Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman

(Patty Jenkins, 2017)

Rating: 3/5

Reviewed by Dave Lancaster

: Embodying girl power both behind and in front of the lens, Wonder Woman succeeds as an exciting and engaging slice of popcorn cinema.

Outside of Batman and Superman films of varying quality, Patty Jenkins' take on Wonder Woman became DC Commics' breakout cinematic hit since the comic book publisher's birth in the 1930s.

And in a way, not a great deal seems to have changed since those days of yesterday. Wonder Woman is a nostalgic, breezy escape of a comic book film. Set mainly around the first world war, Wonder Woman combines gung-ho heroics wirh a fish out of water plotline - it's sort of an inverted Captain America. This is a familiar watch and a classically constructed one to boot.

Yet, on the other hand Wonder Woman is something of a trailblazer and could well be remembered and revered as something not just fun but also important. A female lead in Gal Gadot's engrossing take on the titular Amazon princess/god is guided with drive, fury and multiplex friendly mis-en-scene by director Patty Jenkins - a talented woman who hasn't directed a feature since 2003's Oscar winning serial killer drama Monster.

And what a return. As of this year, Wonder Woman is the highest-grossing film directed by a woman, the biggest domestic opening for a film directed by a woman, the highest-grossing superhero origin film in the American market and the largest opening for a female-led comic book film. Really, this sort of thing shouldn't be newsworthy in an ideal, equal world but it's one hell of a leap forward in the right direction.

It's also refreshing to see a woman cast as one of the main villains (instead of just being relegated to a James Bond style object of desire/potential femme fatale) with Elena Anaya adding mystique as a disfigured Spanish chemist dubbed Doctor Poison. What's so great about Wonder Woman as a character is that she has no reason to adhere to social conventions or gender rules - she is unleashed and deftly dominates the narrative.

Let's not write off the guys too soon however - there's a charismatic male lead in Chris Pine's maverick spy and Danny Huston gets to munch some scenary as an iron-fisted warmonger in the German army. It's all a bit larger than life but it's refreshing to see the men pictured as somewhat brash, unthoughtful and even primal men of duty serving a blind purpose while the women are the innovators and instigators.

Regardless of the gender assignments, Wonder Woman is still an exciting and engaging slice of popcorn cinema. Of course, as so many comic book films do these days, it builds to a massive CGI fest and distracts itself from its own messages.

Be sure to check out the Blu-ray edition which is loaded with bonus features including the following extra footage and behind the scenes content:

  • Epilogue
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Crafting the Wonder
  • A Director's vision
  • Themyscira: The Hidden island
  • Beach Battle
  • A Photograph through Time
  • Diana in the Modern World
  • Wonder Woman at War
  • Warriors of Wonder Woman
  • The Trinity
  • The Wonder Behind the Camera
  • Finding the Wonder Woman Within
  • Gag Reel

Wonder Woman is out now on Digital Download and is out on 4K UHD, Blu-ray™ 3D, Blu-ray™ and DVD October 9.

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