The DC Extended Universe has had its struggles so far. I thought Man of Steel’s ending was too long. Batman v. Superman was just poor. Suicide Squad started well but turned horrible in the second half.
However, Wonder Woman just hit it out of the park.
Diana (Gal Gadot) was raised by the Amazons on Themyscira away from the world of mankind. When World War I spy Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) crashed his plane in the water off the coast of the island, Diana is able to save him. The German soldiers who shot him down, followed Trevor to the island and led to a battle with the Amazons.
Diana goes with Trevor back to London to find her destiny to kill the God of War Ares, and help stop World War I.
I really did not think the choice of Gal Gadot was a good choice for Wonder Woman. I had never seen Gadot give even a good performance. Sure, Wonder Woman was one of the few great parts of BvS, but that was the action scenes. Gadot had very few lines in BvS and it felt as if they might be hiding her acting skills. She was a model and many times a model could be style over substance. However, I was completely wrong about that. Gal Gadot does a tremendous job as Diana, and not only with the action scenes. She shows a range of emotion throughout the entire film and she does it admirably well. Her innocence at the beginning of the film is charming and played wonderfully by Gadot.
Patty Jenkins directed Wonder Woman and she brings some extremely wonderful scenes to the screen. Jenkins brought a brilliant perspective to the big screen film starring a lead female character in the super hero genre, and she really delivered.
I loved the story that the film told. Diana’s story arc started as a fish-out-of-water type film, was fresh, despite the fact that the film was similar to Captain America: First Avenger and Thor. The mythology behind the Amazons and Zeus and Ares was really intriguing, although there was a bit too much exposition about it. The part on Themyscira was over all very well done. Robin Wright shines in a limited amount of screen time as Antiope, the sister of Wonder Woman’s mother Hippolyta (Connie Nielson).
Honestly, there was a scene where Diana starts to walk across No Man’s Land, a trench warfare section of World War I, is one of the best scenes I have seen in any comic book movie up to this point. With the amazing soundtrack backing the action, this moment of the film was amazing. I found myself moved to tears and that was unexpected. It was a truly inspiring and heroic moment that brought chills and goose bumps.
I really enjoyed the relationship between Diana and Steve Trevor. The film spends a good deal of time building this relationship and that was very important for the ending that we get. Chris Pine plays off Gal Gadot beautifully, as he is both the co-lead and the comedic relief. Pine was very good with his timing. Gal Gadot is also very funny throughout the film and she delivers her lines with comedic timing. The humor, which I thought felt forced in the trailers, worked extremely well in the film. The film had moments of true fun, something sorely lacking in previous DCEU films.
Now, there are some problems with the movie. I do believe that they overused the slow motion aspect. Some of it was cool, but it was used in most of the battle scenes.
And the third act was considerably weaker than the rest of the film. Like the other DC movies (and most other comic book movies), the end fight was a big CGI fest that looked dark and was too video game-like. Admittedly it was not a terrible third act (like Suicide Squad), but it was nowhere near as strong as the battle on Themyscira or the overwhelmingly brilliance at No Man’s Land. And although the third act was not as strong, the end battle did not ruin the film, or even detract from the rest that much. I think that is because you have such a connection to Diana and you care about her and Trevor that you can forgive the issues.
The villains could have been stronger as well, which seems to be a regular issue with comic book movies. Dr. Poison (Elena Anaya) was not very compelling. Danny Huston was there to try and surprise you. None of the villains were developed very well. However, it was if this film took the strategy from the Marvel movies and focused heavily on the main character. That formula really does work.
Wonder Woman was a really wonderful movie that the DCEU desperately needed. Gal Gadot turned out to be a perfectly cast actor. Who knew? Gadot and Pine are great together. The scene at No Man’s Land is one of the best comic book movie scene ever. That is not just an exaggeration either.