Review by Michael Jacobson
Stars: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Connie Nielsen, Lucy Davis, Danny
Huston, Elena Anaya, David Thewlis
Director: Patty Jenkins
Audio: DTS HD 5.1
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.40:1
Studio: Warner Bros.
Features: See Review
Length: 141 Minutes
Release Date: September 19, 2017
“Be careful in the world of men, Diana. They do not deserve you. You have been my greatest love. Today, you are my greatest sorrow.”
I can remember being about 7 years old and seeing Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman for the first time. 40 years later and that massive crush has never gone away.
Not that I mean to demean the character of Wonder Woman in any way; I loved everything she stood for: grace, compassion, strength, and virtue. She was never a “female” hero to me, simply a hero. Sure, she was gorgeous, but come on…Bruce Wayne, Steve Rogers, Clark Kent and others weren’t exactly ugly, either.
Wonder Woman has always been an interesting cultural litmus test. To many, she’s a symbol of feminism and equality, but to others, those don’t even come into play. Of course she’s equal. She’s a superhero as beloved as any created in the DC universe. Her fellow heroes never looked at her as a woman, but an invaluable partner in fighting crime and injustice.
As such, some may see Wonder Woman as a movie we need “now more than ever”. Others, like me, simply see it as “it’s about time”. What took so long for this beloved character to have her own feature film?
Maybe it was a fear of a female hero anchoring a movie…if so, the fear was unfounded. This movie blew past $100 million at the box office easily, in a year where box office numbers are practically underwater. The fact that the movie was also directed by a woman (Patty Jenkins) should prove once and for all that good moviemaking transcends all.
It curiously revises the origin story a bit…when I first noticed Steve Trevor’s (Pine) plane crashing near Diana’s (Gadot) island, I said aloud, “That’s a gaffe…that’s a German World War I plane, not World War II.”
Turns out, the history of Diana and Steve has been sent back to WWI for this tale. Why? I really have no idea. Maybe it’s because the Nazis are overused as villains, although the Germans of this film are very Nazi-like, when in fact, these Germans didn’t even start the war. Maybe it was to focus more on Wonder Woman, the character, rather than America, which she fought for on the side of the Allied Powers. I can’t really explain…but if you were looking forward to Diana kicking some serious Nazi butt, you don’t quite get it here.
Diana is a princess among Amazons, brought to life by Zeus, in a hidden world where women train to fight Ares, the God of War, who is the son of Zeus who seeks to destroy Zeus’ greatest creation (mankind). But the unexpected arrival of Trevor and the Germans pursuing him brings the world and the war closer to home than they imagined.
Believing that Ares has corrupted the hearts of men, and believing only his death can release the spell of self-destruction humans are trapped in, Diana sets off with Steve to the war. But killing a god won’t be so easy…and will it even have the effect she hopes for?
This is definitely the best DC Comics movie to come about since the original Christopher Nolan Dark Knight trilogy. It’s not perfect…in fact, I’m personally hoping Zack Snyder will remove himself from these movies soon (he’s a producer here, with co-story credit…someone needs to tell him how many of his ideas suck). Still, with Patty Jenkins at the wheel, this movie is a delicious blend of character, story, and action, with better action sequences than either of the new Superman films.
And Gal Gadot…wow…what a find. In many ways, she’s a real-life superhero, having spent two years in the Israel Defense Forces, where she was a combat trainer, teaching soldiers how to battle terrorists…totally bad ass! Before then, she competed in the Miss Universe pageant as Miss Israel. Seriously, you can’t get closer to a real-life Wonder Woman than her.
Is she a great actress? The jury is still out on that for me, but I will say she injects Diana with all the beauty, grace, charm, virtue and power that you’d expect. I never doubted her as Wonder Woman, and I never actually believed another could live up to Lynda Carter’s legacy. Ms. Gadot does the legacy proud.
Wonder Woman is many things to many people, but an inspiration to all. I, for one, can’t wait to see her on the big screen again.
Simply spectacular…Warner’s high definition transfer looks absolutely stunning on my new TV. Colors are vibrant, and tones are used expressively here and there for maximum effect. Images are super crisp and clear, even in the fastest-paced action sequences. Highest marks.
This is one of the most theatrical sounding home experiences I can remember…the uncompressed audio is perfect, dynamic and STRONG throughout. The excellent score and dialogue are well balanced, but the overall mix is superb, bringing the action to vivid life from start to finish.
There are several featurettes on the production and the character, including a rather bizarre one where people recite poetry about wisdom, wonder, equality…odd. There is a funny blooper reel, 5 extended scenes, and a short “mission” of Etta Candy that takes place after the events of the film.
Wonder Woman took a long time to come to the big screen, but it was worth the wait. The right actress with the right director made sure that this film honors the incredible legacy of this superhero, while ensuring that legacy can move far into the future as well.