Frances Winston gives Wonder Woman the ultimate accolade, a ‘must-see’ movie!
Directed by: Patty Jenkins – Starring: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, Connie Nielsen, Elena Anaya
To say many fans have been waiting a lifetime for this movie is an understatement. There have been calls for decades to bring the original symbol of girl power to the big screen, and finally the eponymous DC superhero gets a cinematic outing.
For many people the Lynda Carter incarnation in the 1970s is the ultimate symbol of female empowerment, but in Wonder Woman, Israeli actress, Gadot, takes on the role of the Amazonian superhero, and her casting had the approval of Carter herself.
I’m not going to lie, I am very much a huge Wonder Woman fan, and worried how this film would translate in the grand scheme of things. After all, every single attempt to make it in the past has failed miserably (and let us not forget the DREADFUL David E. Kelly small screen adaptation!) This sticks to a tried and tested superhero formula – a good old-fashioned origins story.
Resetting the action to World War I (as true fans know, Wonder Woman first arrived into the modern world during WWII in the comic books and small screen adaptation) we first meet our Diana, our heroine, as a child on the paradise island of Themyscira, which is inhabited by an entirely female community of Amazon warriors.
Many years later, their idyllic existence is shattered, when a spy, Steve Trevor (Pine), crash-lands a plane in their ocean, and inadvertently unleashes a German attack upon them.
Horrified to learn about the war in the outside world, Diana convinces Trevor to take her with him, as she believes she can end the conflict. However, she soon realises that she has a lot to learn about man, and life outside of her sheltered existence.
Unlike many superhero tales, Wonder Woman takes its time developing the characters, and Jenkins resists the urge to go straight into the action. We don’t actually see Wonder Woman in her iconic costume until well over an hour in. Gadot might not have huge range as an actress on the whole, but here she does doe-eyed wonderment brilliantly, and is almost childlike in her wonder (see what I did there) as she learns about the world. Her costume might be skimpy, but she always appears almost modest, and comes across as strong and feminine, rather than overtly sexy.
She is ably supported by Pine in what is almost a role-reversal from usual films. His character is the simpering ‘weaker sex’ here, and there is even a completely gratuitous ‘nude’ scene that I’m sure most of the audience won’t be complaining about. Meanwhile Danny Houston yet again plays the megalomaniac baddie (check out his CV – it’s pretty much his trademark at this stage!). He’s done this dozens of times before, so you know that you’re going to get a suitably creepy, if somewhat stereotypical, nemesis.
Obviously, Wonder Woman has a mega budget, so it looks incredibly slick, but it also doesn’t rely on making everything on screen big and shiny. Rather this trusts in the talents of the cast, their chemistry, and a (mainly) cracking script that is filled with drama, pathos, action and humour.
It is rare that a movie hyped to the extent that this was can live up to it, but Wonder Woman does. It is a total thrillfest that is well-structured and paced, and beautifully thought out. It might have taken them eons to figure out how to handle the character on this scale, but it was worth the wait. The ending really leaves you wanting more, and it is fantastic to see a kick-ass female helming a movie, rather than the usual tokenism women often endure on the big screen.
I rarely say that a movie is a must-see as I am conscious that there are different target audiences for everything, but this really is. Male or female, young or old, it is impossible not to get swept up in Wonder Woman.
In Cinemas June 2nd!