04 Jun 2017 15:11 IST

Wonder Woman review: Gal Gadot to DC’s rescue

Wonder Woman brings back some much-needed lustre to Marvel’s competition

Director: Patty Jenkins

Cast: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, Connie Nielsen and Elena Anaya

Storyline: Amazonian princess Diana enlists the help of American spy Steve Trevor to stop World War I and save humanity.

There’s never really been much competition between Marvel and DC when it comes to films from their extended universes. The former has been miles ahead. And even when DC tried, it tanked hard and how with Superman ( Man of Steel), Batman ( Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice) and even Suicide Squad. And now comes Wonder Woman like a beacon of light in the dark, one that saved the previous DC debacle with Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill in Dawn of Justice.

In DC’s latest, we get the Wonder Woman origin story where Amazonian princess Diana (Gal Gadot) becomes the superhero she’s born to be. When American spy Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) crashes on Themyscira, Diana along with the rest of the women on the island learn of the ongoing World War I. Believing the bloodshed to be the doing of Ares, the God of War, Diana sets out with Steve to try and destroy Ares and stop the Germans from killing millions of people.

As Wonder Woman, Gadot is entirely the anchor of the film. A superhero character has never been so charismatic while simultaneously being unrealistic. Gadot’s Wonder Woman swoons when she sees babies, melts when tasting ice cream and looks at battle with a fierce eye. She knows a woman, nay a person can be different things at different times. And thanks to wonder director Patty Jenkins, seeing women fight on screen in this film is an adrenaline-pumping thrilling experience. You’re dead inside if those goosebumps don’t emerge when Diana or any of her Amazonian islanders leap and bound in combat. Thankfully, (Jenkins), there’s never a single moment that panders to male audiences despite the titular character’s obviously sexualised outfit. Jenkin doesn’t short-change her male characters. They just play second fiddle (for once) to a strong female protagonist who shines throughout.

The decision to set Wonder Woman during WWI amplifies its feminist angle. For instance, one scene has members of the British cabinet gripe in anger at the presence of Diana, because, well no women allowed when important men have to decide the future of the world. But in the end, it’s Diana who helps the very same men decipher important documents and beat the Germans. Jenkins’ subtle comments on empowerment are peppered throughout the film.

But there’s very little spark in Wonder Woman other than Gadot. Even the war takes a backseat to Diana’s transformation from Amazonian princess to superhero. But it’s her romantic arc with Trevor, steely belief in the good of humans and unwavering righteousness that all add up to make a wholesome good-versus-evil film that’s surely bound for success.

(The article first appeared in The Hindu CinemaPlus.)


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