I would consider myself in the group of people who thought that the best part of “Batman v. Superman” was the brief appearance of Wonder Woman. Also for the record I think that “Bv.S: Dawn of Justice-The Ultimate Edition” is a great movie. I was also in the camp that believed that DC should not follow the Marvel Method of filmmaking, as successful as it has been. They, like their comic counterparts should strive to be different from each other. They started well enough with “Man of Steel” an unfairly underrated movie. But they went a little too dark and somber in their tone their second time out. It at times felt like Batman, Superman, and even Wonder Woman to a certain extent were heroes who hated being heroic. But when Gal Gadot was on screen, she was something else, after being thrown into a wall by Doomsday, she gets that slight grin and charges back into battle. Needless to say, at that moment I was ready to see her in her own movie.
“Wonder Woman” begins with a pretty typical comic book movie formula, a character narrating and flashing back to their origin. This is where we meet young Diana of Themyscira, a paradise island of Amazon women led by her mother Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen) who reluctantly has Diana trained by their fiercest warrior and Hippolyta’s sister General Antiope (Robin Wright). As Diana (Gadot) grows to a powerful young woman, she encounters a crashed plane and rescues its pilot, Captain Steven Trevor (Chris Pine) an American spy with information about the next step in Germany’s plan to win World War I. Diana and Steve eventually leave Themyscira for the Western Front because Diana believes Ares the god of war is the reason the world of men is engaged in deadly battle. While Steve is out to take down the evil General Ludendorff (Danny Huston) and his right hand scientist Dr. Maru/Dr. Poison (Elena Anaya) who are on the verge of unleashing a dangerous chemical that could change the course of the war.
Where “Wonder Woman” succeeds in the realm of the DC film universe is not too different from why TV shows like “The Flash”, and “Supergirl” are getting it right. Summed up by co-creator of those DC shows Andrew Kreisberg: “Action, Humor, and Heart.” When you have those three things, it can be the difference between a good superhero movie and/or show, and a great one. The first two DC films had the Action down for sure, and was only slight with it’s humor, and the heart, well there was very little of that going on with the gloom and doom of the Caped Crusader and the Man of Steel. Wonder Woman however nails all three of those criteria. I admit I was worried, as much as I liked Gadot’s portrayal of Wonder Woman, I was afraid she would be too brash and arrogant for her own good. But this is younger more naive Diana and Godat plays her just so. She’s strong, but gentle, inquisitive like a child, but brave in her convictions, and most importantly she fights for what is right and for those that can’t fight for themselves. She is a true heroic warrior.
Pine as Trevor is a fantastic foil for Gadot, they have great chemistry together and fill that 50’s comedy couple troupe while not feeling too old fashion. And even if some of the action is not rendered as well as it could be, it still has some spectacular looking action scenes. Especially an early scene on the shores of Themyscira where Robin Wright made me wish for a Antiope prequel.
Director Patty Jenkins (Monster) makes all the right moves by letting Gadot and Pine carry the movie but never forgetting who the star is, as there are countless scenes of Diana kicking ass as there are of her being vulnerable. The balance is key to making “Wonder Woman” a welcomed sight is a otherwise struggling series of films. Now that we got “Justice League” on the horizon, they would do right by giving the reins of that team to a woman who is truly a wonder to behold.