By Shazwan Zulkiffli
After Batman Vs Superman, I have to admit, I was a bit nervous going into this movie. I mean, the Justice League trailer looks as messy as BvS and it definitely didn’t impress me one bit (except maybe the unexpected badassery of Aquaman). However, a small part of me figured that DC would not go Groundhog Day after the disaster that they’ve have to endure through the last two DCEU releases, and they would finally have to bring out their big guns to blast through the layers of criticism and meme-able hate that they’ve been getting all these years.
That little part of me was right. Wonder Woman surprised not just me, but most DC fans as well and gave a friendly punch to the arm to Marvel fans. The cats at Warner Bros appointed Patty Jenkins, who directed the critically acclaimed 2003 Charlize Theron vehicle Monster, to take the responsibility to deliver Diana Prince’s introduction story to the world. Despite Monster being Jenkins’ only blockbuster, Warner Bros believed enough put their big bucks onto her vision and frankly, it was risk well taken.
In the film, Diana leaves her magical Narnia-like homeland Themyscira to do (what else?) save the world. DC introduces her ‘kampung’ beautifully like no other – pristine water, white beach and a small army of independent women who may do more for feminism than the whole of Twitter combined. Props should be given to the director Patty Jenkins and her DoP for the establishing shots that, to be very honest, were better than any Marvel or DC movie to date, especially of Themyscira. London was also depicted very well – the then-industrial-themed home for men who thought they knew what’s best for the rest of the world.
Gal Gadot carries the film on her back with an excellent coming-of-age performance that reminded me of the first commercially-successful non-Batman superhero movie, which was Spider-Man. The way Gadot portrays her innocence underpinned by her throbbing curiosity is certainly powerful, and it would be naive for me to say that children will not be inspired by her acts of courage as Wonder Woman. For her first feature film, Gal Gadot threw in an Academy Award winning performance, or at least that’s what I want to believe.
However, there were obvious flaws in the form of horrendous character developments in the movie, especially among Diana’s crew of diverse misfits. Chris Pine’s Steve Trevor character was average, but the rest were a little below par. The characters of Sameer and Chief felt like they were strategically cast just to add a poster effect for diversity – like an insincere effort from Warner Bros to satisfy the Woke. Nevertheless, the placement is not all bad, but it could just have been better in a lot of ways.
DC stepped up their game with Wonder Woman and a couple of mistakes should be overlooked due to the overall quality of the film. Wonder Woman is a majestic effort in keeping the DCEU on the right track and puts immense pressure on Marvel to step up. The movie is a solid 7.5 for me – a beacon of hope for DC fans, and a worthy step above for Diana Prince.