Wonder Woman is not only one of DC Comic’s main heroes, but one of the most famous superheroes of all time. However, until this year, no movies focusing on her have been in cinemas. The pressure was therefore on for her first movie to be the one that fans had been waiting for.
But that was far from the only form of pressure on the cast and crew of this film. DC Comics has not been having great success with their recent films. Both of their 2016 releases, “Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice” and “Suicide Squad,” were critically panned for their poor writing and pathetic attempts to catch DC’s movie universe up to Marvel’s by throwing as many characters into their movies as possible. Due to these problems, fans have been calling for DC to restart their movie universe, and many have questioned whether or not DC is currently capable of making a good movie. “Wonder Woman” was facing not only the pressure to be a good Wonder Woman movie, but to prove overall that DC’s movie universe is not doomed.
One of the best parts of the movie is the setting. As the character was created in 1941, Wonder Woman battled the Nazis in World War Two in her earliest stories. However, the movie is set during World War One. This inspired change helps gives the film a unique identity. Setting it during World War Two could have made it too similar to “Captain America: The First Avenger,” which was set during that war. By changing the timeline of Wonder Woman’s backstory, the film is able to tap into a rich setting that has gone unexplored in other superhero films and make itself more unique in the process.
Gal Gadot stars as Diana, the character who will become Wonder Woman in the future. The film focuses on her backstory as she leaves the hidden island that she grew up on and heads off to confront her destiny. The film does an altogether great job depicting Diana’s character arc and how she becomes a superhero. Gadot gives an excellent performance worthy of her iconic role.
The supporting cast also shine. Chris Pine perfectly mixes being charming and pessimistic to make his depiction of Steve Trevor highly engaging. While it would have been easy for Godot to end up totally overshadowing him, their chemistry instead keeps the audience interested in both Diana and Trevor throughout the film. Trevor’s friends, who are played by Saïd Taghmaoui, Ewen Bremner, and Eugene Brave Rock, also all have memorable moments. Finally, Lucy Davis is also entertaining in her few scenes as Etta Candy.
DC’s 2016 movies majorly failed in the villains department. Between underdeveloped characters like Cara Delevingne’s Enchantress and horrible miscastings like Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor, the antagonists in these movies left a lot to be desired. While they are still not perfect, the antagonists in “Wonder Woman” are a tremendous improvement. Wonder Woman is out to defeat Ares, the God of War, who she believes is living among mortals and causing the war. Several twists are thrown at the viewers involving his identity, motivations and relationship to Wonder Woman. While some viewers will see them all coming and others will be surprised by each one, all of the twists are well-done. The biggest problem with Ares is likely that the face that he used while disguised as a mortal is still used once he reveals himself since he would have looked more intimidating if his face were hidden by shadows once he dons his armor like it usually is in the comics. However, this nitpick does not negate the fact that he may be the best written main antagonist in DC’s movie universe thus far.
As Ares remains hidden for most of the film, the film’s other antagonists also get plenty of screentime. Surprisingly, real life German general and political figure Erich Ludendorff is used as the secondary antagonist of the film. While people will doubtlessly argue over whether or not he was worthy of being portrayed in such a totally evil way, Danny Huston still gives an entertaining performance as the character. His inclusion, however, is bound to cause history buffs to wonder how different Germany’s political history ends up being in the DC universe.
One of the best parts of the movie is Elena Anaya’s Dr. Poison. Her depiction in the film should be used as a guide to how to adapt minor villains into superhero movies. In the comics, Dr. Poison is a secondary villain who has not shown up in very many storylines. The movie changes her enough to fit her into the story that it is trying to tell, but it also makes references to and keeps some of her important traits from the comics. While she is not the main antagonist, Anaya’s performance makes Poison one of the most intriguing and memorable characters in the film.
The movie also boasts some great action sequences. All of the fight scenes are full of energy and are sure to pull audiences in. These well done scenes are elevated even more by the well-integrated musical score.
Overall, “Wonder Woman” not only gives the iconic character the movie that she has needed for many years, but also proves that DC can actually make a great movie.