Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Wonder Woman (2017)

Fig 1 - Wonder Woman Poster
Directed by Patty Jenkins, Wonder Woman follows the story of Amazon princess Diana (Gal Gadot), who finds herself caught up in the First World War after pilot Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) crash-lands in the secluded bubble of her all-female kingdom. After a severe attack from a German naval unit, Diana learns from Trevor of the turmoil the world is facing outside of Themyscira (the island in question) and decides to leave in pursuit of what must be the cause of all this dismay - Ares, the god of war. Diana arrives in London heavily cloaked as to not cause a frenzy with her scant attire, yet still managing to attract the attention of lary on-lookers. While Diana is eager to end the war by "destroying Ares", Trevor insists they quickly return the stolen notebook of Dr. Maru, a German chemical weapons specialist, to his superiors. The notebook suggests the doctor is working on a deadly hydrogen-based gas that will thrust the efforts of the opposition forward if successful. Diana and Trevor then decide to bring together a group of specially-trained soldiers in order to track down Maru and stop the gas from reaching the front before it's too late...

Firstly, I would like to state the parts of the film that I did enjoy, since my expectations for Wonder Woman were somewhat thwarted by the moments that I did not. Of course, we all realise that this is just another stand-alone picture that only really exists to create hype for DC's Avengers equivalent - the Justice League. However, I think it's parallels with expectations of women in the past century elevate the story from realms of obscurity, which lends itself to a surprisingly upbeat tone for the usually grim atmosphere that plagues the DCEU. With this, I thought that Gal Gadot was perfectly cast in the titular role, playing Diana with a keen intelligence and sense of adventure, whilst also at times blinding herself with her own naivety. Though there are core themes of female empowerment, I never got the sense that this was the overarching agenda of the film, rather that we treat a female lead with the reverence they deserve as we would with Iron Man or Captain America. I found myself completely won over by the character during a moment in which Diana runs across no-mans-land with nothing but her shield and bracelets to defend against the onslaught of gunfire ahead. For all it's flaws, this moment alone gave me chills that no other DC film, with all their CG spectacle, has done before.

Fig 2 - Wonder Woman - Trevor and Diana 
Incidentally, I cannot shy away from the fact that the last twenty minutes of the film lost me as aggressively as the final act of 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016). To the endings of both I was left thinking the exact same thing - "what a crushing bombardment of CG plot-destruction that was". I suppose the ending was meant to be something of a twist, but nothing throughout the film remotely hinted towards whatever contradictory nonsense I witnessed. In addition, it's fantastical elements mixed with the heavy theme of wartime London and it's budget-baddies felt like incredibly well-trodden territory by none other than Doctor Who, a lingering thought that even the clearly hefty budget wasn't able to shake from my mind. Furthermore, a plethora of one-dimensional characters only exacerbated the narrative execution of what could have joined the ranks of mold-breakers like Logan (2017) and Deadpool (2016). However, I was ultimately left unsatisfied by the slog of it's pacing, which lead to inevitable battle scenes in which excessive cutting proved once again unwatchable.

Wonder Woman isn't a bad film, but it's not that wonderful either. What ended up being an ultimately forgettable watch does contain elements of the 'new age' of superhero films fans are crying out for, with particular emphasis on Gal Gadot's performance. Though the film doesn't take itself as seriously as it's predecessors, I struggled to keep up with the lackluster plot, which relies too heavily on genre conventions to captivate. Here's hoping Justic League doesn't make a blunder of the Wonder.


Fig. 1 Wonder Woman Poster (2017) From: Wonder Woman - Directed by: Patty Jenkins


Fig. 2 Wonder Woman Screenshot (2017) From: Wonder Woman - Directed by: Patty Jenkins


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