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Wonder Woman: Flawed but triumphant

Gal Gadot stars as Daina Prince aka Wonder Woman in the female superhero film

After mankind inadvertently brings the Great War to the shores of Themyscira, Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) ventures to the front lines of WWI to save humanity from itself.

With Wonder Woman, Warner Bros and DC Comics simply could not afford to fail. After Man of Steel – a Superman story I thought worth exploring – Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad failed to capture a positive consensus, the Gal Gadot fronted pic needed to entice detractors of the burgeoning DC cinematic universe. And, for the most part, Wonder Woman succeeds in doing so.

Holistically Wonder Woman is more akin to the DC properties we see week-in-week-out on the small screen from The CW rather than its cinematic predecessors. It is built on heart, humour and spectacle much like The Flash, Arrow, Legends of Tomorrow and, most aptly, Supergirl. It is a more hopeful movie and one that feels cathartic rather than relentless. It’s naturally funny rather than laced with forced chemistry. Its humanity rather than super-humanity … and as a result, Diana appears as a more relatable hero than more recent entries into the superhero genre.

Wonder Woman’s two strongest facets are undoubtedly the central paring of Gal Gadot and Chris Pine, who plays American soldier Steve Trevor in the film. Pine brings his natural charisma and bubbly stuttering to the partnership but it is Gadot’s pure innocence and soothing nature that carries the film. The two bounce off each other extremely well, whilst tripping over some awkward ‘talks’ regarding gender politics that had everyone chuckling.

Patty Jenkins directs the film and, for the most part, does so with a steady hand. Some sequences are utterly breath taking and Jenkins knows how to film landscapes. However, this also feels like a film in which Jenkins is discovering big budget action for the first time. There is an over-reliance on slow motion and twirling that becomes laborious when employed in quick succession. Flaws like this are present in the film but Jenkins does a solid job with everything around these throwaway moments.

The film certainly gets stringer and stronger as it reaches its climax with the first third sometimes appearing overlong and brimming with exposition and storytelling. However, this constant enthusiastic film also brings along with it a smile with every passing minute. Because it is, at its core, about heart, humour and spectacle – all of which this film has in abundance.

Having said that, I cannot stress how important it is to keep expectations in check. This is a flawed film. For instance, you will find yourselves underwhelmed by the villains and by the pacing and maybe even by some of the supporting cast, but you will leave content rather than contempt.

Score: B+



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