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Wonder Woman

After the critical failures BATMAN V SUPERMAN and SUICIDE SQUAD, the DC multiverse was desperate for a project that would help them garner the same type of respect and reverence that has been bestowed upon Marvel.

WONDER WOMAN: B+

Virtually every film in the Marvel cannon has been a smashing success with critics and audiences alike, and as a result, its popularity and profitability has been staggering. BATMAN V SUPERMAN and SUICIDE SQUAD were moderately successful at the box office, but neither found a way to elicit the same type of passion in its fan base as new modern staples such as IRON MAN, CAPTAIN AMERICA, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, and THE AVENGERS.

There are a number of reasons why WONDER WOMAN could have failed, and if it had, it would have been a crushing blow to the future of DC. Instead, Patty Jenkins’ film, starring the charming and fierce Gal Gadot, is exactly what the multiverse needed.

Regardless of your opinion of BATMAN V SUPERMAN, there was little room to argue that Ms. Gadot’s Wonder Woman was one of the few bright spots in an otherwise lackluster venture. Though her screen time was limited, she made the most of it, and was easily the most memorable character in a the largely forgettable production. Her appearance provided a great deal of hope and optimism, yet it remained to be seen how she would be able to carry an entire film and franchise.

WONDER WOMAN begins where SUPERMAN V BATMAN left off, with Diana (Gadot) going through a suitcase delivered by Bruce Wayne. Inside the case is a black-and-white photograph of her standing with a group of men during World War I. From here, we travel back in time to learn the origins of Wonder Woman. Raised on the beautiful island of Themyscira to learn the art of war, compassion, and strength, her land is filled with fierce women warriors. They believe that it is their job to be on guard for when Aries, the god of war, was to return to earth to destroy them. Diana grows up knowing she is special, but fails to truly grasp what she may become. While her mother (Connie Nielsen) does not want her to learn the art of combat, she is trained by General Antiope (Robin Wright) who cultivates the girl into one of the land’s most formidable warriors.

Gal Gadot’s portrayal of Wonder Woman proves that superheroes aren’t based on gender, but rather, their ability to appeal and inspire audiences.

One day, as Diana is contemplating her future, an airplane pierces the sky and plunges into the ocean. She dives into the water, and saves the pilot of craft, Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) from certain death. Shortly after bringing him to the shore, a group of German warships pierce the invisible shield that hid Themyscira from the world. The inhabitants of the island charge down to the beach, eager to dissuade the men from coming any further. A battle ensues, and while the women emerge victorious, they suffer a great deal of casualties.

After hearing of the horrors of World War I, Diana decides that Aries is behind the savage carnage. Though she has never ventured beyond the confines of her homeland, she cannot sit back idly while millions die. She leaves with Steve and heads to the English home front in order to bring down deadly chemist Dr. Isabel Maru (Elena Anaya) and ultimately the evil god of war.

WONDER WOMAN is naïve yet cunning, likable yet fierce. She isn’t a walking cliché, nor is she a simplified sex-object that is more style than substance.

WONDER WOMAN is a success on every level. The humor that exists in virtually every Marvel movie has been relatively vacant in the first three installments of the DC multiverse, but this latest chapter has a number of laugh out loud moments. These quips are natural and hilarious, which were a welcomed diversion from DC’s dreary beginnings. The story is concise, and the character development is right on point.

While there are number of moderate action sequences in the film, there are a few well-spaced, bombastic, large scale sequences that are dazzling. The special effects are superb, and there isn’t a moment where you doubt Gadot’s character. She is naïve yet cunning, likable yet fierce. She isn’t a walking cliché, nor is she a simplified sex-object that is more style than substance. That she is alluring to all of those around her isn’t the characteristic that defines her, and I think that this is the most admirable and encouraging factor in Jenkins film. Gadot’s portrayal of Wonder Woman proves that superheroes aren’t based on gender, but rather, their ability to appeal and inspire audiences. There is chemistry between Diana and Steve, but she doesn’t meekly rely on the actions of men to dictate the course of her life. In that same vein, I loved the fact that Jenkins allowed WONDER WOMAN to stand on her own. In the Marvel and DC multiverses, characters weave in and out of productions at an ever-escalating rate, yet with this film, Wonder Woman is the star of the show. Though we will see her working in collaboration with others in the future, most notably in JUSTICE LEAGUE which will be released this November, it was refreshing and empowering to see a hero emerge without being reliant on others to help her succeed.

WONDER WOMAN is a success on every level. The story is concise, and the character development is right on point. The special effects are superb, and there isn’t a moment where you doubt Gadot’s character.

Wonder Woman

RATED: PG-13

RUN TIME: 2h 21min

GENRE: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

STARRING: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Connie Nielsen,
Danny Huston, David Thewlis

DIRECTORs: Patty Jenkins

Writers: Allan Heinberg,
Zack Snyder, Jason Fuchs
Wonder Woman created by: 
William Moulton Marston

GRADE: B+

A special thanks goes to Regal Cinemas at Destiny USA for allowing me to attend this month’s film.

Brian Miller
Film Critic
Based out of Central New York, Brian Miller is a film critic who works in television, radio, and print. Providing passionate and energetic takes on every movie he sees, he looks for the best in a movie, not the worst.