It’s almost a wonder that it’s a fun DC film

by Gazette Reporter
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FINALLY, at long last, the DC “Expanded Universe” gives us a superhero worth rooting for – a worthy response to the boys club dominating top billing in Marvel’s pen, and a breath of fresh air after all the other brooding, dreary offerings in DC’s canon.
Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman (Cert 12A, 141 mins) is a hero we’re happy to follow into battle: powerful without inhabiting Superman’s tiresome god-mode; deep enough to provoke genuine empathy without all the sulkiness of Ben Affleck’s Batman.
Wonder Woman is a wonderfully well-rounded character, kicking ass while maintaining an optimism that always has us cheering from her corner, eager for the next battle.
Unfortunately, Wonder Woman, realised by filmmaker Patty Jenkins (director of 2003’s award-winning Monster), isn’t quite a strong enough vehicle to carry its titular heroine, suffering from a bloated running time and some poor supporting characterisation.
There’s a huge amount of promise here, but despite its stellar central turn, Wonder Woman fails to bring the fight on all fronts.
The film’s laborious first act takes place entirely on the island paradise of Themiskira, where the Amazons – a race of warrior women created by the Gods of Olympus – live in peace.
Diana, princess of the Amazons, learns the way of the warrior from her aunt, General Antiope (Robin Wright), ever ready for the return of Ares, God of War.
When American spy Steve Trevor’s plane crash lands off the island’s coast, he is saved from drowning by Diana, setting off a chain of events that will find her leaving home to fight alongside a rag-tag group of mercenaries in the First World War.
It’s here that Wonder Woman really finds its feet. The second act plays out much like Marvel’s Captain America: The First Avenger, with its alternative history narrative of superheroes vs war-mongering Germans (the WWI setting is a nice change, leaving plenty of room of dynamic alternate history-building).
Wonder Women really evokes a space somewhere between the fish-out-of-water fantasy of Thor and the man-out-of-time adventure of Captain America.
The resultant humour in Wonder Woman is arguably better than both, and the star gets to deliver all the film’s best lines.
Chris Pine does a great job as the film’s love interest, again turning things on their head as the dude in distress, rather than the damsel.
In fact, it’s Pine that shows the most skin in Wonder Woman – which leads us to another of the film’s finer points.
The camera never sexually aestheticises Diana; it never ogles her or lingers in the places a jaded, more cynical moviegoer would expect it to.
This is a movie that needed to be made and we’re very fortunate that, given the state of DC’s cinematic output thus far, Wonder Woman is as good as it is.
However, following that wonderful middle act, Wonder Woman just isn’t good enough.
It drags on way too long, introduces characters that do little to further the plot or provide dramatic depth, and gets bogged down with an over-abundance of slow-motion – without which Wonder Woman’s run time would have been a lot more bearable (Zach Snyder’s stylistic legacy is very much felt here).
Regardless, Wonder Woman inspires hope for future DC instalments – for an inevitable sequel, in particular.
DC may be beginning to hit its stride and it’s Wonder Woman leading the pack, rather than the Man of Steel … an exciting prospect indeed!
Verdict: 6/10

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