In the realm of superhero films, Marvel Universe is clearly the current market leader with the Avengers series going strong. The DC Universe made a feeble attempt towards introducing Justice League in its 2016 film “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” where Wonder Woman was introduced. And for the first time in the character’s history spanning over seven decades, this is her first full length feature film.
The film opens with an armored truck from Wayne Enterprises delivering a suitcase at the Louvre Museum where Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) works as a curator. The suitcase contains a picture from the First World War which prompts Diana to reminisce the past. The story then cuts to Themyscira, an island full of Amazon warrior women tasked with protecting the world against the machinations of Ares, the god of war. It is revealed that the Amazons fought on the side of Zeus in his effort to quell Ares, after which the islanders were given a god-killer, which we are led to believe is a sword.
Diana grows up on the island as the lone child who was told that she was fashioned from the soil of Themyscira by her mother, Queen Hippolyta. Diana soon grows up into a formidable warrior. Her call to adventure comes in the form of Captain Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) who crash lands near the beach. The Amazons learn about WWI from Trevor and Diana is convinced that it is the handiwork of Ares. She leaves with Trevor in a quest where she believes that she can kill Ares and end the war.
Filmed in Southern Italy, the island of Themyscira is beautiful and almost mythical in its representation. Also, the WWI backdrop in the preparation towards armistice is impressive. The war itself, however, missed the tension factor. Also, the film lacks wow-moments in action sequences which are far below the mark set by the recent Marvel films. Barring one almost predictable-twist in the plot, the story in rest of the movie was eminently guessable. The background score wasn’t impressive either.
Chris Pine and Gal Gadot display good on-screen chemistry. His attempts to get her to see his way of doing things to end the war and vice versa make an interesting watch. However, the film mostly belongs to Gadot, the former beauty queen and model from Isreal who looks and acts the part. Practically, Pine’s Steve Trevor is supporting character that along with his mates are able allies.
When there are so many superheroes around, comparisons are inevitable; say between Wonder Woman and Captain America. Both of them carry shields, both their origin films in the last decade have something to do with the world war and both characters take a morally upright worldview. Oh well, and how can one forget the fact that both of them wear the typical white-red-blue gear.
Other superhero clichés are also evident. Like how the characters wear glasses and are suddenly unrecognizable. Superman dons glasses to become Clark Kent the journalist and in this film, Diana dons the glasses to be able to blend into the crowd while walking with Trevor in London. Alas, the real word doesn’t work on such simplistic terms! For most part of the film, she is seen in her usual gear.
There has been quite a buzz on social media about Wonder Woman in a feminist sense. Per se, films are not about gender debates but appreciating the character for she stands for. Wonder woman is strong, beautiful, intelligent, morally upright, loves peace and believes in love. One would be a fool not to admire someone with those qualities, no matter how supernatural they seem. Even the innocence that she portrays is not naïveté but pure innocence. Gal Gadot, with a serene smile, is a perfect fit.
Gal Gadot also embodies her character for one special reason. After the production had ended, director Patty Jenkins wanted a few action scenes to be re-shot. By then, the 32-year old actress was five months pregnant and had to cover up the baby bump with a bright green cloth which was later edited out. Since Gadot is reportedly on a three-picture deal, we can look forward more of her in the next film.
Verdict: Wonder Woman breaks from the traditionally dark themes associated with DC films and thus, has a fresh feel. The action scenes could have been far more exciting; lost potential, if I may say so. But Gal Gadot’s endearing portrayal of the warrior princess makes it worth your time and money.
Rating 6/10: The first ever feature film on Wonder Woman!