Directed by: Patty Jenkins | 133 minutes | action, adventure, fantasy, science fiction, war | Actors: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Connie Nielsen, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, Said Taghmaoui, Ewen Bremner, Eugene Brave Rock, Lucy Davis, Elena Anaya, Lilly Aspell, Lisa Loven Kongsli, Ann Wolfe, Ann Ogbomo, Emily Carey, James Cosmo
The release of “Wonder Woman” certainly raises some questions. Why is there only now a film about the Amazon princess? When looking objectively at the popularity of superheroes, it can be concluded that Wonder Woman is the third most popular in the entire club. Superman and Batman are of course on a lonely height, but the woman of miracles really completes that triumvirate of iconic superheroes. The second question. Why did it take fourteen years for director Patty Jenkins to make her next film? After giving Charlize Theron an Oscar with “Monster,” she almost completely disappeared from the scene. Jenkins strikes back, however, and comes up with arguably the most important superhero movie in ages.
After all, quite a bit depends on “Wonder Woman”. Female superheroes never got a really good portrayal in their own movie. “Catwoman” was a strange quasi-fetish film that had nothing to do with the comic book series, and “Elektra” was so boring and corny that most people even forgot the movie existed. Furthermore, the future of the DC Extended Universe (the great counterpart of the Marvel Cinematic Universe) rests on the shoulders of our heroine. After all, the previous films (with Superman and Batman as central figures) largely failed to give the audience a really good film. The big bright spot in the blockbuster “Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice ‘(2016), however, was, you guessed it, Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot).
The film turned out well on both fronts. Now that is not necessarily very difficult in both cases, but it is and remains a great relief. Wonder Woman is quite a charming movie with a very lovable cast. Especially Gal Gadot as the titular heroine and Chris Pine as Steve Trevor are the hard core of the film and are the best part of the entire production alongside Jenkins directing. The chemistry that Gadot and Pine showcase splashes off the screen and keeps the viewer focused, even when the movie might get a little too bland.
The plot is a nice setup to get the action moving, but it’s pretty standard for an original story. When World War I spy Steve Trevor lands on a mysterious island, the ancient inhabitants (the amazons) are drawn into a conflict with the Germans. The Princess Diana believes that this can only be the work of Ares, god of war and decides to end the world conflict by defeating Ares. It provides a good background for a large number of cute and, at times, socially critical character moments. When Diana and Steve arrive in London, Diana is amazed at how things are in “our” world. She finds the job of secretary strange (it is almost slavery after all) and she shatters the rule that women have nothing to decide in times of war. Jenkins portrays it all very naturally and nowhere does it feel preaching.
The shortcomings are not necessarily in the acting or direction, but more in the visual work and some story elements. Thus, the various bad guys are not worked out properly. Ares still works in a strange way, although it makes for the most absurd scenes in the film. The two others are less successful, however, and the actors are also a bit too much in their performance. Furthermore, as mentioned, the visual effects are not at all as it should be today and the action scenes rely far too much on slow motion. Finally, this film does that weird thing in which the Germans don’t really speak German but English with a thick German accent. The latter is still forgivable, because when Pine is forced to do it, it becomes a hilarious affair.
Ultimately, Patty Jenkins and Gal Gadot can give themselves a very well-deserved pat on the back. After a bunch of whistles in both the DC comics movie universe and the superhero genre in general, “Wonder Woman” races through it, making friends and foes hum that wildly cool music theme as they leave the movie theater.