“Well behaved women seldom make history.”- Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
Diana of Themyscira is not a well-behaved woman and that is one of the things I appreciate about her the most. In her very first solo outing, Wonder Woman proves that while a fierce warrior, she also has a compassionate heart and the ability to show tenderness towards those in need. She does what needs to be done and forges full steam ahead when others are hesitant. As if all that isn’t enough, Diana is also humble and gracious. What an influential character who we can all learn a little something from!
Wonder Woman is a true origin story and re-introduces the world to an iconic figure who has always had a fascinating backstory. We first meet Diana (Gal Gadot) as a child in her homeland of Themyscira, an island paradise where the fierce Amazonian women live. She is raised by her mother Queen Hyppolyta (Connie Nielsen) and trained to fight by her aunt Antiope (Robin Wright). As she grows up she has many questions about her people’s origin and longs for the day when she can enter into battle and fight courageously like her mother before her.
The training sequences are incredible from the very beginning and we’re quickly reminded that the Amazons were a force to be reckoned with for a reason. The island itself is breathtaking; full of color, beauty, and vibrancy. Much of the film looks like this actually and it’s a welcome break from the drab, colorless look of many other similar films.
Everything changes when U.S. Army Captain Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) crash lands onto the island seemingly out of nowhere. He tells the Amazons about the war and how important it is he return and this of course interests Diana. Against her mother’s wishes, she travels to London with Steve in hopes of going to the “war front” and stopping the war once and for all.
One of the most endearing qualities Diana has is her very positive outlook on the world. Since she has been very sheltered, she sees goodness in everyone. In her innocence, she believes that there is one individual responsible for the whole war. Her plan is to kill that one person, which will in turn rid the world of the evil. Admittedly, it is very naive thinking, but Diana does experience quite a bit of growth during the course of the film.
I was impressed by how well Wonder Woman examined the mystery of evil and the never-ending struggle between good people vs. bad people. Diana wasn’t simply fighting to save herself or the Amazons, she desired to protect all of humanity. Good triumphed in the end because of pure love; the love she had for her people, for Steve and for those affected by the violence.
Speaking of love, this film has a lot of heart. I was emotionally invested every step of the way because of the care taken to show Diana as a real person. She has these extraordinary talents and abilities, but still has feelings and inner conflicts. The same can be said for Steve, who becomes her partner in crime. There were several quiet moments between them where they could simply be themselves a part from the war and violence. It’s rare to see that much care taken to flesh out heroes and I commend director Patty Jenkins for crafting those moments.
I thought the handling of the antagonists was very interesting. Without giving any spoilers, for much of the film there are two villains: Dr. Poison (Elena Anaya) and German General Ludendorff (Danny Huston) who want to unleash a deadly gaseous attack to win the war. However, by the third act one of them is revealed as a red herring of sorts and a greater enemy is revealed. I was surprised by this, but not disappointed because allusions were made to this individual and his presence from the start of the film.
Greek mythology plays a large part in Wonder Woman since Diana herself was crafted of clay and brought to life by Zeus. I also observed some supernatural elements within the story, mostly when the “main” villain arrives. That made this film different than all of the others in the DCEU (as well as the MCU for that matter, with perhaps the exception of Doctor Strange).
Although there are many serious scenes, there are also lighthearted moments scattered throughout the film. Especially when it comes to Diana being a fish out of water and understanding so little about society and life away from her island. The supporting cast is delightful; Steve’s secretary Etta (Lucy Davis) provides a lot of humor, as do Charlie (Ewen Bremner), Sameer (Saïd Taghmaoui), and Chief (Eugene Brave Rock) who aid Diana and Steve in their mission to thwart Dr. Poison.
Wonder Woman is honestly a great effort. It has everything you want in a superhero film and then some. I find it very satisfying to see a character like Diana at the helm of a huge blockbuster and Gal Gadot absolutely shines in the role. As do all of the actors a part of the cast. I can only hope that we’ll see more strong women like WW in the future. It sure would be a welcome change of pace.
Wonder Woman is directed by Patty Jenkins, the script comes from Allan Heinberg and it stars: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Connie Nielsen, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, Saïd Taghmaoui, Ewen Bremner, Eugene Brave Rock, Lucy Davis, Elena Anaya, and Lisa Loven Kongsli. It is in theaters now- go see it! 🙂
Have you seen the movie yet? What did you think? Leave a comment below!