Ever since the first trailer dropped people were getting pretty damn excited for the arrival of DC’s greatest warrior, but also the debut of a solo female superhero film.
No pressure right?
To put it simply, director Patty Jenkins had no option but to get it right.
Thankfully for her, she does.
Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) a.k.a. Wonder Woman made her impressive entrance in last year’s Batman vs. Superman, clearly marking her spot as a ‘kickass’ (if you will) asset to the superhero trio. Wonder Woman tells of Diana’s origin story before she was Wonder Woman, but the Princess of the Amazons, a race of female warriors whose sole duty it was to terminate the War God, Ares, if he ever re-surfaced. So waiting around on her idyllic, yet incredibly sheltered island, Diana is seen to be itching for something more and she does not have to wait much longer. When Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) crash lands on the island, he brings with him stories of ‘the war to end all wars’ igniting Diana’s heartfelt passion that is her duty to protect the world, whilst discovering her true potential.
Gal Gadot is perfectly cast as Wonder Woman. She has the beauty and athleticism, but also the gentleness and naivety of a young woman coming into her own. This mix is what keeps Diana interesting, as she does lack social skills resulting in her non-existent humour, with laughs only coming from her adjusting to her new alien environment the rest of us call home. It is too easy for Diana to become a 2D character, someone with a pretty face who has an impressive skills set, and it is clear that Jenkins and Gadot have gone to some lengths to veer as far away as possible from this.
It is fitting that the first female superhero film is a coming of age story, as the audience is also on this journey for the first time and definitely not the last time. Jenkins’ has created a story where it works having Steve as Diana’s handy sidekick, rather than the other way round. It felt as though Pine had fun in his role, as it did not take much acting to be constantly in awe of Gadot’s gracefulness as Wonder Woman. The fight sequences were up to today’s special effect standards, emphasising how just reversing the gender roles of the principal characters does not have any effect (unless you want it to) on the established, trusted formula of a superhero film: the hero(ine) + the big bad + end of the world weapon/takeover/plan = basic story, epic fight scenes, and the hero(ine) saving the day.
My only criticism is that Wonder Woman has come too late to the game. We have come to predict what happens in a superhero film, thanks to Marvel and Jenkins’ has used the trusty formula to play safe with Wonder Woman, making the film a repeat of all other superhero films, the biggest and most refreshing difference is a woman saving the day. I personally wish it came by sooner, but I will just have to be content that a female lead superhero film has finally come along, and I am excited to see more of them and Wonder Woman.
The film essentially proves women can be superheroes and make better ones than some of the male ones.