Israeli actress is the iconic DC warrior, but the film can’t match her greatness
The truth about female superheroes is that they never gained as much success as their male counterparts: think about Catwoman and Elektra. Maybe we can ascribe these results to a set of factors which include cast choices, unsuitable screenplay and directing. The good news is that Gal Gadot is perfect for the new Patty Jenkins Wonder Woman, the bad one is that we had higher expectations on Warner Bros. new film.
Like Marvel’s Thor and the first chapter of Captain America, this is the story of a myth: raised on the the island of the Amazonians, Themyscira as a little girl Diana (a.k.a. Wonder Woman) dreams of becoming a warrior. Her mother, Queen Hippolyta, doesn’t want her to fight: she tells her the story of how the God od War, Ares, corrupted mankind and killed all the other gods except Zeus. As his final act during the battle, Zeus gives the Amazons a weapon to destroy Ares if he ever returned.
Diana secretly starts training with her aunt Antiope: once the secret is revealed Hippolyta finally accepts her decision to become an Amazon, as the only way to protect her daughter.
One day, as a young woman, Diana rescues pilot Steve Trevor after his plane crashes off the coast of Themyscira: the Amazons are attacked by a group of german soldiers in the pursuit of him and Antiope dies, in the attempt to protect Diana. Steve reveals he’s an allied spy in World War I: he stole information about a lethal gas weapon from a facility in the Ottoman Empire, run by general Erich Ludendorff and the scientist Dr. Maru. Certain that this is a proof of Ares return, Diana leaves Themyscira with Steve to look for Ludendorff.
Patty Jenkins work is good as well as Matthew Jensen’s cinematography, but storyline and screenplay, by Zack Snyder and Allan Heinberg, are questionable.
The film is intended to divide audience and critics into two fronts: on one side, Snyder’s enthusiasts, who will love Wonder Woman from beginning to end; on the other, those who are still going through a recovery process due to Batman vs. Superman and its obvious flaws. Those who (like me) refer to the second group will notice a clear dividing line in the film: a first enjoyable part, with jokes, fights and action and a second one, where CGI prevails and screenplay surrenders to triviality.
We don’t expect adherence to history from a superhero movie, but a small amount of historical recreation was the touch of class of the film which vanishes in favor of contemporary “Avenger-like” battles.
But we all agree on one thing: Gal Gadot deserves more than a marginal role in the upcoming Justice League film; she perfectly embodies Wonder Woman adding irony and brillance to the beautiful DC warrior. What about the other actors? From fierce Robin Wright as Antiope (finally out of her House of Cards tight clothes) to the great David Thewlis, everyone fits in the puzzle. That’s why we need a sequel with better storyline and screenplay (maybe set in modern times). Meanwhile, we enjoy Patty Jenkins effort hoping for more.
Wonder Woman debuts in American theaters today.