A Strong Figure
Tripwire’s editor-in-chief JOEL MEADOWS shines up his armour and polishes his shield and takes a look at Warner Bros. latest DC superhero movie, Wonder Woman directed by Patty Jenkins. Warning: a few minor spoilers here…
Director: Patty Jenkins
Stars: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Connie Nielsen, David Thewlis
It started with Man of Steel back in 2013 which split critics but made a decent amount of money at the box office. The second DC Warner Bros. movie intended to usher in the new DC cinematic universe Batman vs Superman Dawn of Justice made quite a lot of money at the box office but it was a total mess tonally. Suicide Squad, the third DC cinematic universe film, made a bucketload of cash but it was also uneven saddled with a fairly ropey script. People were beginning to see a pattern emerging here with two false starts from DC at the cinema, producing films which were just about serviceable but with more plot holes than you could drive a fleet of lorries through. So Warner Bros. and DC pinned their hopes on this film, a new version of Wonder Woman, introduced in Batman vs Superman. Gal Gadot is back as the eponymous superhero, an Amazon warrior raised on the island of Themyscira or Paradise Island by her mother Queen Hippolyta (Nielsen). Diana encounters her first man when pilot Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) crashes near the island and he draws her to the world of men to help him battle evil. Most of the film is a flashback set during the First World War rather than the more popular Second World War setting that most films plump for.
Having seen both of its progenitors, I can safely say that Wonder Woman is the first modern DC film that mostly manages to offer a lightness of tone and a sense of adventure that Batman vs Superman; Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad both lacked. Jenkins and co have taken a leaf out of Marvel’s book by shooting a film which doesn’t lurk in the shadows but embraces the sunlight, which is a refreshing change.
Gadot isn’t bad although Wonder Woman/ Diana Prince is a little bit of a flimsy character and so sometimes the limitations do prove to be too much for the script. The supporting cast like Pine and Ewen Bremner aren’t bad and the presence of Pine who plays American pilot and British spy Trevor lends it a little bit of an Indiana Jones feel, which is no bad thing. The villain, Greek god Ares, is a little bit two dimensional but pretty much every single superhero movie threat suffers from the same problems. The first two thirds of Wonder Woman are stronger than its last third but you are left with a smile on your face afterwards. I was hopoing it would be a little closer to Marvel’s Thor but Wonder Woman has always been a little bit more of a serious creation. Hopefully they will explore more of her godlike heritage in future installments.
The hope was that Wonder Woman would save DC’s big screen ambitions, setting out the stall for superhero films that an audience will connect with and will enjoy. Jenkins’ Wonder Woman, despite its flaws and a slightly clumsy ending, has managed to produce something which manages to distill the characteristics of DC’s Amazon Princess while offering an enjoyable two hours and 20 minutes. It could be just what DC and Warner Bros. need.
Wonder Woman is out in cinemas in the UK and US now.