Gal Gadot was one of the only real redeeming qualities of “Batman v. Superman,” so there was plenty of reason to be hopeful that “Wonder Woman” would be better than the previous shoddy films in the DC Extended Universe like “BvS” or “Suicide Squad” (I liked “Man of Steel” quite a bit, though).
DC movies definitely don’t try to take pages from Marvel’s films all that much, but “Wonder Woman” struck all the right chords and hit similar beats and notes in the same way “Captain America: The First Avenger” did, especially after Wonder Woman (Diana) leaves her home—where the Amazons live—the only place she’s ever been.
Diana crosses paths with Steve Trevor, a pilot who was a spy for British Intelligence. He crash landed on the Amazon’s secret island and helped the women fight off a German squad. He later convinces Diana to come with him as he delivers valuable intel he discovered as a spy: The Germans (Red Skull), with the help of a made scientist (Zola) are building a secret weapon (Tesseract) that will bring destruction upon their enemies.
For a short chunk of the movie, “Wonder Woman” takes one of those classic “Out of your time” turns as she begins to learn about society in the 1910s. After all, she’s a goddess from a secret island, and her sole mode of operations is as a warrior. So she goes through predictable, yet funny, transitional moments as she gets acquainted with normal human customs. She also learned how little the world thinks of women; the movie touched on this subject naturally and thankfully not politically.
But then she and Steve are cornered by these goons, and she uses her superpowers to beat them up. Unfortunately, the last remaining goon takes a pill and kills himself before they get any information out of him (he didn’t say “Hail Hydra” for some reason, though).
Soon after, Steve is before his superiors when they decide not to utilize his intel and instead push for a treaty. Diana begins to gain dimension and becomes the realest person in the movie here as she starts to question the status quo. Her questions about the General’s decision, like why he wouldn’t care about his men dying, seem trivial and naive in his eyes (and probably would be in our eyes, too), but Gadot delivers lines and emotions in a way that perfectly reframes the issue and turns the table around by making the General sound like the heartless and cruel one because he chooses not to act. Sometimes it takes a “naive” person who hasn’t been jaded by the current situation to bring a fresh perspective to those who go through the motions.
Steve and Diana later recruit a squad of assassins and brave fighters (Howling Commandos), and they take it upon themselves to lead their own insurrection to free a group of captives in a small town.
Wonder Woman finally unleashes in a well-shot action sequence. Normally I’m not a big fan of overusing slow motion, but it was appropriate here. She pulls off some cool tricks with her Lasso and starts flying around with super speed. Her fight had more tension because she had to protect herself more than most superheroes would.
After her victory, she and Steve share a moment that involves dancing and music. She and her team move on the next day, but it’s when she returns that turns into one of the movie’s absolutely key moments. The village gets bombed, and all those captives are killed, anyway. She comes upon the town covered in deadly gas, and she weeps for those innocent lives that were lost. The reason Wonder Woman is a better superhero than most is the simple fact that she’s a woman. She has the compassion most guys lack. Gadot shows how sorrowful a tragedy is when most would chalk it up to just part of the war.
With new motivation, Wonder Woman and Steve set out to finish the job, and she comes across a long-time nemesis of the Amazons, who is behind the cruelty of the war. They have an epic fight, Steve sacrifices his life by taking down a plane full of that deadly gas (just like Captain America did!), and Wonder Woman continues to live through the years until the present day, as we saw her in “BvS.”
“Wonder Woman” was a perfect origin story, the strongest DCEU movie and gives me a more hope for “Justice League.”
'WW’ has incredible spiritual messaging
I really don’t go looking for this in popcorn flicks like a typical superhero movie, but, “Wonder Woman” is the latest DCEU movie that covertly glossed over themes regarding religion in the real world.
In “Batman v. Superman,” Lex Luthor gives Superman the spiel about how gods can’t be all-good and all-powerful beings (a topic very much at the center of our real world’s debates on God). It’s because of this (terrible) logic that Luthor spins the viewpoint of Superman as someone who is a threat.
“Wonder Woman” now added to that running theme with a different side of the argument.
In the movie, we get a lot of backstory regarding the Amazons’ history, which included the beginning of time when gods like Zeus were in charge. Zeus created man, but Ares, the Greek God of War, sabotaged men in an effort to spite Zeus (that’s the short version).
Sound familiar? That follows the same pattern as God and Satan from the Bible.
Later in the movie, Wonder Woman is trying to convince man (Steve, played by Chris Pine) that Ares is behind the Great War that’s taking place in the movie. Why? Because she does not want to believe that man could be capable of such evil on his own without someone deceiving them. At one point, after Wonder Woman thinks she killed Ares (turned out it wasn’t the right guy), Steve poses the notion that maybe it’s just man’s own choice to bring such chaos and destruction upon itself.
Wonder Woman, of course, felt such sorrow, though it came across as naivety. But the sad thing? That’s probably how most people would be looked at in today’s society because we’ve become so numbed to violence and general evil.
In the final showdown with the real Ares, he throws the evil scientist doctor in front of her and pleads for Wonder Woman to see how hideous she is (both on the outside and inside). But Wonder Woman retorts that love can overlook that, something Ares does not have. Love is always the driving force behind the good people fighting evil.
Interesting themes for just another superhero movie, huh?