- 01 Jun 17
Directed by Patty Jenkins, Wonder Woman is a thrilling, witty and visually sumptuous celebration of truth and justice.
To say that the pressure was on Wonder Woman to deliver would be an understatement. The first major studio superhero movie with a female lead, director Patty Jenkins’ offering was never going to be judged merely on its own merits; instead, it will be used as a test case, to see if audiences will turn up to see women heroes in action.
They should. Because Wonder Woman is glorious.
Gal Gadot (pictured) brings humour and nuance to the character of Diana, a warrior raised by Amazons in a sumptuous, waterfall-filled feminist utopia. Naively idealistic, her view of mankind as being righteous and moral is shattered when she comes to the aid of Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), an American spy hoping to prevent a diabolical German commander (Danny Huston) from unleashing a devastating new chemical weapon upon the world.
The historical setting is tonally genius, as Diana spiritually comes of age witnessing the physical and psychic devastation of World War I; but her gender-blind view of strength and goodness also references the suffragette movement of the time. Further, the period aspect allows Jenkins to play with the Old Hollywood charm of her heroine. Diana, unlike modern male heroes, is witty but never ironic; and refreshingly untortured, essentially believing in those long-abandoned principles of truth and justice.
Allan Heinberg’s screenplay has lashings of comedy, caper and romance to it – but it’s Jenkins’ action sequences and female gaze that steal the show. Her Amazons fight with co-operative strength and balletic brawn, spinning and attacking with wondrous feminine force. Jenkins often captures her warrior princesses – diverse in age and ethnicity – in slow motion, her camera admiring and aweing but never objectifying.
With a wink and a nod, the usual male gaze is flipped, and Chris Pine is occasionally left topless and needing rescue.
But it’s a joke, rather than a dig – Wonder Woman is never cruel. And it is always decent. And who can deny that we need more of that kind of thing in the world right now?