Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Movie Review: Wonder Woman

76 years in the making. The first female-led, female directed comic book superheroine film. The most iconic superheroine in comic book history. The 4th instalment in the DC extended universe films that set to challenge the widely known Marvel cinematic universe films. It's about Diana's origin story, Princess of Themyscira, daughter of Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons, the golden child of an all-female paradise island protected by the Olympian Greek God Zeus from the outside world. The story remains faithful to her comics origins (mixture of elements from Golden and Silver Age, The New 52) and establishes Wonder Woman as an inspiring, engaging character to women (and men) all around the world.

The film starts by showing her growing up on the island of Themyscira, trained to be a warrior until an American pilot Steve Trevor crashes there. His revelation that World War I is happening subsequently forces Diana to leave her home to help fight the cause. Although the Paradise Island scenes are beautiful to look at, the film only begins when Diana leaves with Steve to begin the adventure. Wonder Woman takes its time to focus on its characters and various themes about human nature and war. The film successfully captures the heart and soul of its titular character. She's funny, curious, compassionate, sexually aware, naive, kind, resilient, courageous...all wonderfully portrayed by Gal Gadot.

The film willing to take time to flesh out its protagonist. Traditionally, the character has been the symbol of female empowerment, inspired old generation of women to stand up for themselves, to learn to fight, be strong, firm, don't have to be scared and most importantly, not to demand for respect or equality, but to earn it, to show them (men) that they (women) deserve it. Diana is sincere and genuine about everything. She encourages peacefulness and esteem for human life. Someone who cannot sit back and do nothing, who wants to help others because she can. In a time when death, selfishness and hatred is a norm, watching her stand firm on her ideals and believing so earnestly in love is a profound experience. She carries the ideals of feminism, a woman who knows what she wants, stands for what she believes is right.

To those fans who have been waiting for this film their entire lives, who have yearned to see Wonder Woman on the big screen with big action moments, you can take a breath and relax. The film's action is engaging, especially the scene where Diana steps into no man's land in the battlefield is stunning to behold. Director Patty Jenkins wisely chooses to focus the key action scenes in slow motion, on Wonder Woman, with her signature theme song as she takes out the baddies, proved to be exhilarating and visceral than what is expected.

Other than that, it's also a Steve's movie, as much as it's a Diana's movie. Steve Trevor is not your typical male version of 'damsel in distress'. The film takes time to show how important he is to her, and she is to him. The world-weary Steve is a terrific contrast to the optimistic, naive Diana. The film shows how these two people are changing each other for the better. Her faith in the goodness of men is at times heartbreaking when she witnesses the horrors of the world for the first time (it is to say that we, unlike Diana, know how evil the world truly is) but it is also inspiring. How he guides her to remain that faith, what she chooses to believe carry a strong inspirational message for a comic book adaptation.

However, disappointingly, the film is weak on the villainy department, which is not supposed to be, considering that traditionally DC have more compelling villains than Marvel. None of the villains in the film have any proper development, or even lasting memorable impression on them. However, this is understandable considering the fact that the film puts more focus on the titular character, her origins and her supporting character. Wonder Woman is an action film, a romantic comedy, a coming-of-age story, a period piece and a war movie. It's a hopeful, inspiring story about humanity...Despite the darkness that lies deep within us, there's still something worth protecting for those who still believes the good within. It's hard not to feel wonderful. Wonder Woman is great. It's about time for her to shine.

Rating: 8.5/10