Wonder Woman Review:
Finally, after 75 years of waiting for just the right script, the right platform, the right studio to take a chance on another female superhero, at last, Wonder Woman has hit the big screen just in time to kick off the summer! Unfortunately, it was not as iconic as we had hoped.
Raised on the secluded island of Themyscira as the daughter of Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen), a young rambunctious Princess Diana (Gal Gadot) longed to become a great Amazon warrior like her mother and her idol General Antiope (Robin Wright). Forbidden from training by the Queen, Diana went to great lengths to hide her lessons with Antiope, but once the queen found out, Antiope was charged to train her harder than any other Amazon. Diana surpassed every other Amazon with ease.
At the same time, Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), an American spy sent to help the British forces uncover the new Nazi weapon, crashed on the uncharted island and is rescued by Diana. While the Nazi army searches for him, they stumble upon the island and bring the war on to Themyscira shores. Not a good idea. After the Nazis were defeated, Steve, under the lasso of truth divulged he was on a mission to stop General Ludendorff (Danny Huston) and Dr. Poison (Elena Anaya) and the Nazi army from releasing their new weapon of mass destruction. The Amazons think Ares, the God of War, has influenced man to start the war. Defeat Ares, and the world will be at peace. Seems simple enough right?
Diana and Steve leave by boat and return to London. Naïve to the ways of the outside of her native homeland, Diana finds out that in Steve’s world, a woman is not taken seriously and often dismissed. While Steve and Diana try to warn his superiors of the new weapon, their warnings go unheard as a peace treaty is close to being signed to end the war. The only person who heeds their warning is Sir Patrick (David Thewils) who secretly joins in their concern at stopping the production of the weapon. Together, Steve, Diana with the help of Charile (Ewen Bremner), Sameer (Said Taghmaoui), and Chief (Eugene Brave Rock) set out on an unofficial mission to save the world full of break out battles, gunfire, explosions.
Wonder Woman is DC’s introduction to the iconic character in anticipation of the upcoming Justice League set to hit the screen this November. Her introduction and backstory is paramount to the JL and is fleshed out well. However, like so many DC movies, something is missing. Another positive, where The Man of Steel and more recently, Batman v Superman, were set against dark and dreary backdrops and almost the entire movie looks like it was shot either at dusk or in the dark, Wonder Woman was full of light, sandy beaches, beautiful castles and greenery.
Director Patty Jenkins best known for directing Monster and the television series Arrested Development, deserves major kudos for being the first female to direct a major female superhero! But all her direction in the world could not bring out in Gadot what is needed to play such an icon. Gadot played the awkward, naïve Diana well, but when she dawned the crimson red bustier, the eagle on her chest, the bracelets, the boomerang tiara and the lasso of truth, she failed miserably. Her action sequences did not look believable. Understandably, the type of action sequences required to pull off a believable fight/battle requires the use of CGI and green screen. However, it was over utilized. In every fight scene, Gadot was digitized or it was clear that her stunt double was in action.
There are points where it slows down. A. LOT! The action seemed to take forever to get going, but once it did, it was a disappointment. When Steve tried to explain how the outside world works to a naïve Diana over and over and over again, just seemed a bit much. If you have seen the animated version released in 2009, then you have seen the 2017 big screen version give or take a few scenes. Oh and for my Dragon Ball Z fans, the Kamehameha/ Spirt Bomb makes an appearance.