Wonder Woman was a long time coming. A film featuring the character has been in the works in one way or another since 1996. Sandra Bullock, Joss Whedon and Angelina Jolie were all connected or considered for the project at one point or another. As it stands, director Patty Jenkins and lead Gal Gadot have delivered something the DC Extended Universe sorely needed: a splash of color and good movie.
Drenching a film largely set in World War I in color might seem disingenuous, but seeing the bright, vivid colors of Themyscira at the beginning of the film was something of a revelation. Even as the film goes from Themyscira to the Western Front, it retains the bright aesthetic as best it can. The set designers created a world that seems radically different from the first three films in the DC Extended Universe yet one could see the progression (or regression?) from Wonder Woman into the prior three films in the series.
The action choreography is fluid and well-staged here, a departure from the non-stop high-speed nature of many of its predecessors in the DCEU. The film’s action is kinetic, often switching perspectives. Even so, it nails the trick of doing that and preserving the flow of action. It doesn’t disorient the viewer.
After being the best part of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Gal Gadot has proven herself capable of leading a full feature here. She displays the right amount of conviction and naivete that the role requires, retaining her belief in humanity despite seeing its worst acts. Gadot once again has the magnetic screen presence she had in Dawn. She instantly takes over every scene she’s in, but also demonstrates the knowledge to cede the spotlight to the film’s memorable supporting cast.
Chris Pine leads the supporting cast in the role of Steve Trevor. He functions as Diana’s liaison to the outside world, explaining whatever Diana needs to understand. It is occasionally cringeworthy and bogs the film down in a little too much exposition, but Pine thrives in a supporting role. He and Gadot have great chemistry and he brings a sort of levity to the role that is uncommon so far in the DCEU. The other supporting characters, including the ad-hoc special ops crew, are similar, bringing a different, almost fun vibe to the picture.
The film is not perfect, though, and its biggest black spot is the final battle. Instead of the varied, interesting battle sequences seen earlier in the film, the audience is treated to yet another massive smackdown between two gods. It ends up being a disappointment and frankly, boring. But it’s only a blemish on yet another strong superhero film to hit theatres this summer.