Wonder Woman Review
By Rich Cline
Boldly optimistic, this action-packed adventure breathes fresh life into the DC universe with a welcome balance of comedy, flirtation and a sense of righteous justice. And at the centre, Gal Gadot is a hugely engaging hero with a refreshing moral clarity to her actions. So even if the movie dissolves into the usual murky digital mayhem in its final act, there’s a bright light at the centre that holds us in its grip.
While the Great War rages in Europe, life carries on as usual on the secret island home of the Amazons, where Diana (Gadot) has been raised by her mother Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen) and trained by her aunt General Antiope (Robin Wright). When American spy Steve (Chris Pine) crash-lands there, Diana quickly agrees to return with him to war-torn Europe, track down God of War Aries and put an end to the fighting for good. Awed by her fighting prowess and skimpy outfit, Steve agrees to take her. They return to London to confront a smug politician (David Thewlis) and assemble a team so they can return to the front on a mission to take down the nefarious German General Ludendorff (Danny Huston) and his chemical weapons scientist Maru (Elena Anaya). But Diana is still looking for Aries.
Director Patty Jenkins tells this story like an old-fashioned war epic, following a rag-tag group of good guys as they go through a series of battles on their way to the big confrontation. Along the way, there’s plenty of comedy banter, dark emotion and even some lusty romance. Putting a woman at the centre of the action gives the movie a strongly resonant slant, especially because she’s surrounded by men who always underestimate her.
Gal Gadot and co-star Chris Pine
Gadot plays Diana as a big-hearted warrior whose ferocity never compromises her principles or her compassion. She has terrific screen presence, and instantly becomes DC’s most engaging superhero yet. Everyone around her is also vividly defined. Pine is seriously charming as the fast-talking spy who thinks on his feet. His chemistry with Gadot is one of the film’s strongest elements. The supporting cast members are all expert scene-stealers who cleverly bring their characters to life. Anaya is the most memorable, adding a kick of humanity under her poisonous villainy.
But what makes the movie extraordinary is its straightforward morality, following people who are willing to go against the odds to do the right thing, fully aware that doing nothing is not an option. A more textured climactic battle would have brought these themes home with a lot more force, because what we have here is merely another effects-heavy act of mass destruction that’s unnecessarily grim and ugly. But fans won’t mind at all. And we’ll all be looking forward to seeing this bright hero again.
Starring: Gal Gadot as Diana Prince / Wonder Woman, Chris Pine as Steve Trevor, Robin Wright as General Antiope, Danny Huston as General Erich Ludendorff, David Thewlis as Ares, Connie Nielsen as Queen Hippolyta, Elena Anaya as Maru / Doctor Poison, Lucy Davis as Etta Candy, Ewen Bremner as Charlie, Saïd Taghmaoui as Sameer, Florence Kasumba as Senator Acantha, Eugene Brave Rock as Chief, Doutzen Kroes as Amazon, Lisa Loven Kongsli as Menalippe, Samantha Jo as Euboea, Eleanor Matsuura as Epione, Georgina Armstrong as Amazon Warrior, Flor Ferraco as Factory Worker, Emily Carey as Young Diana, James Cosmo as FIeld Marshall Haig, Lora Moss as Belgium Peasant, Matt Townsend as Returning Wounded Soldier, Madeleine Vall as Egeria, Mayling Ng as Orana, Ann Wolfe as Artemis, Jolie Stanford as Amazonian Warrior, Andreas Vasiliou as Amazonian Warrior, Rekha Luther as Amazon Warrior, Zinnia Kumar as Amazonian Warrior & Entourage, Bern Collaco as Indian Regiment Soldier, Roman Green as Returning Amputee Soldier, Ann Ogbomo as Phillipus, Annarie Boor as Chateau Dancer, Ray Whelan as British Soldier, Jag Patel as Turkish Worker, Philippe Spall as Belgian Officer, Jennie Eggleton as Young Woman, Jacqui-Lee Pryce as Niobe, Lee Neville as Scottish Regiment Soldier, Steve Doyle as German Officer, Edward Wolstenholme as British Officer, Frank Allen Forbes as Turkish Slave, Ben Kelleher as WWI Soldier, Roy Taylor as Pub Bruiser, James M.L. Muller as Clerk (as James Rumell), Rajeev Pahuja as Soldier, Yves O’Hara as German Soldier (uncredited), Richard Price as Wounded British Soldier (uncredited), Anthony J. Sacco as Turkish soldier (uncredited), Zack Snyder as U.S. Soldier (uncredited), Shiraz Yasin as Turkish Soldier (uncredited), Harry Brewis as Jazz Musician, Tom Whelehan as Belgian Butcher, Mick Slaney as British Soldier, Karl Fredrick Hiemeyer as German Soldier, Sofia Abbasi as Turkish Worker, Christopher Marsh as British Soldier, Jemma Moore as Queens Guard, Roy Martin Thorn as German Navy General (as Roy Thorn), Steve Healey as German Soldier, Jared Stewart as German soldier, Kevin Hudson as Cafe Owner, Marko Leht as German Soldier, Ekran Mustafa as Turkish worker, Tim Ingall as British soldier, Dominic Kinnaird as Rüdiger Gerhard, Fran Targ as Turkish Worker, Sternkiker François as German Pilot, Dino Fazzani as Turkish soldier, Miroslav Zaruba as German Airplane Mechanic, David Georgiou as Turkish Soldier (uncredited), Kornelia Horvath as Upper class customer (uncredited), Dario A. Lee as Hollywood Walker, Shaun Newnham as Pub man, Freddy Carter as Young Soldier, Phil Tillott as War Office Politician, Adam Sef as Worker, John Kinory as Village pharmacist, Shane Griffin as German Soldier, Zac Whitehead as Passerby, Alexander Mercury as German Officer
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