Saturday, 3 June 2017

Wonder Woman

Year of Release:  2017
Director:  Patty Jenkins
Screenplay:  Allan Heinberg, from a story by Zack Snyder, Allan Heinberg and Jason Fuchs, based on Wonder Woman created by William Moulton Marston
Starring:  Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Connie Nielsen, David Thewlis, Danny Huston, Elena Anaya
Running Time:  141 minutes
Genre:  Superhero, fantasy, action-adventure, war

The hidden island of Themyscira is the home of the Amazons, warrior women who, according to legend, have been charged by Zeus to guard against the return of the war god Ares.  However the idyllic island life is shattered when American pilot Steve Trevor (Pine) crashes off the coast.  Trevor is rescued by Diana (Gadot), the daughter of the island's ruler, Queen Hippolyta (Wright).  In the world outside, World War I is raging, and Trevor reveals that he is a spy, who is trying to return to London with information about an experimental weapon that brutal General Erich Ludendorff (Huston) and scientist Doctor Maru (Anaya) have developed.  Convinced that Ares is behind the "War to End All Wars", Diana resolves to return with Trevor to find and defeat him, believing that this will end the war and restore world peace.  However she soon learns that things are not that simple.

This film is notable to be the first major superhero film to centre on a female character and the first to be directed by a woman.  Gadot debuted as Wonder Woman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), and this movie is part of a linked series of films based on DC Comics characters, however aside for a brief framing sequence set in the present day, this isn't really connected to any of the previous films, and so can be enjoyed by people who haven't sat through the other DC movies.  The film mixes fantasy, period war film and some culture clash comedy, and works very well.  Gal Gadot is perfect as Wonder Woman, not only handling the action sequences but also a strong emotional arch, and Chris Pine also does well as the square-jawed Steve Trevor.  The film has an emotional core that is often lacking in superhero films, and, while there is a lot of darkness in the film, it leavens the often Bergmanesque levels of despair in the DC movies with a welcome level of hope and optimism.  Certainly this is one of the best of the recent glut of superhero films.

Gal Gadot is Wonder Woman

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