I’m not normally one for superhero films in all honesty, but this is a film where a warrior princess of Greek myth descent uses a golden lasso, a legendary sword and bulletproof bracelets to beat up evil men. Am I going to enjoy it…? Of course I bloody am!
Set in 1918, Wonder Woman sees Princess Diana (Gal Gadot) become the titular heroine after American pilot Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) washes ashore on her Mystery Island of Badass Amazon Warrior Women™ and takes her away from her home to fight in the on-going World War.
Wonder Woman quickly became my favourite superhero film I’ve seen, knocking Guardians of the Galaxy Vol II off of its pedestal almost as quickly as it got there. But it has to be said they’re very different films – there’s no upbeat soundtrack or heavy comedy in Wonder Woman. Massive amounts of comedy aren’t really needed when you’re too busy watching Wonder Woman effortlessly lasso a man and kick him in the head and loving every second of it.
The film is book-ended by a couple of shoehorned mentions of Batman which don’t feel necessary in the slightest beyond setting the character up for future crossovers – It kind of feels like no superhero film can ever just exist by itself anymore, they all seem to rely on supporting each other to succeed, which is a trope that’s become tiring.
References aside, the film opens with some brilliant scenes on the Mystery Island of Badass Women, immediately grabbing interest with mentions of Greek mythology and some awesome fight scenes with the tribe of warrior women taking on invading soldiers on a beach and annihilating them in some of the most satisfying ways possible with a bow and arrow.
Later on, there is a fantastically creepy antagonist in the form of Doctor Poison (Elena Anaya), a sinister woman who experiments with lethal gas bombs and hides half of her disfigured face underneath a mask, phantom-of-the-opera-style. One could argue there’s a slightly bad message of Beauty = Good and Ugly = Bad here, but in all honesty I was having too much fun watching the film to give that more thought. I actually wanted to see more of Doctor Poison and was disappointed we didn’t get given more backstory or development of her character, and we don’t necessarily get a satisfactory resolution by the time the film is over. There’s more focus given to General Ludendorff (Danny Huston) who snorts Power-Up Gas that turns him into a bit of a Mini-Hulk who’s not really all that scary – I can’t help but feel he should have been the sidekick to Doctor Poison as opposed to the other way around.
Chris Pine plays the standard role of the stupidly-good-looking male lead, and does it well without ever really stepping on Wonder Woman’s toes. This film is about girl-power through and through and I love it because of that! Chris Pine doesn’t think Wonder Woman can single handedly take down an enemy stronghold? She eats enemy strongholds for breakfast, Chris, so pipe down!
Looking at the supporting characters, there’s both good and bad here. Lucy Davis plays a comic-relief sidekick to Chris Pine who does an excellent job of giving us brief breaks in the action, whereas Ewen Bremner plays a Scottish marksman who displays every Scottish stereotype possible, much to my Scottish boyfriend’s dismay! It’s frustrating that a film that does so much for ‘girl-power’ features so many stereotypes in another character.
Wonder Woman is popcorn-fun at its finest and is a breath of fresh air in the cookie-cutter superhero film universe, with an excellent score to accompany brilliantly choreographed fight scenes. It’s great to see a female superhero take the lead, and Gal Gadot does it without ever looking out of place. I can overlook a couple of awkward Batman references and some loose ends in the plot due to the fear Wonder Woman will reach through the screen and lasso me.
8.5/10 and my favourite superhero film to date!