By Phillip Guy Ellis
Star – Gal Gadot
Genre – Action > Comic Book
Run Time – 2 hr 21 minutes
Certificate – PG13
Country – U.S.A
Awards – 8 Wins & 13 Nominations
Amazon – £9.99 DVD – Blue Ray – £13.99
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You may have noticed that an increasing number of action movies have a lead female heroine, even Star Wars breaking the stereotypes with the emancipated feisty lead chick alongside young black leading male John Boyega. It looks like political correctness to move away from the square jawed white dude saving the world(s) but it’s really about selling the franchises to markets like South East Asia and the third world, especially young Chinese ones. With that in mind I’m surprised it has taken this long for the original female superhero to get the movie she deserves, the stunning Gal Gadot absolute fun in the lead here. Who knew Wonder Woman was an Israeli?
Female director Patty Jenkins of likewise feminist undertones movie Monster (2003) got the gig and a film she has been waiting to make for twenty years. Only 7% of the films in the IMDB database are made by women and she was determined to make sure feminism was part of her movie. It’s a common trait that the women who do make it to be big time directors tend to be of the feminist tilt and express that in their movies, in this film to, enjoyable and an uplifting effect of all sexes. The sort of Wonderbra effect, if you like.
The film set a few box office records and to date the highest-grossing live-action film directed by a woman, the highest-grossing superhero origin film worldwide, as well as the largest opening for a female-led comic book film. Its $100 m opening weekend gross beat the then highest opening female directed film Fifty Shades of Grey (2015) by Sam Taylor-Johnson. It’s the first comic book film to be made with a female-dominant superhero character since the miss-fire that was Elektra (2005).
For its risky budget of $150 million plus it did superb money with $821 million in the bank so far. It’s fair to say the Marvel Comic book films have been trouncing the DC Comic book movies or late, Wonder Woman the first since Batman Begins to get a 90% + Rating on Rotten Tomatoes. DC needed this film and the almost perfect Gal Gadot and feisty Patty Jenkins have delivered and plenty of young girls will be hoping for this DVD in their Christmas stockings.
There was some controversy when the United Nations decided Wonder Woman would make a great fun role model for young women and briefly they promoted her at the UN, which was quickly sussed as a cheap stunt as really it was about pushing the film. The UN is pretty hopeless at most things and this was one more thing on that long list. It’s better than booking the Spice Girls, at least.
Gal Gadot … Diana/Wonder Woman
Chris Pine … Steve Trevor
Connie Nielsen … Hippolyta
Robin Wright … Antiope
Danny Huston … Ludendorff
David Thewlis … Sir Patrick
Said Taghmaoui … Charlie Eugene Brave Rock … The Chief
Lucy Davis … Etta Elena Anaya … Dr. Maru
Lilly Aspell … Young Diana
Lisa Loven Kongsli … Menalippe Ann Wolfe … Artemis (as Ann J. Wolfe)
Ann Ogbomo … Philippus
We meet little and feisty Diana (Lilly Aspell), daughter of Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen). Diana was raised on the hidden Mediterranean island of Themyscira, home to the fearsome (and gorgeous) Amazonian warrior women (and no men) created by Zeus to protect mankind, and Diana desperate to be a warrior like her elders. Hippolyta brings her daughter up to speed about Amazonian history, including how Ares, Zeus’s son, became jealous of humanity inhibitions and planned and plotted its total destruction. The Queen tells her daughter, when the other gods tried vainly to stop him, Ares destroyed all but Zeus, who used the last gasp of his power to wound Ares and force his retreat, dying heroically in the process. Zeus left the Amazons the island and a weapon, the “Godkiller”, to prepare them for Ares’ return.
As time goes by the Queen relents and lets her sister be trained by supreme warrior Antiope (Robin Wright), in case he returns. It’s clear Diana is no ordinary girl. There hidden tranquil life changes when a World War one German bi-plane breaks into their realm, the now super athletic Diana rescuing the American pilot, Steve Trevor (Chris Pine). The island is soon invaded by Nazi’s from a pursuing German ship, the Amazons chicks killing the crew and the pilot interrogated. Apparently he is a British spy who has stolen a diary that could change the course of the war. The women have no real idea of the outside world and especially men. But the First World War is raging out there in the world of men, as the queen puts it, and Diana believes it to be the war with Ares she has been prepared for and leaves the island with the handsome pilot, plus those bling relics the Gods left behind to complete her sexy look, that of a sacred sword, a shield and a lasso of truth.
The plan is to sail to London (which they do, and rather quickly), hook up with the head of the War Office in Whitehall, Sir Patrick (David Thewliss), get up a disparate team of mercenaries, which they do, and head to the Belgium Front to end the war by killing an evil German, General Ludendorff (Danny Huston), which they probably will, who intends dastardly deeds, via Dr Poison (Elena Anaya).
I enjoyed this as a bloke and not as one-sided as I thought it was going to be. It’s still essentially a standard superhero movie for all its feminist intentions and you can’t help but be mesmerized by Gadot’s beauty – the ex-catwalk model making for a hot Amazonian chick in leather (and whip equipped). She is fabulous on screen though and makes the movie and a real star, not remotely macho but tough and determined enough on screen to convince. We are probably a long way off when female role models are not attractive and so objectified and perhaps one compromise too far for Hollywood.
It does start a little shaky as the CGI of the girls military training looks a bit amateur but once you get into the rhythm and texture of the ethereal nature of the Goddesses realm it settles down some. When Chris Pines blue eyes arrive it becomes more conventional comic book territory and a love story ensues to perhaps reassure us the beautiful woman actually likes guys. Being alone with tons of sexy Amazonian warriors all her life you never know. But she does stay in charge with her superpowers thereafter and so momentum kept. Setting the film in the early twentieth century at the time of the Suffragettes, but men still ruled, allows for plenty of gentle sexist gags and interplay between our hero and the boys. On the whole this would make for that great Birthday present for the kids and the girls will love it. Trust me, we long for the days when women can work the remote control, never mind saving the world from the Gods of the ancient worlds.
Imdb.com – 7.6/10.0 (335,345votes)
Rottentomatos.com – 92% critic’s approval
Metacritic.com – % critic’s approval
-Directors Vision: Diana in the real World- Patty Jenkins talks about the feminist influences in her life, and in the time of the movie of a very male orientated Britain.
Rating: 4/5BEST QUOTES