Patty Jenkin’s Wonder Woman is exactly the movie you want it to be while also being more than you expected. The heroin’s first big screen adaptation does true justice to the character, doing what Batman Begins or Captain America: The First Avenger did for their heroes. With a terrific cast, some jaw-dropping action sequences and a lot of heart, Wonder Woman is the first bona fide hit for DC’s extended universe.
The film gives us the origins of Wonder Woman, beginning with her childhood in Themyscira (an ancient Greek island protected by Amazon warriors). The first twenty minutes or so spent on Themyscira are fascinating and director Patty Jenkins efficiently gives us Diana’s backstory, allowing us to understand her motivations throughout the film. Once American spy, Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), crash lands on the island followed by a legion of German sailors. Trevor discloses that World War I is currently raging outside their protected island and that it is “the war to end all wars.” Diana feels obligated to help, believing that Ares, the God of war, must be behind the conflict. She joins Trevor on an adventure through Europe, becoming the Wonder Woman we know and love in the process.
From the offset, this is a fantastic film. It is fun, action-packed, hopeful and gives us a ton of great characters. Gal Gadot simply IS Wonder Woman. She’s tough, charismatic, beautiful, and empathetic. Her chemistry with Chris Pine is truly one of the highlights of the film, providing much of the heart and comic relief throughout. The cast all around is terrific, with notable actors in nearly every role – Connie Nielsen, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, David Thewlis. Everyone here gives it their all and it pays off enormously.
Director Patty Jenkins is the perfect person to direct this film, with a real eye for both breathtaking action sequences and heartfelt moments. This is a great film from start to finish, even if the third act walks a fine line of almost going over-the-top. Unlike Guardians of the Galaxy 2, Wonder Woman gives us real characters and real stakes in the third act, knowing when to pull the cord before it becomes too much for the audience. If you haven’t seen this movie already, please do. I can’t wait to see what Jenkins & Co. have in store for us next time around.
Rating: PG-13 for sequences of violence and action, and some suggestive content
Runtime: 2 hours, 21 minutes