Review: Wonder Woman

I was cautiously optimistic going in to watch Wonder Woman. I had been burnt by DC films before and was expecting a passable film at best. Little did I know that this would be the best film experience I’ve had this year and that the film would blaze its way through my top ten list to become my favourite film of all time. It is funny, beautiful to look at, action packed and a bit of a tear-jerker towards the end.

This film is a reminder of what feminism is truly about: equality.

Wonder Woman is the story of Diana, Princess of Themyscira and how she came to be the hero seen in Batman vs Superman. The film starts on the Island of Themyscira, home of the Amazons, a tribe consisting entirely of women. The Amazons have abandoned man’s world and live an idyllic existence, maintaining their fighting skills in case they are ever called upon to fight for mankind once more. Diana, played by Gal Gadot in a revelatory performance, finds herself drawn into the chaos and turmoil of man’s world when Steve Trevor, an American spy played by the Chris Pine, crash-lands on her island and brings the war to her doorstep. The film thereafter follows Diana’s journey into becoming Wonder Woman and defending mankind by fighting in the trenches of World War One and helping to foil a plot to prevent an armistice and keep the war going.  

For many Wonder Woman is a feminist icon and this aspect of her character may be putting off some men who may otherwise have went to see the film. But this film is a reminder of what feminism is truly about – equality. Men and women are equals in this film and both are depicted as flawed but charismatic characters. Wonder Woman is strong and will jump into a fight but Steve Trevor is not depicted as a damsel-in-distress – he too can hold his own and they are depicted as a team. In this film women inspire men and likewise men inspire women – they inspire each other to be better people, to be understanding, compassionate and to fight for what they believe in.  Wonder Woman is portrayed as a well-rounded character with flaws and unbelievable strengths and it is so refreshing to see a female character as the lead of a superhero film. Previously, women have had side characters to admire, Black Widow and Gamora of the Marvel films come to mind, but with this film women get the icon that they deserve. But she is not just a hero for women, she is a hero for everyone because her ideals are ones that we should all admire.

The film’s cinematography is additionally stunning. Wide shots of Themyscira flood the screen in dazzling colour, something audiences have only experienced in sickening levels in Suicide Squad, with prior films appearing dark in tone and lighting. The score of the film is also great, with guitar chords kicking in to heighten the awesome fight scenes. However, the film is not just about fighting but about the relationship between Diana and Steve and their views on the war and we get to see the characters grow and learn from each other. Minor issues I have with the film include some poor lighting choices, as some scenes are too dark to see clearly though most are bright and glorious to behold, some poor CGI decisions, and the running time feels just a little overlong. Other than that it is a beautiful film with inspiring characters, a great message and a plot that actually makes sense – how strange for a DC film! With this addition, DC might just be getting back on track.