75 years in the making. Setting box office records and records as a film directed by a female. Female empowerment. The DC Extended Universe. Lots riding on the film. All of these statements are true and have an affect on one’s perception of the film. But, lets just call it what it truly is..a fantastic superhero movie.
Director Patty Jenkins hits every technical and tonal mark pitch perfectly. Where the rest of the DCEU is shot in a muted color palette, director Jenkins lets the film showcase props, costumes, and set design. Jenkins really is on top of her game with shot selection and setups as well. Outside of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, this is the best directed film of the DCEU to date.
In order to make this better understood, lets take a look at the choice made regarding the Amazons of Themyscira and their fighting style. As one of the scenes unfolds, the Amazons defend a beach from a German invasion force of World War 1. Normally, the style of fighting would be a halting, aggressive style. But the Amazons are enlightened and they fight in a smooth, dance like pattern. It is poetry in motion, fluid and graceful. But there is power in those moves and so their fighting style is just darned impressive and who made the choice to show them like that? Director Patty Jenkins. Just outstanding.
The movie is, at its core, a fish out of water movie. As the time period is centered on World War 1, the world is starkly different to the all female Amazon world that Diana comes from. Women do not yet have a right to vote, and during an all male war council meeting she wanders in and listens, not knowing that women are not allowed. This and other similar situations lead to some of the best humor of the film.
Yes, this DCEU film is refreshingly funny and extremely witty. It allows itself to be funny during tense action sequences and during moments of drama. That confidence in the script and the acting is refreshing. The film knows its a comic book movie and never really takes itself to seriously. And the person who make these choices? Director Patty Jenkins.
Gal Gadot is pitch perfect as Diana, Princess of Themyscira, AKA Wonder Woman. She play the role with a wide eyed, morally assured manner. She believes in the choice for the good of humanity and her mind is not changed easily. Gadot is striking, but the film never shows her using her looks to get anywhere. A wise choice. And she can fight! Wowsers! The action choreography and scenes are impressive. And Gadot time and again shows a caring side to the character all while not undermining her ability to be a superhero.
Chris Pine is a delight as Wonder Woman’s love interest and guide to humanity, Steve Trevor. He is well worn, a soul who as seen it all, done it all. As a spy, he crash lands at Diana’s home, the beach fight ensues, and the Amazon’s question him using the golden lasso. His reaction to giving up much more information that he wants to do is priceless. He falls in love with Diana, as an equal, as a partner, and as a friend.
The movie is just an overall delight. The DCEU management team needs to make Wonder Woman the focus of anything going forward, including the Justice League movies. I don’t want to give away much more. Go see the film. It is worthy of your time and a bucket of popcorn.
So – 3.5 stars – A Hitting a Mark recommendation.