16-22 June 2017 #863

Wonder Woman

This is a film that is as good as action movies get, slightly long but worth your time
Sophia Pande

It took a long time for this version of DC Comics’ iconic Wonder Woman to get to the screen, but now that it has, it is a resounding, wonderfully warm hearted, sincere but not naïve, funny but not hammy, exciting, fast-paced origin story that balances really good story-telling, satisfying character development, and action sequences that are breath-takingly good, making you want to stop and rewind to see them again and again.

Directed by Patty Jenkins who made Monster (2003), a film that won CharlizeTheron an Oscar for Best Actress, Wonder Woman is proof that super-hero(ine) films can be helmed just as well by women, a fact that was seriously doubted by the male decision-makers that run Hollywood. Now, with the inarguable success of this fun, memorable film, one can but hope that more will follow, directed by women, and starring women. The reasoning is simple: if women go to films about men, and made by men, why wouldn’t men also go to films about women, and directed by them? Are we supposed to be void of even that little empathy? To get back to Wonder Woman though, all I can say is, the film is utterly elevated by the astonishing performance of Gal Gadot, who seems to have been born to play this beloved character. Gadot has, in the past, been very noticeable, mainly due to her incredible, feisty loveliness in some of the The Fast and the Furious films, and in her first turn as Wonder Woman in the execrable Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016); one of the only things good in that film was the appearance of Gadot as Diana Prince aka Wonder Woman.

We learn of how Wonder Woman came to be the defender of humankind in the first half of the film, which is also the most riveting. Wonder Woman, or Diana, Princess of the Amazons, lives on the island Themyscira, hidden from the world, placed there by Zeus to save us from the bellicose Ares, his evil son.

The Amazons are fierce warriors, but also filled with compassion, veiled from the world, but training faithfully for the day they are called upon. When Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) crashes near the island during World War I, Diana rescues him, and so begins her journey to enter the often-cruel world that we live in today.

Diana’s life on Themyscira is exceptionally well defined, populated by scenes of breathtaking beauty of the Amazons in combat training, and setting up Diana’s relationships with her mother, Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen), and her aunt General Antiope (Robin Wright) who teaches her to be the phenomenal, true-hearted warrior that she is. The rest of the film is great, but this introductory chapter is golden.

This is a film that is as good as action movies get, slightly long but worth your time. At the end of it, you, and everyone around you will be captivated by Gadot; she is a star that shines so bright, you can’t take your eyes off of her.


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