Starring Israeli actress, Gal Gadot, "Wonder Woman" is arguably the best live-action film to date in the DC Extended Universe.
While it is a major step in the right direction for DC Comics, DC’s films are still not quite on the same level as what Marvel Comics has been doing with movies like "The Avengers" and "Iron Man."
Born an immortal demigoddess as the offspring of Zeus and Queen Hippolyta of the Amazon women, Diana Prince (Gadot) trains to become the greatest warrior her people have ever seen. When American pilot Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) crashes his plane and washes up on the shores of the magical island of Themyscira where the Amazon live, Diana saves him and takes him to her people. After telling the Amazon about the horrible ongoing World War I, Diana is then compelled to join Trevor in the real world to attempt to put a stop to all the fighting.
The Wonder Woman character has long been a top priority for DC and Warner Bros., but approving and producing any content for that matter has been deemed “tricky.” A live action superhero film featuring the character has been in development since 1996, with multiple scripts, director and actor changes over the years.
Finally, in 2015, Gadot won the bid to portray the character, and the studio made a deal with Patty Jenkins to be the first female director to helm a superhero movie with a female lead. "Wonder Woman" is meant to be a prequel and origin story to the first live-action, theatrical appearance of the character in 2016’s ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.’
If there’s a race between DC and Marvel for better quality superhero films, then Marvel is clearly winning. From “X-Men,” to “Iron Man," and movies such as "Guardians of the Galaxy” and “The Avengers,” Marvel has been very successful over the years. Christopher Nolan’s “Batman” series seems to be the leader of the DC bunch, but lately other films such as "Batman v. Superman" and "Suicide Squad" have received extreme criticism, for good reason, and in large part attributed to filmmaker Zack Snyder’s very specific dark style and tone.
With "Wonder Woman" having a fresh director, it appears as if DC seems to be taking the hint and stepping up their game. The film features solid performances from Gadot and Pine, along with thrilling action, many times shown in slow motion. The movie is far from perfect as the special effects and plot leave something to be desired. The effects and CGI look good in many parts, while other times appearing overdone and clearly computer-generated.
The plot provides a decent origin story, but like many of these Sci-fi fantasy tales, things tend to get a bit out of hand as the film progresses. And what would a superhero film be without an environmentally devastating battle between two quasi-gods that punch and throw each other around like rag dolls, smashing through buildings and crushing anything in their path?
As the first DC film to receive plenty of positive reviews from critics and a high Rotten Tomatoes score (94%), the studio must be doing something right. I still maintain that 2013’s "Man of Steel" from DC is also a solid film, but "Wonder Woman" definitely gives fans something to be excited about for the future of the DCEU. Let’s just hope "Justice League" and "Aquaman," which are the next two DC films to come out, continue the trend in the right direction.
3.5 out of 5 stars.
The movie is rated PG-13 for sequences of violence and action, and some suggestive content. Running time is 2 hours and 21 minutes. In addition to Gadot and Pine, the film also stars Connie Nielsen, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, and David Thewlis.