Top 100 Films Of The 2010’s – #52 – Wonder Woman (2017)


RELEASED: 1st June 2017

DIRECTOR: Patty Jenkins

CAST: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, Connie Nielsen, Elena Anaya, Lucy Davis, Saïd Taghmaoui, Ewen Bremner and Eugene Brave Rock

BUDGET: $149m

BOX OFFICE WORLDWIDE: $821.8m

AWARDS: None

When a pilot crashes and tells of conflict in the outside world, Diana, an Amazonian warrior in training, leaves home to fight a war, discovering her full powers and true destiny.

 

Wonder Woman has us witnessing Diana, an Amazonian princess, growing up on the paradise island known as Themyscira until one day an Allied intelligence operative named Steve Trevor crashes off the coast of the island, leading to a battle with German forces on the shore. Trevor explains to the Amazons of the war raging in the outside world. Learning of the millions dying in the war, including women and children, Diana leaves her home to fight in the war to end all wars.

 

“Every once in a while, there’s superhero casting that transcends, because that person is so authentic to the character that it becomes identified with them, like Lynda Carter or Christopher Reeve.” These were the words of director Patty Jenkins when asked about ‘inheriting’ Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman during an interview with Playboy. Come the release of Wonder Woman in 2017, I believed that transcendency happened for Gal Gadot. Set on the hidden island of Themyscira, home of the Amazonian warriors created by Zeus to protect mankind, we follow a young to adult Diana growing up on the island, being trained by her aunt General Antiope, when Captain Steve Trevor’s crashes off the coast. After a battle with German soldiers (who chased Trevor) leads to casualties, they learn that a Great War is consuming the outside world. Shocked to hear of the atrocities and casualties of the war, Diana decides to go with Trevor to the front of the war and fight for the helpless and discover her true destiny. It’s a fish out of water origin story that works wonders as we witness Diana’s journey into man’s world as she seeks immediately to stop those responsible (due to being under the influence of Ares, of course) and help those in need. Diana has a black and white point of view of right and wrong, is seeing first-hand the evil of man and these conflicting ideologies she has either with Steve Trevor or the Supreme War Council, it makes for very engaging viewing in the first act, before Diana, Steve and their crew make way towards the front line. It’s when they arrive to the front line is when Diana then becomes Wonder Woman (No Man’s Land sequence) and the film heads towards standard comic book film territory (big scale battle, CGI final act bonanza), but it’s the characters and the journey that still keeps you coming back repeatedly to watch this film. The films key strength and glue that keeps the audience invested is the relationship between Diana and Steve Trevor. Both of them fall into the ‘fish out of water’ mould that perfectly compliment each other as they are both bemused by the others origins as one has never seen a man before and the other has never met a….well, a God. Their journey throughout the film feels more authentic than forced and that’s due to the terrific chemistry that they have onscreen. Steve is, in his words an ‘above average’ man that is more than capable of handling himself within the settings of the war but can’t help but deliver some sharp sense of humour as he stares in awe when Diana begins to unleash her powers. The film is well directed by Patty Jenkins, especially in how she frames the small character moments, and the score from Rupert Gregson-Williams is terrific. Despite criticism of her initial casting way back in 2013, I thought Gal Gadot is great here as Diana, as she manages to find the balance of bringing innocence, sincerity and badassery to the role and with the action sequences she has and the material that she has to work with, this is comfortably her best performance to date. Chris Pine is a great foil to Gadot as Steve Trevor, and from the the supporting cast I thought Robin Wright’s performance as General Antiope stood out the most for me, though I did also like Connie Nielsen, David Thewlis and Saïd Taghmaoui. Granted the final act has its issues (for me, it’s mainly from a point-of-view on the CGI), but for me overall Wonder Woman works and it’s not only one of my favourite comic book films of the decade, but one of my favourite films of the decade.

 

FAVOURITE SCENE: Obviously it’s the No Man’s Land sequence, I’m hardly going to pick anything else. From the build-up of walking through the trenches to her, Steve Trevor and their crew to the Allies following them not too far behind once they reach enemy lines and begin moving forward towards the village of Veld. The music Rupert Gregson-Williams composed for this particular sequence is fantastic.

FAVOURITE QUOTE: “My father told me once, he said, “If you see something wrong happening in the world, you can either do nothing, or you can do something”. And I already tried nothing.” – Steve Trevor

DID YOU KNOW: Gal Gadot trained for nine months to gain seventeen pounds of pure muscle, though it didn’t show in the final film and many fans felt she looked too thin to play the character.

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