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Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman

Released 2 June 2017
Director Patty Jenkins
Starring Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, Connie Nielsen, Elena Anaya, Ewan Bremner, Lucy Davis, Lisa Loven Kongsli, Said Taghmaoui, Eugene Brave Rock
Writer(s) Allan Heinberg
Producer(s) Charles Roven, Deborah Snyder, Zack Snyder, Richard Suckle
Origin United States, China, Hong Kong
Running Time 141 minutes
Genre Action, adventure, drama
Rating 12A

Gods of war.

Nothing ruins a good time quicker than a flotilla of German soldiers. Case in point - the new Wonder Woman film, during which a female utopia is blown apart by the arrival of an all-American hero followed closely by said flotilla. The immediate consequence of this is a pleasingly bonkers showdown between swooping, acrobatic Amazon warriors and gun-wielding Germans but the aftermath, (i.e. the rest of the film) does not recover so well.

We begin the film on the Island of Themyscira, home to the Amazons – a race of female warriors that was created by Zeus to defend humanity against Ares, God of War. Their world exists in a bubble, invisible to mankind; so when a World War I plane suddenly crackles into life and crashes into the Island’s waters, the Queen’s daughter Diana (Gal Gadot) is understandably surprised. The dashing pilot, Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) tells the assembled women about the “War to end all Wars” and Diana vows to return to Earth with him, to find Ares and end the conflict for good.

The fact that Wonder Woman is the first female led action film to hit the big screens since Halle Berry donned the Catwoman catsuit in 2004 isn’t as revolutionary as some would have us believe. Sure, the film is directed by a woman (Patty Jenkins) – great!! And Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman has a sensual ease with her body that manages to sidestep the fact that she’s wearing fetish gear in the middle of trench warfare – also great!! But the script was written by five men (including Zac Snyder) and by golly does it show! The start of the film is a wonder to behold as Diana receives battle training from Amazon general Antiope (a fabulously powerful Robin Wright) and wisdom from her mother Hippolyta (a stately Connie Nielsen) but once Diana leaves the island, the “World of Men” her mother warned her about suddenly becomes the “World of Mansplaining”.

Despite the fact that Diana has the ability to trounce every man in her path, the story makes it so that she still needs to tag along with Pine’s inept spy and his rag tag bunch of companions – none of whom seem particularly skilled. The result is a film that is fun but sadly formulaic. Diana falls for Steve (yawn), engages in some toe-curlingly awkward soul searching and winds up in the midst of the typical superhero finale during which things explode and stunt doubles do their thing.

I have no doubt that everyone involved tried to make this an inclusive, exciting film and it certainly has its pleasures but to make this film truly wonderful, I couldn’t help but feel that Diana should have made her way alone. But then maybe a female-led superhero film without a heroic make lead is a step too far for some people?

- Linda O’Brien