Story: Diana, princess of the Amazons, is raised on a sheltered island paradise and trained to be an unconquerable warrior. When an American pilot crashes on their shores and tells of a massive conflict raging in the outside world, Diana leaves her home, convinced she can stop the threat as she discovers her full powers as ‘Wonder Woman’.
Review: After decades of being lost in Hollywood developmental hell with a number of false starts and a host of A-list actresses slated to play the coveted role, this is the first bona fide, massive budget, female-led superhero movie to hit the big screen. By this definition itself, ‘Wonder Woman’ already had colossal expectations to meet, but with the added pressure of lifting the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) out of the murk of its dreary sub-par films, Gal Gadot had a lot of weight to carry on her shoulders. Fortunately, her first appearance in ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ was well received, especially as Diana Prince a.k.a. Wonder Woman managed to stand her ground alongside two comic book behemoths. She continues to ride the wave in her own solo film, adding some much-needed confidence to the DCEU but more importantly doing justice (pun obviously intended) to the iconic female superhero.
This is largely credited to director Patty Jenkins whose familiarity with constructing strong female characters, as seen in the Oscar-winning ‘Monster’, pays off here. Jenkins’ vision for this film is a blend of an uplifting and humorous outlook that has been sorely lacking in the DCEU till this point, infused with a strong sense of morale. Most importantly, it takes a distinctive stance on feminism – one that doesn’t resort to male bashing to get its point across, as highlighted in the relationship shared by Diana Prince and Steve Trevor, played by the charismatic Chris Pine. Diana is far from the damsel in distress in need of a knight in shining armour to rescue her, and Trevor is well aware of that. As a result, their connection is built out of mutual respect that plays very well on screen. Speaking of which, if there were any lingering questions about Gadot’s ability to embody the Amazon warrior princess, this film certainly erases them all beyond any shadow of a doubt. She is convincing as the naive yet steadfast fish-out-of-water, harking back to Christopher Reeve in the very first Superman film.
But, the movie is hardly perfect – there are flaws in pacing and unevenly written secondary characters that resort to some stereotyping. Weak and shallow villains – the plague of superhero films – also infect ‘Wonder Woman’, and become a particularly sore point in the third act. These issues tend to take you out of the film’s experience and while they don’t negate the positives listed so far, lessen its potential to reach new heights as a great comic book movie. That said – this is undoubtedly the strongest DCEU outing till now, one that will add a new world of (female) fans to the franchise, and for all the right reasons.