Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Movie Review : Wonder Woman

Spoiler Alert!
Like always, I try not to give away the ending of the movie,
but you may not want to read my review until you have seen it.

Wonder Woman (2017) tells the origin story of Wonder Woman, AKA Diana (Gal Gadot), formed from clay by her Amazon mother and given supernatural powers by the Greek gods. She grows up on the island paradise of Themyscira, protected by a barrier which keeps the corruption of the world out. The Amazons still train for a war that may never come, and Diana begs her mother to be allowed to learn to fight as well. The Amazons soon discover that she has powers beyond any of them.

One day, Captain Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) crashlands his plane just off the island and Diana rescues him. He reveals that war is raging in the world outside, and Diana believes it is her destiny to find the god of war Ares and kill him, therefore ending all war. She leaves the island, taking the weapons given to the Amazons by the gods: a sword capable of killing Ares, a lasso which compels truth from anyone bound in it, and a pair of armbands which can repel bullets.

Captain Trevor agrees to take Diana into the war zone, first having travelled to London to deliver a notebook which contains formulas for a deadly gas that the Germans have been developing. Diana's naivety is on show as she angrily tries to convince the British high command to end the war immediately. Failing at this, she renews her mission to go to the front, find Ares and kill him. Captain Trevor, wishing to go to Germany to stop the gas from being released, recruits a small band of misfits to accompany them.

I don't normally like superhero movies, but I enjoyed this one very much. Seeing strong women fighting and winning against men is such a rare thing in movies that it was very exciting to watch. Diana is portrayed as a complex character -- strong and angry, yet also naive and gentle. Her efforts to stop war with love and compassion are portrayed in a way that is heroic, not cheesy. It was refreshingly different from so many other movies where the aim is to fight out the war until the 'good guys' win. I found that I liked her superhero outfit much more than I thought I would: it was less stereotypical and more reminiscent of Ancient Greek battle gear. Chris Pine as Captain Trevor provides some nice man-candy to look at, and it was interesting that the gender roles weren't simplistically reversed. His character was more than just a one-dimensional love interest and was more balanced -- he followed Diana and helped her, but also performed his own heroic deeds.

The minor characters were all quirky, and funny and tragic by turns. Captain Trevor's secretary Etta Candy is a larger-bodied woman with a sarcastic wit. The three companions who accompany the pair into the war zone are Charlie, a fighter who can no longer shoot straight due to alcoholism and PTSD, Chief, a Native American who fled from persecution in his native land, and Sameer, a failed actor turned conman. I found all of their stories interesting and compelling.

The villains were more one-dimensional, but I guess that's to be expected from a superhero movie. General Ludendorff was a power-hungry megalomaniac, looking to gain approval from his superiors by using the gas created by Dr. Isabel Maru (also known as "Doctor Poison"), a mysterious and obsessive figure whose face is partially obscured by a mask. I found Dr. Maru an intriguing figure and wished I could have found out more about her.

The main action is set against the backdrop of World War I, and the movie is not afraid to show the tragedies and struggles of war. This helped to accentuate Diana's feelings of anguish and desire to help humankind. The scenes set in the French village of Veld, with elderly people dancing and Charlie playing the piano, were very poignant. While some reviewers complained that there was not enough action in the movie, I found it pleasing that there were slower parts which enabled me to appreciate other aspects, like the relationships between the characters and the pathos of war. And this list of things that happened in just one kindergarten after the children had watched the movie brought tears to my eyes.

Overall, I would definitely recommend Wonder Woman as a refreshingly different take on the superhero genre. Much more importantly though, the movie provides a strong, compassionate and likeable female role model for children to look up to.

Would I watch it again? YES!!!


  1. On the strength of your review, I decided to go see it tomorrow! It'll be my first superhero movie (I usually don't like them, and I've managed to avoid this whole trend so far) <3 I can't wait to watch a movie with an actual plot and character development for the first time in ages, heh.