Wonder in name, wonder in nature. Patty Jenkins' triumphant DC superhero movie Wonder Woman has put the DC Universe on track with a blast of terrific summer popcorn entertainment. But what has made the movie the critical and box office success it is? Here's our 9 reasons.
1. It's genuinely awe-inspiring
From the neo-Italian, mythical landscapes of Wonder Woman's home world Themyscira to the conflict-torn battlefields of World War I, this is a movie that takes us on a journey in the best possible sense. Full credit to costume designer Lindy Hemming, composer Rupert Gregson-Williams production designer Aline Bonetto and cinematographer Matthew Jensen, plus the rest of the crew, for pulling us into this universe.
2. The story is tightly constructed
As played by Gal Gadot, Wonder Woman's character arc informs the spine of the movie and gives it a pleasing sense of coherency, tracing her from naive Themysciran warrior to full-on superhero warrior fighting for the future of mankind. She's a proper old-fashioned hero, one who visibly grows in front of us.
3. Gal Gadot is utterly inspirational
She was somewhat neglected in Batman v. Superman but Wonder Woman rights that wrong by allowing Gadot's talents to shine. Not only does the former model convince during Wonder Woman's fierce fight sequences. She also brings endearing, wide-eyed innocence as Diana Prince is exposed to the complexities of the human world for the first time.
4. It's got a powerful message
Wonder Woman has been trained by her fellow Themyscirans that she must prepare for war against its embodiment, the fearsome Ares. But when she gets into early 20th century London she must be reminded that the human realm exists in shades of grey, and that there are more complex reasons as to why humanity is tearing itself apart.
However, this only makes her noble light shine even stronger, inspiring her fellow soldiers to charge across No Man's Land during the movie's most memorable, emotional sequence.
5. It restores the character's dignity
Jenkins' take on the character by contrast invests her with dignity and gravitas, refusing to play either Diana or her costume for laughs whilst also refusing to dip into self-seriousness. It's a tonal tightrope act that Jenkins pulls off brilliantly.
6. The supporting cast is superb
Star Trek's Chris Pine invests sidekick character Steve Trevor with a great deal of charm, acting not only as the love interest but, crucially, Diana's one-man guide to the human world.
Elsewhere we've got The Office's Lucy Davis stealing scenes left and right as Etta Candy whilst Trainspotting's Ewen Bremner makes a vivid impression as World War I sharpshooter Charlie.
And on Themyscira the formidable duo of Gladiator's Connie Nielsen, playing Diana's wise mother Queen Hippolyta, and House of Cards' Robin Wright, as fierce warrior Antiope, lend further gravitas. Of course, they also invoke more than a few tears...
7. It's properly funny
The fish out of water scenes whereby Diana must go incognito on the streets of London are truly delightful, whether she's trying out new dresses that fit or attempting to keep hold of her trusty sword. More importantly, it humanises the character and further engages us the audience, staving off the criticisms of humourlessness that have dogged previous DCEU movies.
8. Patty Jenkins restores the balance
Superhero movies are more often than not a boys' own playground. With one fell swoop Jenkins puts paid to that and invests us in a female superhero icon who can hold her own alongside her more vaunted counterparts.
Yet what really works about the movie is that it never flags this subtext up: instead, it treats the title character completely objectively and never lets gender politics get in the way of the entertainment. The impact of Wonder Woman as a person finally creeps up on us during the end credits, leaving us with a massive smile on our faces.
9. It makes us hopeful for the future of the DCEU
Perhaps more triumphant than anything else, Jenkins has actually created the first genuinely emotional and thrilling movie within the DC Extended Universe. Her expert blend of laughs, tears and thrilling action will hopefully establish a template that future directors like Joss Whedon, who's taken over from Zack Snyder on Justice League, will hopefully adopt. The future starts here.
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