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Wonder Woman – Film in Review

article by Connor Behrens for ArtsEarth

Director Patty Jenkins’ latest film, “Wonder Woman, is a 2017 American superhero film based on the DC Comics character of the same name.

“Wonder Woman” tells the origin story of Diana (Gal Gadot), princess of the Amazons, taught to be an unbeatable soldier. Born and raised on a protected island utopia, Diana encounters an American pilot (Chris Pine) who explains that there’s a huge war that’s uncontrolled in the world of man. Persuaded that she can stop the danger, Diana departs the island for the first time. Battling together with mankind in a war to end all wars, Diana ultimately learns her full powers and real purpose.

The last three DCEU (DC Extended Universe) films have been hit or miss. “Man of Steel” got an average reaction, but both “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” and “Suicide Squad” proved to be wholly unsuccessful with most critics and some fans. The divisiveness momentarily ends with the first female-led superhero film of our current generation.

Yes, the fourth film in the DCEU is an overall triumph. Serious and realistic like many of the previous DC Comics films, “Wonder Woman” succeeds due to an added level of love and compassion that is owed to the concise and level-headed direction from Patty Jenkins.

The idea to set Diana’s first interaction with mankind during World War 1 is an interesting balance to her character’s ideals. Unlike some other superhero films that have approached the war concept (like “Captain America: The First Avenger), the decision to set the film in 1918 London during a war that many films don’t focus on helps separate the blockbuster from others.

The dark and grimy setting of war-stricken London is also a well-used and stark contrast to the beautiful paradise of Themyscaria that opens up the first half of the film. Vibrantly colored and awash with utopia themes, the island gives audiences a difference to the decadent and dingy war in the world of man.

But what carries the film is the exquisite Gal Gadot. Having excited audiences with her brief role in last year’s “Batman v Superman,” Gadot continues the role in her origin tale. Playing Diana as wide-eyed, naive and a fish out of water, it’s impossible not to fall in love with Gadot’s portrayal of the pop culture icon. Exuding strength and also empathy, her version of the character is wonderful (pun intended).

Props must also be given to co-star, Chris Pine. His character is what sets up the current leery state of mankind. The “Star Trek” actor also does a hilarious job at playing the straight man to Gadot’s funny man during comedic bits. The two just work exceedingly together and share a wonderful comradery.

But the film is not without its flaws. Some sections of the film lag and the bombastic third act is frankly out of place with other constrained action sequences prevalent on Themyscaria and within the trenches of war.

Overall, “Wonder Woman” is a rousing success and should provide to be popular with all genders and ages. And, Hollywood will surely be watching to see if female-led films are as profitable as male-dominated properties. Next up: Marvel’s “Captain Marvel.”

Rating: 8.5/10

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