“Wonder Woman” has created quite a stir and quite frankly it’s just because she’s a super hero who happens to be female. And, get ready for even more shocking news, the director is also a woman (Patty Jenkins). It seems that the very axis of the world is wobbling uncontrollably because of “Wonder Woman.” To add insult to injury, the Austin, TX Alamo Drafthouse held a “women only” screening of the super hero film which has garnered an outcry from overlooked men everywhere. Poor dears. Excluded from a movie screening…in one town…for one night. The entire situation brings tears to my eyes. What’s next? 50% of Congress is comprised of women?
The question remains, is the new “Wonder Woman,” starring the mesmerizingly gorgeous Gal Gadot and the handsomely charismatic Chris Pine going to live up to all the hype? The answer is yes. While this character has been around for quite some time—Wonder Woman is a founding member of the Justice League—and portrayed in comic books, animated shows, and television by Lynda Carter back in the 1970’s, it’s been decades since this or any female has been a lead character in a super hero movie. And I think we all know how many super hero movies there have been recently!
This new “Wonder Woman” is an action-packed movie filled with evil characters as well as the requisite love story and misfit hero helpers that will entertain (are you ready for this?) both sexes. Here’s the one resounding difference: all the women are strong, intelligent, independent, and fit. What a role model for young girls! No damsels in distress. No emaciated model-types looking gaunt and weak. It’s pure strength and equality.
We meet the young Wonder Woman aka Diana as an adorable, precocious and head-strong little girl (Lilly Aspell) who works her way into your heart. As she grows, her mother, the Queen of the Amazonians (Connie Nielsen) is hesitant about training her to be a warrior and leader. There are secrets she does not share until one day, a WWII plane crashes and Diana rescues the pilot, Capt. Steve Trevor (Pine), a spy for the British Army. The Germans find him and bring catastrophic death to the women. Diana, bound by her moral commitment to help all, leaves the island and travels with Trevor to London in search of the God of War, Aries, to kill him and bring peace back to the world.
“Wonder Woman” starts off strong and keeps this powerful pace going for most of the film. The story is familiar, as would be expected in all super hero movies, but there are fresh aspects to it that keep you glued to the screen. The humor interwoven into the film’s fabric create overt as well as subtle moments of laughter—reproductive necessities, shopping for just the right outfit (“Outfit #224), and the inequalities of women’s rights during that time period all create a comedic relief. There are also quite a few socially relevant statements that still ring true to today’s times if you listen carefully.
Casting Gadot as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman is nothing short of perfection. Visually, she is absolutely stunning, yet there is so much more to her performance than just a pretty face. She has depth and heart—exactly what you would expect from her character. By her side is the equally talented Pine who embodies the hero with charm and humor and together the two hold viewers spellbound. Nielsen creates a tough mother and queen character, but also gives us one of the most touching moments in the film. As she parts from Diana, her words of wisdom are perhaps words all mothers should utter regarding worthiness. In fact, the entire cast shines in their respective roles creating this comic book/real life amalgam of a world.
Special effects and precision of choreographed fighting play an enormous role in “Wonder Woman,” adding an element of captivating fantasy. Using slow-motion in a Guy Ritchie-type of fashion paired with unique camera perspectives give “Wonder Woman” that comic book flare. Where this film fails is the non-stop battle and explosions for the final 30 minutes. This seems to be typical of ALL super hero movies. While the end is fitting, a bit of editing could have made this film stand out even more from all the rest.
“Wonder Woman” will definitely live up to the hype and DC Comics couldn’t be any happier to have broadened their already large viewer base. Setting examples of strong, independent, fit women is something to support. It’s a daring move by Warner Bros. to attempt to feature a female this way. Maybe the movies can pave the way to see women in a more equal light. Perhaps we can all be Wonder Women.