Viewer Alert

Is Wonder Woman Truly Wonderful?

Posted on Posted in Reviews, Viewer Alert - Film and TV Reviews

It’s a smash hit around the world, so here is our take on the amazing Wonder Woman film!

Cinemas around the world have been hit with the powerful force that is Netflix and its various competitors. Yet nothing drives audiences back to the cinemas faster than an explosive event movie. Wonder Woman happens to be one of these movies – a female driven superhero fan favourite, finally brought to life on the big screen. But is it as wonderful as everyone else seems to proclaim?

The short answer is yes: Gal Gadot is exceptional as the lead Amazon superhero, despite the chorus of voices before her casting that proclaimed her to be ‘too skinny’ and a ‘talentless hack.’ On the contrary, Gadot is a highly talented actor in the role, with her charisma – and chemistry with the loveable ‘sidekick’ of Chris Pine’s Steve Trevor – a showstopping highlight. Gadot’s ‘Diana Prince’ is Wonder Woman, in the same way that Christopher Reeves was Superman and Robert Downey Jr. is Iron Man, and it is impossible to think of anyone else who would fit the role better.

The film’s plot follows a clever blending of the Amazon mythos that Wonder Woman owes her heritage to. For those familiar with comic lore, the film references the creation of Diana from clay as a perfect child and given life by Zeus, for the Amazon women on their edonic island of Themiscyra exist without husbands or children, hiding away from the horrors of the wider world. In this way they are foresaking their design and purpose – for they were born to bring love to the world, a design twisted by the god Ares. For those unfamiliar with the comic history of the character, do not worry – the film runs at a quick pace and never bores the viewer with the background information.

Gal Gadot was born to play Wonder Woman

Into this island paradise enters Steve Trevor, his arrival familiarising the Amazon’s with the events of the War to End All Wars. Of course, Diana recognises in her purity that only Ares could be behind such events, and rushes into the wider world to find this god and put an end to the war. The events of the film then follow Wonder Woman and her new found friend/love interest as she goes to war.

The film is highly nuanced and this makes it highly engaging and skilfully made. It engages the viewer both emotionally and visually through the sheer spectacle of stunts and through powerful thematic moments. Diana’s pure innocence is both a source of comedy and a powerful driving strength for her character throughout the film. Diana laughs with delight when seeing babies and yet is a warrior at the same time – a true hero capable of both protecting and cherishing the young and innocent. The most powerful scene in the movie, a scene when Diana arrives at the war for the first time, truly shows these two sides of this hero: someone who will not stand by and do nothing when others admit defeat because they cannot save everyone.

Across the film, the theme develops about the idea of innocence v. free will. Is Ares truly controlling everyone and everything in the war? Or are people – are the German soldiers – fighting against the Allies because of their own free will? It is a deep and thought provoking idea, explored to its full potential through a variety of subtle and explicit moments. In some regards, some viewers may see the villains therefore as simple caricatures and stereotypes; some pre-Nazi German soldiers with their maniacal laughs, plucked straight out of a classic Bond film. Yet the villainy, comedic and ‘cartoony’ as it may be, serves to deepen the film’s central theme and challenge the hero – can she defeat true evil and save those who are innocent at the same time?

Wonder Woman beautifully translates the comic icon from page to screen

Ultimately, the reason you should watch Wonder Woman is threefold: 1) It is a spectacle to watch in the cinemas, 2) it is a film which stays true to the comic lore and 3)it is a film with deep and engaging messages. Ultimately, Gal Gadot shines as Wonder Woman, reminding the viewer what superhero movies are supposed to focus upon: love, hope and faith.

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