strong female characters who help beat the bad guys/good guys, we know that the real heroes are most often dudes. Additionally, DC needed a ginormous break to give the fans hope that the next installment, Justice League, would be worth their time and disposable income. Well, I’m proud to proclaim that Wonder Woman, she did that.
Directed by Patty Jenkins, Wonder Woman opens in Themyscira with a very young Princess Diana admiring the combat finesse of the Amazons. Their workout plan will immediately have you going on kayak.com to look for flights to Paradise Island. This was seriously some of the best battle moves I’ve ever seen ever. And they were just practicing at this point. Practicing! Lil’ Diana wants to learn how to fight like the big girls, but Queen Mommy Hippolyta is determined that her daughter will have a somewhat normal childhood. So, Auntie Antiope begins training tiny Di in secret. When their secret pact is finally discovered, the Queen tells Antiope that she will train Diana harder than any other Amazon before. The result is, of course, that the future Wonder Woman is molded into badassedness at its best.
Life in Themyscira is typical for Diana until a World War I (WWI) fighter plane crashes off the shores of her homeland. She rescues the pilot, Steve Trevor, whose arrival quickly challenges the Amazons with new enemies. Based on his intel, Diana learns that the valuable information he carries has the potential to save lives. So, she embarks on a journey that will take her far away from everyone and everything she has known and loved her whole life all for the sake of saving humanity from themselves.
This was a top-notch origin story with plenty of humor and heartfelt moments. Gal Gadot’s performance as Diana is wonderful. She embodies everything we have always associated with the Wonder Woman character. Her interactions with Chris Pine, the actor who portrays Steve Trevor, are funny and charming. The two have great chemistry together. I’ve found that the combat strategy in WWI was probably some of the worst in the history of military conflict. So many lives were lost because the powers that be honestly had no clue how to fight with a more modern type of warfare. For this reason, I appreciated those details in the movie which really showed how brave and admirable the men were who braved those trenches in No Man’s Land when victory was nowhere in sight. The film also explores the dangers of chemical warfare, and the lengths that people will go through to win. And let’s not talk about Women’s fashion. How can you protect humanity with ankle-length frocks that prevent necessary kick action? LOL! From a fangirl and history nerd perspective, Wonder Woman is a win-win situation.
Overall, Wonder Woman was a great movie. I could have watched the Amazons train the entire time. That’s how amazing their combat scenes were. Thank you so much, movie gods, for Zack Snyder taking a seat out of the director’s chair this time around, and sticking him in just the storytelling stuff. If you don’t think that made a difference, well, let’s pick this conversation up when Justice League hits theaters later this year. Snyder had been the director in all recent DCEU films. I’ll be surprised if Justice League is more than “meh” with him at the helm. My recommendation is that you take a travel pack of tissues when you go see Wonder Woman. Just in case your eyes leak at certain moments. (Full disclosure: I keep going to see these blockbuster movies this year, and every time I’m battling eye leakage. That’s just a testament to all that goes into the heart and soul of these films. And perhaps a secret agreement between the major studios and the Kleenex corporation. #NoDryEyes)
Did you check out Wonder Woman this weekend? Share your comments below.