Movie Review: ‘Wonder Woman’ Empowers While It Entertains
The recent women-only screenings of Wonder Woman might have brought some men up in arms, but there might be good reason for it. This is a film that is not only entertaining — but it is also extremely empowering for women and young girls finding their way in the world. At its core, it is a female superhero played with both power and softness by Gal Gadot. There is also an army of Amazonian women who are just as badass in battle as any man. Gadot is the perfect choice for Wonder Woman as she slays the men with her beauty and her brawn.
The story by Zach Snyder — who brought other DC comics to the screen — is steeped in Greek mythology. The screenplay, written by Allan Heinberg, creates a universe where women bridge a greater understanding between all men — and they are fearless and victorious while doing it. The balance between the emotional moments and the battle scenes are precisely executed under the direction of Patty Jenkins. It begins on the island of Themyscira, a Utopian paradise created by Zeus — God of the sky and ruler of the Olympian Gods — for the Amazons to thrive safe from Ares, the God of war. The striking Amalfi Coast doubles as this idyllic home with it’s beautiful rocky coastline jetting out onto cliffs surrounded by the bluest ocean. Here is where we meet a young Diana, daughter of Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen) who wants nothing more than to be trained in the Amazon ways by her aunt, General Antiope — played fiercely by Robin Wright. All grown up, Diana is determined to fulfill her destiny to defend the world against Ares. But first, she must steal the sacred sword or “god killer” in a very cool scene where she repels up a stone wall. She joins forces with Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), a World War I fighter pilot who crashed on the island. Pine cuts a dashing figure in uniform and he has an easy chemistry with Gadot. Although you’ll be tempted to bring your children to Wonder Woman, this is not the animated version by any stretch. There are sexual innuendos that may need explaining. There are also some steamy moments, like the scene where Trevor emerges naked from a hot tub covering his privates. Most of the eye candy belongs to these Amazon women. They are impressive — buff and strong — savagely wielding swords in hand to hand combat training. The actors who played them were put through their paces to gain the strength they needed to look like warriors. “The fact is with a horse and with a bow and arrow and a sword — that’s what women warriors did in combat for thousands of years and it felt like we were bringing it back,” Gadot said at the press conference. “We did a lot of different types of martial arts. I did a lot of boxing just because I enjoy it and it helped me build my body. Also it was explosive movements which was very important for my character. I did a lot of sword work.” Wonder Woman also has its comedic moments. She is an Amazon from another world on the streets of London — hiding her warrior ensemble underneath petticoats — which gets it’s big reveal that is akin to Clark Kent becoming Superman. In the film, she takes on the evil German enemy personified by female villain, Dr. Maru (Elena Anaya). The battle scenes in Wonder Woman were given great care by Jenkins. She worked with stunt choreographers to create a warrior dance. The Amazons pirouette in slow motion through the sky while shooting bows and arrows. Jenkins was well aware she was up against the traditional male-dominated action. “It’s a different approach that becomes badass in a whole other way,” she said in a press conference. “The victory would be the day that you could make a great movie about a hero and whatever they are is secondary. We not only want to bring a message of being a hero in the world but to anybody else to find their voice.” Wonder Woman is the superhero movie to do just that.
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