Diana (Gal Gadot), Princess of the Amazons has grown up on the island of Themyscira with only stories of the world of men when Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) crash lands and brings the realities of World War 1 into her life. With Trevor as her guide, she sets out to defeat Ares, the God of War whom she blames for the corruption of mankind.
Straight away it is easy to say the 4th film in the DC Cinematic Universe is easily the most likeable and all round accomplished film.
The key winning factor here is that this film is about hope and purity and wanting to do good. Diana is not gray, she is not battling her dark side as she has none and she is not questioning her role in this world because it is clear to her. Whereas DC’s new versions of Batman and Superman are doing those things, Wonder Woman is virtuous and full of hope. Something that we can all get behind in a Superhero film.
The situation helps greatly here. This is an origin story, not connected to the cinematic timeline laid out already aside from a single photograph seen in Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice (B vs S from here on). Set in WW1 there is no need to do anything but focus solely on Diana and we get to see her grow up on Paradise Island, encounter men and choose to fight for mankind. The scenes in Themyscira are sun bleached and beautiful in contrast to the gray of the real world but never at any point are we in the perpetual dark of B vs S or Suicide Squad. The action scenes are also in the main brilliant and coherent, an issue previous DC films have suffered with. They even get very close to not going all out CGI in the final fight, but can not quite resist it.
The casting is all round excellent work. Gal Gadot is genuinely brilliant as Diana, stunning to look at, athletic and convincing as a fighter, but surprisingly funny also. Chris Pine is a charismatic spy and convincing as the man who makes Diana leave her world. Robin Wright and Connie Nielson strong and true as mother and aunt of the Amazon Princess. Only when you come to the villains of the piece played by Danny Huston and Alena Anaya do you see more generic German baddies.
Naysayers could easily say that this film is just two of Marvel’s previous successes thrown together. The opening scenes explaining the legend of the Amazons and Diana’s heritage come from Thor, even down to the fish out of water humour when she first arrives in the real world. The WW1 plot and the German scientists building weapons of mass destruction taken from Captain America and just switching out which war it is. Arguably this is true, but any complaints of similarities between DC and Marvel comics should be aimed at comic makers a very long time ago and does it really matter when it delivers such a fun film?
A few final thoughts; Director, Patty Jenkins, please don’t wait another 14 years between films (Monster was great too); I hope the DC Extended Universe has found its tone now in the lead up to Justice League; And you do not need to stay to the end of the credits, this is DC, not Marvel.