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Wonder Woman movie review: Gal Gadot is the superhero we need but don’t deserve

Wonder Woman movie review: Gal Gadot shines in this blessed return of the DC-verse into our list of things good in this world. This is a welcome fit for the most popular female superhero of our times.

movie reviews Updated: Jun 02, 2017 10:46 IST
Soumya Srivastava
Soumya Srivastava
Hindustan Times
Wonder Woman,Wonder Woman review,Wonder Woman movie review
The cinematography on the film is stunning. This, however, is a poster for the film.

Wonder Woman
Patty Jenkins
Cast: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright
Rating: 4/5

What is it about DC? You place your faith in them every time and each time, the offering is more disappointing than before. Man of Steel turned out to be a Henry Cavill brood-fest followed by the uninspired attempt at pitting him against Ben Affleck in Batman v Superman. Their last outing, Suicide Squad was nothing any of us deserved. Except, the curse seems to have finally been lifted by the stunning and masterful retelling of the origin story of their biggest, most popular female superhero, Diana Prince/Wonder Woman.

Director Patty Jenkins, who many thought was a ‘gamble’ for the franchise, rises above and beyond the immense pressure piled on her. She delivers a film which proves that even in a genre as repetitive as this one, correct answers can still be found despite sticking to the formula, when you get each variable right.

A sweet little team. While they could have been used as just faces that stare in awe as Diana does her thing, these men had their own piece of work cut out for them.

Patty didn’t do it all by herself though. She had the support of Gal Gadot who was perhaps born to play the lasso-wielding Amazonian warrior, and a motivated story, something the franchise needed desperately:

Diana, ever since she was a little girl on the hidden island of Themiscyra, was told stories of their origin by her mother, the queen of the Amazons. Enchanted by how all these women were put on the planet to defeat the god of war, Ares, she too wanted a taste of glory for herself. She gets her opportunity when a British spy (Chris Pine), escaping German forces in the First World War, crashes on the island. He tells her of the ‘war to end all wars’ and she decides to go with him and rid the world of Ares once and for all (literally, she expects to fight a god).

She may have left the shores of her home to fight the big bad villain, but once there, she finds that there is no such thing. She grapples with the truth of modern war which kills innocents on all sides and the evil that rests within all human hearts.

The mirage breaks when she learns what war does to lives that get caught in between.

Diana holds a harsh reflection to the authorities that take lives from their cosy offices, calling it collateral damage, in the many instances where she gets furious at men for standing by and choosing to do nothing. This is where Gadot shines.

Pine’s Steve gives the perfect foil to Gadot’s Diana. He’s the Lois Lane to his Clark Kent. He gets saved by her several times but he also often drives the story forward and isn’t reduced to a mere love interest for our heroine or a plot device. However, the love interest part didn’t hurt. In fact, their chemistry was one of the brightest sparks of the film. Their attempts at trying to understand each other’s worlds gave the film its many moments of light-hearted chuckles and their romance brought a breezy freshness to the genre, a love story you genuinely want to ship. The last time I felt that in a superhero film? Eh...Pepper-Tony? No. Peter-Gwen? Neh. Thor-Jane? Don’t care. Clarke-Lois? Nope.

I would pay with a part of my soul to watch Robin Wright shoot some more arrows and jump some more shields in a full spin-off film of her own.

To address all you action junkies, the stunt choreography is one of the finest I’ve witnessed. Turns out, women fighting, cutting up bodies with swords, throwing lassos, hanging from cliffs and shooting arrows looks far more glorious than men.

The scene at the beach where the Amazons slash up some German soldiers gives an exciting opener to the 2.5 hours of slo-mo, extra glossy action that you’re in for. For instance, the scene where Diana takes charge at the battlefield and takes in all the fire from the enemies. A shot of her getting drowned in gun fire while the camera floats directly above her is perhaps imprinted on my mind for good.

A brilliantly directed sequence.

The film, however, is not without faults. The villains are still cringe-fully caricaturish, taking long pauses before saying evil things, wearing dramatic masks and even laughing to themselves to celebrate a successful coup.

“It is going to be .... (very stupid, villainy, long pause)... terrible.” And it was.

The climax is my biggest complaint with the film. Even with all the things she got right, Jenkins still gave in to the lure of the idea that bigger explosions make better endings. They do not. Batman v Superman should have been a lesson. No one gets off on explosions anymore and I’ll fight anyone who says ‘oh but it’s so awesome.’ Find other things for “awesome”. Spontaneous combustions on a large scale shouldn’t be on that list.

The CGI showdown aside, there was something more that the film got wrong towards the final moments. Diana joined the war to have a final showdown with Ares and defeat him but all this while, the humans and we knew that she is in for a great disappointment because, of course there will be no God of War fighting on Germany’s side. But to give a physical manifestation to what could have worked so well as an idea and brought more maturity to the story, takes away a lot from the film.

If you can forgive the ending, like I have (actually, I did take away a star for it) and love Diana for her inspiring character, the righteousness of her spirit and also the mad slo-mo action, this film will lasso you right in.

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First Published: Jun 02, 2017 10:39 IST