DC is in desperate need of a win, with Batman v Superman proving divisive and Suicide Squad less than impressive. The pressure now shifts to Amazon Diana Prince, DC's top female export. We've already seen her flash glimpses of brilliance in Dawn of Justice, but how does she manage her own fully fledged origin flick?
Wonder Woman, the film that stars Gal Gadot (Fast Five) in the lead role, features a number of firsts for DC when it comes to the silver screen. It's one of their first movies to have a female in the main protagonist role, and it's also helmed by female director Patty Jenkins, who's past projects include Monster (starring Charlize Theron). As such, Wonder Woman has everything to play for.
Kicking things off
For us, however, both Gadot and Jenkins come up trumps. The former delivered a performance that covered a wide range for a typical superhero film. Diana Prince's naivety as a young woman sheltered from the world on the island of Themyscira, her passion and desire to help those in need, not to mention her ability to duke it out with enemies, all translated well onto the screen.
Jenkins too, created a story that started strongly, drawing the audience into this world where mythology is the order of the day, and a DC story where an alien or vigilante doesn't feature at all. As such, Wonder Woman stands tall on its own, and given DC's recent chequered past when it comes to superhero films, this latest offering is one of the better options.
It's still far from reaching the heights of say, The Dark Knight, as far as the DC movie universe is concerned. The strong start mentioned earlier, where the audience is plunged head first into the world of the Amazons, is slowly lost the more time we spend away from Themyscira. Unfortunately, the greater amount of time Wonder Woman is in the company of mankind, trying to fight in their war against the Germans, the usual superhero tropes start rearing their ugly heads.
A ragtag team of misfits is banded together, for example, lead by Steve Trevor (Chris Pine, Star Trek), as they help Diana Prince in her quest to defeat Ares. The Greek God is the grand puppeteer pulling the strings behind the scenes of this great war, but the misdirection as to his true identity is all too easy to spot. That and the fact that the actor's film credit is on the Google search result page for Wonder Woman.
Other elements of the film that wasn't to our liking was the extent of Wonder Woman's powers, which seem to waver between daily crossfitter in some scenes to superhuman insanity in others. Perhaps this is just a byproduct of Diana being better trained than say Henry Cavill's Man of Steel, but if we compare to the Wonder Woman I saw in Dawn of Justice and this version, the difference is quite stark, with the latter lacking some punch.
The same could be said of the action sequences, particularly the one involving Ares near the end. It seems like the bigger the fight scenes got, the less tight the choreography became. Diana's training on Themyscira or the room of German soldiers she takes out in the first trailer for the film, translate far better to the big screen than CGI-laden ones. Moving forward, hopefully future filmmakers stick to having Wonder Woman fighting up close and personal, kinda like Batman in Dawn of Justice, which was easily one of the best parts of that movie.
As far as superhero origins go, Wonder Woman is a solid effort, with this character's solo film long overdue. The movie starts strong, but eventually suffers from some of the stereotypical elements seen in films of the same genre. Luckily, the action (especially early on) as well as Gal Gadot's performance are enough to hold the audience's attention.
The sequel to this film though, needs to head back to Themyscira, as it's where the storytelling is strongest.
SCORE: 7.5 out of 10