Bearing the responsibility of being the first success of DC’s Extended Universe, has director Patty Jenkins finally turned the tide with Wonder Woman?
Only knowing of her Amazon tribe and secluded home island of Themyscira, Diana (Gal Gadot) is thrust into World War I after rescuing American spy Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), whose plane crashes off the coast of Themyscira.
Impressively cementing herself as Wonder Woman in just a few scenes, Gadot brings physicality and naivety to the role. An extremely likeable screen presence, her strength of character is unapologetically endearing. Continuing on from his tremendous work in last year’s Hell or High Water, Pine turns in another memorable performance. Contributing massively to the success of the film is the chemistry between Gadot and Pine. Their flourishing relationship offers humorous fish-out-of-water scenarios as Steve teaches Diana the ropes, there’s a genuine innocence to their conversations concerning intimacy which is incredibly charming. The engaging duo add an emotional weight to the film that’s alluded the DCEU so far, truly separating Wonder Woman from its predecessors.
A departure from Jenkins’ unflinching first feature Monster, however, similarly drawing a tremendous performance from her leading lady. Jenkins knows how to tell a story from a woman’s perspective, with each film opening with its lead actress’ narration. Impressively though, Diana and Steve are equals, both heroic in their own way and although the film has a scattering of playful jokes, there’s no urge to belittle the male gender in order to illustrate Diana’s capabilities.
Unfortunately, Wonder Woman does share flaws with its fellow DCEU films, with an extremely dull colour palette. Presuming the contrast between the vibrant island of Themyscira and the murky scenes of battle is intentional, Diana’s armour should offer a burst of colour, although thankfully, there’s a slight improvement from her dreary look in Batman v Superman. During the final act, the film dips into familiar territory with a barrage of CGI and repetitive fighting scenes. Thankfully this isn’t prolonged and does not sour the overall experience, which was one of the many issues with Man of Steel, BvS and Suicide Squad.
Not managing to shed all of the bad habits of previous DCEU films, Wonder Woman remains a triumph, a testament to its confident directing and committed performances.