Wonder Woman

“It’s about what you believe. And I believe in love. Only love will truly save the world.”

I knew when the first female lead superhero movie with a solid crew and cast hit theaters that audiences would finally celebrate with boffo box office. Wonder Woman, DC Comics/Warner Brothers’ fourth film in the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) film series) has filled the financial coffers while satisfying audiences with a great plot, characters and wonderful elements.

Directed by Patty Jenkins (Monster), Gal Gadot (Fast Five, Criminal, Keeping Up With the Joneses) headlines as Diana Prince in Wonder Woman after initially appearing in the second DCEU film, the 2016 Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Lilly Aspel and Emily Carey portray Diana at younger ages.

This great origin story is mainly set in 1918 during World War I as the story takes hold on the hidden Amazon island of Themyscira. Diana displays this society’s warrior ways and yields unique weapons like the Lasso of Hestia that compels people to tell the truth as well as a shield, uniquely indestructible armor on her forearms, mid-section and leg calves and a special sword.

Robin Wright (House of Cards, The Princess Bride) and Connie Nielsen (Gladiator) endlessly impress with their physical abilities as key Amazonians General Antiope and Queen Hippolyta respectively.

These warriors provide key guidance for Diana as the story presents the supernatural elements mainly from in Greek mythology (Mount Olympus, Zeus, Ares, etc.). The horseback riding, fighting, archery and sword play from these two actresses and several others constantly amaze with realism and impressively fluid motions.

Chris Pine (Star Trek) also stars as U.S. pilot/espionage expert Steve Trevor who literally crashes into the story and encounters Diana and the Amazons. This brave, resourceful soldier seeks to get key information back to the Supreme War Council.

The nefarious duo that sources this information gets Diana’s interest as her new mission brings her into Steve’s world. This duo is German General Erich Ludendorff and his colleague Isabel Maru, a.k.a. Dr. Poison, played by Danny Huston (X-Men Origins: Wolverine) and Elena Anaya (Van Helsing) respectively.

The great chemistry between the Gadot and Pine propels the story as the character cast naturally expands in London with Sir Patrick Morgan, well played by David Thewlis, who balances the realism with theatrical drama well.

Diana adds much-needed support to Steve’s field team including Secretary Etta Candy, spy Sameer, marksman Charlie and smuggler Chief Napi, a Blackfoot Native American.

As Etta, Lucy Davis adds some comic relief and punctuates the culture clashes Diana encounters.

Saïd Taghmaoui’s role as French Moroccan Sameer gets to use a disguise, but mainly provides key strategy and perspective.

Ewen Bremner portrays the Scottish war veteran Charlie’s struggles well while Eugene Brave Rock has the quiet strength and resourcefulness required for the role of Chief Napi.

Audiences see the direct challenges from the war front along with the inner workings of German High Command for a comprehensive view of the challenges facing this team.

The war refugee sequences are particularly effective in solidifying Diana’s already strong sense of justice and goodness. Civilian and innocent bystander characters who witness Diana’s abilities quickly view her as a savior similar to Superman’s heroic status in the second DCEU film, Man of Steel.

Audiences find how people were affected by the greed, power, lust and pure evil (e.g. chemical weapons) from key figures in WWI as Diana dispenses justice in several great action sequences, which also incorporate key slow motion effects where the figures still move fluidly and realistically.

Filmmakers also honor fallen characters especially at the ending sequence in Trafalgar Square (Westminster – central London).

Allan Heinberg produced the screenplay from a story he wrote with Jason Fuchs and Zack Snyder who recently had to bow out of final stages of directing duties on the next DCEU film Justice League coming this November due to a family tragedy (Joss Whedon replaced him and plans to make a Batgirl film with WB).

Rupert Gregson-Williams’s musical score enhances the film and repeats the familiar, guitar lead theme music (first heard in the Batman v Superman film) while Australian musician Sia contributes the powerful “To Be Human” anthem heard during the ending credits.

Comparable to the Captain America film series in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), Wonder Woman satisfies audiences with action, nostalgia and genuine heart. Highly recommended (***1/2 out of four stars) and rated PG-13 for sequences of violence and action, and some suggestive content.

No extra bonus scenes after/during the ending credits, but look for an upcoming Wonder Woman sequel in the future likely involving successful DC Comics writer/producer Geoff Johns and other filmmakers.

Copyright © Michael Siebenaler

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