Gal Gadot may be a sight on screen, with her lush lips, flowing locks of black hair, and ability to kick ass, yet so is the gorgeously shot atmosphere that feels like a breath of fresh air after trudging through the grey area in ‘Man of Steel’, the dimly-lit/darkened hallway of ‘Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice’ (where Gadot first appeared as Wonder Woman in a supporting role in order to set up the ‘Justice League’), and the neon-drenched city of ‘Suicide Squad’ (I would say we shrunk ourselves through a rainbow of colorful bricks in the play set for ‘The Lego Batman Movie, yet whether you count is an addition to the DC Expanded Universe is up to you. I assure you, it’s not.). It feels like it has been forever since we experienced the beauty of being outside again, and director Patty Jenkins has given us something to admire. (Even though I had a good time in the city of ‘Suicide Squad’, and will come back again when the sequel comes out.) The air of Themyscira is fresh, while the atmosphere of London, England during WWI is busy in the daytime, yet quiet and peaceful at night, with the occasional fight/riot to give us an adrenaline rush.
The action sequences in ‘Wonder Woman’ are more than just a reward for going on a journey with Diana Prince/Wonder Woman (Gadot), or destroying set pieces that probably took months to build, and when they use CGI, it fills your eyes with wonderment. Every bit of action takes your breath away with each slow-motion shot and adds to the beauty of the atmosphere. With ‘Wonder Woman’, you’re not driving a bus through traffic, you’re driving a family sedan on a straight path to the beach where you can relax and enjoy yourself.
I had a great time watching ‘Wonder Woman’ in a packed theater (despite setbacks with a screaming child and a glitch in the footage during its major climax), and it is one of those movies I will think about for a long time. The character of Wonder Woman was meant to be a feminist icon and a role model for little girls saying that they can be superheroes too. While Gadot came off as more of a sex symbol in 2016 (when ‘Batman V. Superman was first released.), here, in ‘Wonder Woman’, she plays more of a role model, who believes in truth and justice, giving her a more empathetic/relatable depth that wasn’t fully explored in ‘Batman V. Superman’. Wonder Woman is more than just an icon for feminism, she is a character of independence and can hold her own in a fight, even when Chris Pine’s Steve Trevor (The American pilot she rescues after his plane crashes in her homeland of Themyscira) attempts to hold her back.
Speaking of Pine, he and Gadot share a humorous, yet, at times, sexually-charged bit of chemistry that is more than a set-up for romance. In fact, it gets sweet, but not too sappy or too over-the-top. But instead, focusing on the character’s intentions for why they are doing what they are doing. Diana travels to London in order to search for a Greek God named Ares, who might be the key to starting the war in London against the Germans; while Steve is an American spy sent to uncover the secrets of the German army and what is going on with the newly-developed mustard gas, created by a woman named “Doctor Poison”(Elena Anaya), who looks like a porcelain-doll version of the “Phantom of the Opera”, and general Erich Ludendorff (a cartoony performance by Daniel Huston).
While everything in the world of ‘Wonder Woman’ is going on, we are there with these characters as they try not to get killed. It seems that there is more of an opportunity for DC to do something and having fun. The expanded universe has matured, but only time will tell when ‘Justice League’ comes out this November whether, or not the studio can keep its streak going!