It’s a thing of beauty to see DC Comics and Warner finally embrace what’s so awe-inspiring about their characters. I’ve been a very vocal critic about DC’s output of live action films, and “Wonder Woman” is thankfully a remarkable jumping point for the new direction of the cinematic universe for DC and Warner. Patty Jenkins’ film presents Wonder Woman at a turning point at the very end of her own movie and is one of the most socially relevant superhero films made in the last fifteen years. “Wonder Woman” arrives in an age where worldwide, efforts are being made by various political and corrupt powers to silence women. Out of the darkness comes Diana Prince, a woman who will not be silenced or put in to the background.
When she takes a group photo with an infantry on the battlefield she stands in center among the men draped in a jacket. And in a scene very reminiscent of “Gone with the Wind” and the groundbreaking depiction of Scarlet O’Hara, Steve interrupts a summit of world leaders and pleads for Diana to remain outside. Diana is incapable of functioning his plea for subservience and slides in to the room anyway, making her presence very much felt among the large group of men that are dumbfounded by her appearance. Diana never apologizes for making the face of the world minority seen and felt among a group of doddery old men. Where Captain America was a patriot forced to take a second look at America, Wonder Woman is the fraction of individuals’ content with sitting at the sidelines. When the war literally comes bleeding in to her island of Themyscira, Diana realizes she will have to go in to the world and stop the war, before the war comes intruding further in to her home land and destroys the sacred land of the Amazons.
Patty Jenkins’ adaptation is a remarkable action adventure packed with heart, action, and complex overtones about war, our roles in society, and how often it takes heart to inspire a movement against pure evil. Jenkins and co. evenly balance Diana’s back story with her quest to learn the identity of the God of War Ares who is planning something devious in the middle of World War I. The initially controversial choice of Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman is a godsend. Gadot is beautiful but she also manages to deliver presence, god like stature, and immense dimension as a female warrior trying to find her way in a world where women have yet to find their voice or make their marks. “Wonder Woman” excels at all corners delving in to the Amazonian world with absolutely compelling action and drama.
Best of all, it never loses its momentum once Diana reaches a world in the middle of a great war, and that’s because of Gadot, who injects so much complexity in to Diana. Diana is such an admirable heroine who is underestimated time and time again. As we follow her battles through World War I, we witness as she slowly realizes that her small goal to protect her own home land isn’t just consuming her own people. Meanwhile Chris Pine is subtly brilliant as Steve Trevor, Diana’s one link to the world of man who proves to be the exception to her belief that all men are vicious and violent. Steve isn’t just a friend or love interest. He also becomes everything that Diana needs from a mark of love, a symbol of hope, a first glance at true heroism and self sacrifice. There’s also the idea that there isn’t always a supernatural origin for why man is so destructive toward one another.
Across the board, Jenkins garners memorable turns from folks like Robin Wright, Connie Nielsen, David Thewlis and Lucy Davis respectively. “Wonder Woman” is just fantastic from top to bottom; it grasps everything that we love about the character. It’s an ode to her values, her principles, her inner battle with the idea of good and evil, and it’s a beautiful launch pad for a potential series for the Amazonian warrior. Patty Jenkins brings us in to a world I want to re-visit and allows us to root for a hero I most definitely want to see again.