One of DC’s most iconic superhero finally gets her big screen début after 75 years. Here to rescue DC films from mediocrity (although I quite liked Man of Steel) Diana Prince and director Patty Jenkins have a lot of expectations on their shoulders. Can they rise to the challenge?
Raised amongst the Amazons on the island of Themyscira Diana (Gal Gadot) trains and fights whilst never leaving the island. When Captain Steve Tanner (Chris Pine) crashes onto the island Diana finds herself leaving the safety of her home for the horrors of the First World War.
Breathe a sigh of relief because the good news is that Wonder Woman first film is actually good! As one of the best things about Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice Wonder Woman now gets a solo film that does her justice. Early scenes show Diana being trained by the Amazon’s on their island, a bright and peaceful paradise which nicely contrasts with the cold and less colourful scenes off island. We also gets to see a glorious sight of Amazon’s vs soldiers which is cool and its great to see actresses like Robin Wright and Connie Neilson kicking ass. As we follow Diana to London and beyond the film turns into part origin story/part fish out of water/part coming of age for Diana as she navigates the world of men. The setting feels fresh and for an origin story it doesn’t get too bogged down by having to explain everything.
Director Patty Jenkins manages to balance the different story elements well and the action scenes look great with Wonder Woman looking powerful and full of strength as she faces her foes. Gadot does a lovely mix of strength, vulnerability and charm. She also displays Diana’s journey from naïve optimist to more world-weary but still hopeful warrior that we saw in Dawn of Justice.
As her love interest Chris Pine is a likeable presence and interestingly in a reversal of the male gaze we get a whole lot of female gaze with a practically naked Pine featured in one scene.the scene is played for laughs and Pine gamely plays along. The fact that Tanner is portrayed as almost as heroic as Diana did make me worry that Wonder Woman was going to be overshadowed in her own movie. Was it just that they wanted to give Diana a worthy love interest or were studio bosses nervous about having a woman doing all the heroics? Ultimately though Wonder Woman is the main hero here and it’s her journey that we are invested in.
Perhaps all too aware of the criticisms of the previous DC movies Wonder Woman looks brighter and has more humour. Like the other movies the film is still too long in the last act and has underwhelming villains. However Wonder Woman is a serious step forward for the DC extended universe. Let’s just hope the upward trend continues and Wonder Woman is at the forefront of the Justice League movie.
Rating 4/5 – a wonderful (sorry!) solo effort for an iconic DC character
Since Zack Snyder’s latest foray into the DC universe was released the real battle has been the critics vs the audience, with critics slamming the movie but audiences rushing in their droves to see DC’s biggest heroes clash. With record breaking box office numbers in its first week Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice has been a hit so far but will it be a misfire for me?
Two years after Superman (Henry Cavill) saved the world from Zod and the world is still trying to decide how to view Superman. Is he like a benevolent hero like his girfriend Lois Lane (Amy Adams) believes or someone who could destroy us all in an instance if he so pleases? Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) believes it’s the latter leading to an almighty smackdown between the two. But who will end up victorious?
I hate to be jumping on to the negative bandwagon but for the majority of the movie I was completely bored. It doesn’t help that the movie is so long at 151 minutes and takes forever to get to the part audiences really want to see which is the fight between Batman and Superman. Before this we’re exposed to numerous sub plots and characters that dragged the story down.
One of my main complaints about this movie is that its so dour and serious. Granted Man of Steel was hardly a laugh a minute but up until the last third I was really engaged in that movie and the plot. In reverse Dawn of Justice only really starts to soar in its last third when our heroes finally battle it out. The film is so concerned with being grounded and gritty it forgets to also inject some warmth and humor. Ok it doesn’t need to be a comedy but the movie feels so joyless at times it becomes an effort to watch. The film’s muted colours also fails to make the film visually engaging.
Despite his casting causing much controversy I didn’t have a problem with Ben Affleck’s Batman although he is perhaps more convincing as the Playboy Bruce Wayne than Batsman himself. The writing for Batman also makes him come across as a jerk rather than someone with a genuine concern for the safety of the world. Cavill is still great as Superman although it’s strange that the character seems so reluctant to publicly defend himself against the naysayers. Dawn of Justice also marks the big screen début of Wonder Woman and Gal Gadot makes an impressive introduction in her small role. The scene of the three heroes fighting together against their for is a highlight and maybe holds some hope for Justice League movie, as does the small glimpses of future DC superheroes.
Unfortunately Jesse Elsenberg’s Led Luthor is a misfire. I could see what the filmmakers were trying to do updating Luthor into a Mark Zuckerberg type figure. However Elsenberg’s manic, melodramatic performance sticks out amongst everything else and not in a good way. He just becomes an irritating villain and the reveal that his hatred against Superman stems from his daddy issues is a disappointing motive for such an iconic baddie.
A disappointing entry into DC’s Extended Universe but there is some hope that they can turn it around in time for the Justice League movie.
Rating 2.5/5 – for a while it’s longand boring but with a ray of hope in the climatic final stretch