Wonder Woman is “fun, uplifting and visually stunning” [SPOILER-FREE REVIEW]
Before I start this review, it’s probably worthwhile establishing exactly where I stand on DC’s Cinematic Universe so far. Well, while I fully acknowledge their respective flaws, I’ve actually really enjoyed Man of Steel, Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad, albeit to vastly differing degrees. Quite whether that makes me a “blinkered DC fanboy lol” or not I’m not entirely sure, but yeah, that’s where I’m coming from. It’s also worth noting that I’ve never really been a huge Wonder Woman comic book fan – yeah, I’ve dabbled from time to time depending on the creative teams, but the character was never really one of my ‘staples’, y’know?
So with all that said, I’m thrilled to announce that not only is Wonder Woman easily the best of Warner Bros’ recent comic book offerings, it may very well be one of the best superhero movies of all time. Yeah, I said it.
Aside from the technical improvements on the likes of BVS or Suicide Squad – better pacing, stronger narrative, etc. – Wonder Woman also manages to strike the balance between lighthearted and serious that has frequently eluded the DC Cinematic Universe to this point. Never veering too far into one tone or another, the humour and the high-stakes moments compliment each other beautifully, giving us ample opportunity to sit back, smile and catch our breath between the intense, emotionally hefty storyline beats.
The visuals are stunning too, and while some of the action sequences do verge a little too heavily into video game cut-scene territory (a criticism that can be levied at almost every comic book movie so far, to be honest), there are some truly jaw-dropping moments of cinematography here. All of them come hand-in-hand with key moments of the story, so I’m not going to mention any of them by name for fear of diminishing the impact, but trust me – you’ll know ’em when you see ’em.
The one thing that perhaps surprised me most of all was the strength of Gal Gadot as a lead. Yes, she undoubtedly shone in Dawn of Justice, stealing practically every scene she was a part of, but I (perhaps unfairly) had my doubts about whether she could carry the heavy load of a solo movie. Oh how wrong I was. Whether it’s the wide-eyed innocence, the steadfast resolution or the effortless physicality, Gadot truly excels here, managing to fill the boots of the world’s most famous female superhero with style, and – hopefully – prompting a serious rethink on the part of her legion of critics and naysayers.
The supporting cast also perform their roles admirably, from lighter characters like Lucy Davis’s Etta Candy, Ewen Bremner’s Charlie and Said Taghmaoui’s Sameer, to more serious roles like Connie Neilsen’s Hippolyta and Chris Pine’s shockingly impressive turn as Steve Trevor. Everything is built up around Diana wonderfully to help showcase the different facets of her character, and while (stop me if you’ve heard his one) the villains are a little on the flimsy side, they also do a good job of giving her a legitimate threat to ‘find herself’ against.
Where I also think Wonder Woman is going to score a lot of extra points – points that have been sorely lacking in DC’s previous big screen releases – is in its authenticity to the source material, not necessarily in terms of the story but in the title character herself. While the likes of Batman, Superman and The Joker have seemed at times more like interpretations rather than recreations, Gadot’s Wonder Woman feels like she has been ripped directly from the pages of her comics, crackling with strength, virtue and unwavering optimism. And, while faithfulness to source material isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker for me personally, I get the feeling that this approach is definitely going to make a lot of long-time WW fans incredibly happy.
Fun, uplifting and visually stunning, Wonder Woman immediately and effortlessly cements its place at the very top of the comic book movie hierarchy. I honestly can’t recommend this movie highly enough.
The writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson-Adams (aka Ceej)
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Nice to see DC get a win for a change. Nice review.