On a hidden island populated by Amazonian warriors, a young child begs her mother to allow her to become a warrior too. Begrudgingly, her mother agrees. However years later, the secret of her child’s true warrior potential is revealed, as the world crashes into their lives in the shape of a WWI biplane.
This 'Wonder Woman' update is all about action …
Director Patty Jenkins’s revamped ‘Wonder Woman’ is definitely a world away from the bygone TV series with Lynda Carter. Gone are the primary coloured basques for something for much more warrior-like. Gal Gadot’s Diana is a fighter. Dressed in armour and schooled in both martial arts and equine combat, this ‘Wonder Woman’ is all about action – and this is where it falters. As with ‘Batman vs Superman’, not only are the same DC action tropes back, but so is the same leaden dialogue.
Set during the violence of WWI, any hint of dealing with that conflict’s needless slaughter is quickly skipped over for a plot short on surprise but strong on generalisations – i.e. all Germans are bad and all Allies are uniformly good. Where there was a real opportunity here for a sly, feminist critique of men, their treatment of women and their predisposition for war, this ‘Wonder Woman’ surrenders to a chorus of beat-’em up set pieces, token sacrifices and bland villainy brought in only at the very end. Whilst actors Robin Wright, David Thwelis and Daniel Huston clearly try to do what they can with their roles, ‘Wonder Woman’s’ on-the-nose script always leaves them feeling like band-aids on a film that never truly takes risks or deviates from Zak Snyder’s previous DC fare.
That said, in sync with its early glowing reviews and advance hype, ‘Wonder Woman’ is markedly better than ‘Batman vs Superman’. However where it disappoints is where it should have soared – in its sexual politics and its humour. Sadly lacking both the wit and irony of its Marvel counter parts, Gal Gadot’s outing feels squandered in this flat origin story. With Chris Pine’s character also rendered null by its compliance, ‘Wonder Woman’s’ moment to take the mantle of post-modern icon feels squandered with this well-intentioned but dull two and a half hours.
In the end, this latest DC movie has left me pensive. If she could be convinced, I wonder what Kathryn Bigelow (‘Point Break’, ‘Zero Dark Thirty’, amongst others) would have done with Diana. Now, there’s a prospect for a thoughtful, feminist sequel, to companion Chris Nolan’s ‘Batman’ series.