The defender of Themyscira breathes new life into the DC Franchise after the mediocre efforts of Batman v Superman
Whether you loved or loathed Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, two things were undeniable. Ben Affleck nailed his incarnation of The Dark Knight and Gal Gadot made a fantastic impact as Diana Prince a.k.a Wonder Woman.
The movie itself was greeted with a tirade of abuse from the disenchanted fans, all of whom had been expecting the ultimate confrontation between the heroes of the DC Comic universe but were rewarded with a dismal effort from director Zack Snyder. His lackluster attempt at returning Superman to his former glory in Man of Steel was a low point, especially to the hordes of devoted Christopher Reeve fans whom were reluctant to embrace a darker toned version of their favourite superhero. But, when Batman v Superman was announced to the world, the fans were rejuvenated and their expectations went through the roof at the prospect of the biggest comic book showdown in movie history.
Sadly, it was not to be and Batman v Superman was discarded as a cinematic car crash.
Hot on the heels of its failure, David Ayer’s Suicide Squad arrived to reinstall a level of credibility to the DC Extended Universe, but again the movie fell far short of the expectations of the fans who had only the performance of Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn to embrace. Will Smith pulled out a solid performance as Deadshot, but he could not displace Robbie as the shining light in what was another epic fail for the DC universe. Even a cameo from Affleck’s Batman failed to deliver an outright success, and Suicide Squad faded into obscurity against the other blockbusters of the summer season.
With their unequivocal failure, the fans were left to grasp onto any shred of quality buried amongst the tedium of both movies and found it in abundance with Affleck’s Batman and Gadot’s Wonder Woman. For the limited screen time she received in Batman v Superman, Gadot made a profound impact with her last-ditch arrival in the movies climactic battle and boasted the emphasizing score orchestrated by the faltering Hans Zimmer. Without doubt, it was one of the few highlights of the movie and in the aftermath of its release, many began to look forward to her first solo outing that had already entered production.
Fast forward to today, and the Wonder Woman movie has been unleashed upon the world to rave reviews. Telling the story of her childhood upbringing and leading up to her eventual departure from her home on the island of Themyscira, Gal Gadot returns to the role with a new lease of life. Taking centre stage, the character of Diana Prince sets off on an adventure to rid the world of the God of War, Ares, whom she believes is behind the uprising of the German army and their attempts to overthrow the world. Accompanied by superspy Steve Trevor, portrayed by Chris Pine in his traditional brilliance, Diana heads to the front lines desperate to locate Ares and bring an end to the war to end all wars.
Without going into spoilers, her adventure takes her into the very heart of the war and reveals its true ugliness in unadulterated detail which she finds hauntingly abhorrent. Determined to stop Ares and liberate the German soldiers from his influence, Diana battles her way through the ranks until she reaches the stronghold of German high command. There she comes face-to-face with not only her greatest fear, but with the heart-breaking loss associated with the art of war. This leads to her core beliefs being tested to their very limit.
Personally, I found the movie to be a breath of fresh air. The mythological opening of the movie set the tone as a very different type of superhero movie than the one we were expecting, and it went the extra mile when transitioning to the war-time world beyond Themyscira’s borders. Director Patty Jenkins took us to the edge of the western front in fantastical fashion and pulled no punches when revealing the horrors of war, which was quite the surprise for a PG-13 (12A in the UK) certification.
The depths of despair she was willing to expose was totally unexpected, but it added an incredible amount of gravitas to the movie, which upon leaving the theatre felt more akin to a war movie than the traditional template adopted by other superhero movies. The score, composed and conducted by Rupert Gregson-Williams, is a great entry into the annals of the DC Comics fraternity and it hits all the right notes, even incorporating several blasts of Hans Zimmer’s iconic Amazon theme from Batman v Superman.
But is Wonder Woman as good as the critics say it is?
Being an origin story, Wonder Woman delivers an exceptional first foray into the characters solo adventures and leads us towards the release of the Justice League movie perfectly. Whether it can live up to the standards installed by Wonder Woman remains to be seen, but either way, the sequel cannot come quick enough. The news that Patty Jenkins has signed up to direct the next chapter is most welcome and provides a level of continuity to the often-chaotic DC universe, which is always running to catch up with Marvel. With Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 having come and gone and Spider-Man Homecoming only a few short weeks away, Wonder Woman should capitalize on the box office hunger for comic book style action to cement its status.
However, with Patty Jenkins’ fantastic movie…surely that is a certainty. Kudos to her for having the stones to produce such an invigorating action movie that affords of us some of the finest DC action in movie history.
Until then, The Justice League is playing around the world now.
Unite with Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, The Flash and Cyborg for the biggest superhero team-up since The Avengers blasted their way onto our screens!
To the Batmobile!!