Film Review: ‘Wonder Woman’ Ignites the Screen with the Magic of Gal Gadot and Patty Jenkins

Color me surprised.  “Wonder Woman,” the newest film in the DC Cinematic Universe encompasses sincerity, heart, and a charismatic and endearing performance from its star Gal Gadot.  Directed by Patty Jenkins, her first feature since “Monster” in 2003, the marriage of character and vision is apparent in every frame, amounting to the best DC film since “The Dark Knight” trilogy.  While not perfect by any stretch, “Wonder Woman” has likable characters partnered with a smart and well thought out origin story.  It’s one of the year’s most pleasant inclusions.

Wonder Woman” tells the story of our title heroine.  Before she was Wonder Woman she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, trained warrior. When a pilot crashes and tells of conflict in the outside world, she leaves home to fight a war to end all wars, discovering her full powers and true destiny.

Talking through the “highs,” and there are many, “Wonder Woman” is quite littered with them. The story and script by Zack Snyder, Allan Heinberg, and Jason Fuchs is the most genuine creation in a post “Dark Knight” universe.  Showing us the world in which Diana originates is never forced.  It feels authentic as we get to know the women of the Amazon.  Robin Wright as Antiope and Connie Nielsen as Hippolyta are sensational in their roles.  The two women stitch together an emotional pillar in which Diane feeds from.  The audience is able to engage and gain a connection to both this world and Diana’s backstory.  Jenkins builds an arsenal of strong female characters, some of which are the strongest we’ve seen in this genre thus far.

Gal Gadot rips through the film like an unstoppable force.  Polished and pure, Gadot delivers a hypnotic and convincing portrayal of our amazing superhero.  As a matter of fact, it’s the best of her career yet.  While her physical stature probably doesn’t match up to what the ideal Wonder Woman is, she overcomes those shortcomings with talent, beauty, and poise.  Her emergence as “Wonder Woman” in a “No Man’s Land” sequence makes you stand up and cheer.  One of the most bad ass female fighting sequences seen since Trinity froze in mid-air to kick a cop in the face in “The Matrix.”

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Co-star Chris Pine takes a back seat to the film’s central themes but his charm is never far from words.  Danny Huston and David Thewlis aren’t the most apparent bright spots since their characters are vastly underwritten and too “cookie cutter” for what the film is trying to do.  They do their best to overcome.

What stands as the film’s most surprising revelation is how timely “Wonder Woman” feels at times when approaching themes of war and human kind.  It taps into a sensitive spot that speaks volumes today.  As we sit in the midst of a tumultuous political climate, where the faith in our leaders as at a record low (for many), “Wonder Woman” shows us some methods and practices to improve our situation.

Technically speaking, “Wonder Woman” has its bright areas.  Production and Costume Design are too places where the Oscars would be remiss if they didn’t recognize.  Rupert Gregson-Williams‘ high octane score is magnificent work, standing as one of the year’s best so far.

If we’re chipping away from the perfection meter, the movie is a tad overlong, and lacks some needed stitching in establishing a stronger foundation.  The final battle is also a bit overblown and anti-climatic as you seem to figure everything out well before “the big reveal.”

Wonder Woman” has heart.  It stands tall next to other great superhero films from the year including “Logan” and “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.”  It even surpasses them in many instances.  Having a female character, helmed by a strong female director shows what Hollywood is capable of if they FULLY commit themselves to diversity and inclusion.  We must continue to be voices in this regard.

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“Wonder Woman” is distributed by Warner Bros. and is currently playing in theaters.

GRADE: (★★★)

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CLICK THE CATEGORY TO SEE THE OSCAR PREDICTIONS:

MOTION PICTURE |DIRECTOR |
LEAD ACTOR | LEAD ACTRESS | SUPPORTING ACTOR | SUPPORTING ACTRESS | 
ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY | ADAPTED SCREENPLAY | ANIMATED FEATURE |
PRODUCTION DESIGN | CINEMATOGRAPHY | COSTUME DESIGN | FILM EDITING |
MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING | SOUND MIXING | SOUND EDITING | VISUAL EFFECTS |
ORIGINAL SCORE | ORIGINAL SONG |

About Clayton Davis

Clayton Davis is the esteemed Editor and Owner of AwardsCircuit.com. Born in Bronx, NY to a Puerto Rican mother and Black father, he’s been criticizing film and television for over a decade. Clayton is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association where he votes and attends the kick off to the awards season, the Critics Choice Awards. He’s also an active member of New York Film Critics Online, International Press Academy, Black Reel Awards, and the Broadcast Television Journalists Association. Clayton has been quoted and appeared in various outlets that include The New York Times, CNN.com, Variety, Deadline, Los Angeles Times, Bloomberg Television, AOL, Huffington Post, Bloomberg Radio, The Wrap, Slash Film, and the Hollywood Reporter.