‘Wonder Woman’ Review: DC Delivers the Best Superhero Film Since ‘Civil War’

In our ‘Wonder Woman’ review we find out that DC has finally figured things out at least in this movie starring Gal Gadot…

By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer

Let’s be honest — DC has been struggling to put out much of anything that would be considered great much less good since launching their film universe with ‘Man of Steel’ in 2013.

It’s safe to say ‘Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice’ was an unmitigated disaster, especially when compared to the Marvel team-up film ‘Captain America: Civil War’ that came out just a few weeks later. Then came ‘Suicide Squad’, which was an ambitious project with a ton of hype behind it but the reviews were far less than kind.

Ahead of the release of ‘Justice League’ in November, DC and Warner Bros. decided to drop the solo ‘Wonder Woman’ movie starring Gal Gadot in an origin story about the character who first appeared in ‘Batman V. Superman’.

Now it’s safe to say that there were high expectations for ‘Wonder Woman’.

It’s the first female led superhero film coming from DC or Marvel and ‘Wonder Woman’ is a beloved character on par with Batman or Superman. To handle the project, DC handed over control to Patty Jenkins, an Oscar winning director who mostly dabbled in television since the release of her hit movie ‘Monster’ but it was a bold choice to think outside the box, especially amidst all the continued problems arising on other movies such as ‘The Flash’.

What resulted was not only the best DC/Warner Bros movie since the launch of the shared universe, but ‘Wonder Woman’ might just be the best superhero film of 2017 (still waiting on ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ and ‘Justice League’ to make that call official).

With that said, let’s jump into our review of ‘Wonder Woman’…

Plot

Diana is the daughter of Queen Hippolyta, who rules over the hidden island of Themyscira — the land of the Amazons that was tucked away after the great war between Gods when Zeus battled his son Ares for the soul of mankind. Diana desires to be a great warrior and the defender of her people, but her mother forbids her from learning how to fight.

Queen Hippolyta tells her daughter the story about the war between the Gods and how Zeus hid them away so they’d never have to engage in the petty fights of mankind while also leaving them a weapon powerful enough that could stop Ares if he ever returned. Despite her mother’s wishes, Diana continues to train under her aunt Antiope, the greatest Amazonian warrior of all time.

As she grows up learning to fight, Diana is still trying to reach her full potential when she spots something strange near the shore at her home. A plane has somehow made it into the air space surrounding Themyscira and she watches it crash land in the sea just outside the island. Diana rushes to save the pilot — a man named Steve Trevor — who explains to her about the war that’s raging right now and his mission to stop the German army from conquering the world.

Unfortunately, Steve’s war finds its way to the Amazonian beaches and after a bloody battle, Queen Hippolyta is ready to imprison him but Diana wants to return to the world of mankind because she believes his war marks the return of Ares.

Needless to say despite her mother’s pleas to stay out of this conflict, Diana can’t help but to follow Steve Trevor back to the other side of the world where she will join the war in an attempt to stop Ares from driving mankind into Armageddon.

Acting

Gal Gadot was already introduced as Wonder Woman in ‘Batman V. Superman’ so she had a little practice for the role before taking on this solo project, but it’s safe to say she really shines in this movie.

Gadot hits every emotional beat during this film from the naivety she shows when leaving her home for the strange new world that is Europe in the early 1900’s all the way to the rage she feels when watching man slaughter man during a senseless war. Gadot encapsulates everything that is great about this movie because she not only a strong, force of nature but she’s also a caring and sensitive soul.

In terms of casting, DC and Warner Bros. deserve a high-five for finding Gadot and placing her in the lead role as Wonder Woman.

Chris Pine does an admirable job as Steve Trevor while playing a little comic relief early and then taking up a more heroic role later in the film. He definitely plays second fiddle to Gadot, but that doesn’t mean he gets chewed up while she gets the chance to shine. Pine plays his part and does it very well throughout the film.

The rest of the cast of characters is also beautifully put together from Steve Trevor’s rag-tag band of soldiers that he employs to help him infiltrate the German army all the way to ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘Fargo’ star David Thewlis, Danny Huston and Elena Anaya, who all play crucial roles throughout the film.

While their appearances are a little shorter lived based on the origin story, Connie Nielson also delivers as Queen Hippolyta and there’s no film or TV show that’s not made better simply because Robin Wright makes an appearance no matter how big or small.

Directing and Writing

Judging by the end result of this film, Patty Jenkins was a home run choice to direct ‘Wonder Woman’ and here’s hoping she sticks around to take on another DC project in the future. Jenkins had never handled a big budget action movie previously, but she ended up delivering a non-stop thrill ride from start to finish with this film.

Allan Heinberg also deserves a lion’s share of the credit for delivering a picture perfect screenplay for ‘Wonder Woman’. The origin story was well told and didn’t slow down the movie as so many others have been guilty of doing in the past. Add to that, there was plenty of heart and a lot of well placed humor, which was a nice addition considering how down right depressing things got during ‘Man of Steel’ and ‘Batman V. Superman’.

What’s Wrong with the Movie?

Honestly there are no complaints with ‘Wonder Woman’ because the movie was just that good from start to finish. If there was one downside of this film it’s only the fact that the story takes place during World War I, which means there’s not much of a chance the sequel will suddenly reunite Diana Prince with her old friends who she first met after leaving her home. It’s impossible to predict if a more modern story involving ‘Wonder Woman’ will be as effective but here’s one thing for certain — I’ll be the first person in line at the theater to find out.

Final Verdict

DC and Warner Bros. have been taking it on the chin quite a bit over the past few years as they’ve managed to stumble and fall as nearly every turn while trying to play catchup to Marvel’s cinematic universe. Finally, ‘Wonder Woman’ delivered in a way that no one probably would have predicted when this film was first announced. From acting to directing to story, ‘Wonder Woman’ was everything you could hope for in a superhero movie and even managed to deliver a little bit more.

‘Wonder Woman’ gets five out of five on the Skolnick scale:

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