Directed by Patty Jenkins
Film Review by Nicholas Haberling
While I’ve had my doubts about the existence of a conflict between Marvel and DC fans, there is definitely a war being waged at the box office among studios. Maybe ‘war’ is the wrong word since it implies an even back and forth between the two. Instead, Marvel has been obliterating DC, with the latter throwing up whatever it can to try and build a cohesive cinematic universe. With this in mind I walked into Wonder Woman thinking at best the movie would be a fun way to kill two hours. I walked out realizing I may have seen the best superhero movie since The Dark Knight.
While there is an intro with Diana, AKA Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), looking at an old photograph, the film truly begins when we arrive on Themyscira, a hidden island which happens to be the home of the warrior Amazons. For those of you who are not familiar with the Amazons they are a fairly exclusive group of warrior women. Moving along, Diana is told the story of how Ares, the god of war, killed the other Greek gods and that the Amazons were tasked by Zeus with watching for Ares’ return. Later, as Diana gets older and begins to improve her skills as a warrior, she witnesses a plane crash off the coast. Diving from the cliffs of Themyscira, she quickly rescues Captain Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), an American spy. Steve informs Diana he has information which could be used to end the Great War. However, their conversation is interrupted by the arrival of German naval forces. An exciting battle takes place on the beaches of Themsycira, leaving Diana with the idea that Ares has convinced the Germans to wage war across Europe. Shortly after the battle with the Germans, Diana determines it is her destiny to defeat Ares and end the war to end all wars.
While there are a number of side characters in Wonder Woman, played by quality actors/actresses, the story is primarily situated around Diana and Steve. Steve serves as Diana’s guide in a world she has never visited. But he is more than just a character who helps Wonder Woman get from Point A to Point B. In my opinion, he may represent many of the conflicting qualities of humanity. Objective, skeptical of pure intentions, but ultimately capable of great and noble sacrifice. Diana on the other hand is compelling by the merits of her strength of character and oddly enough, her initial naiveté. For much of the movie, Diana is unable to grapple with the realization that people are capable of terrible things. In fact, Ares tells her humanity’s violence was a motivation for him to carry out his actions. He then gives her a chance to join him. Of course Diana refuses and (SPOILER ALERT) defeats this embodiment of evil. Her final thoughts before the end of the film show when facing constant evil or injustice, we can’t be discouraged and must instead do what we can each day to make the world a better place.
If you haven’t seen Wonder Woman yet I would definitely go to the movie theater this weekend. The plot is exceptional, the pacing good, and the characters are great. But this film did leave me with a couple thoughts. First, I kind of feel bad that the Germans are the consistent bad guys in war films. World War 2 was definitely their fault, but their involvement in World War 1 was at least justifiable. Lastly, does this film suggest Wonder Woman inadvertently played a role in laying the groundwork for World War 2? Her actions brought an end to the war, but students of history know the conclusion left a mark on Germany, which eventually led to the Nazi takeover of the government and subsequently the Second World War… And I don’t think Ares had a hand in that one.