“Wonder Woman” is simply the movie to see rounding out its third weekend with U.S. sales at $275 million and $570 million worldwide. You may have noticed there are a lot of showings, including 3D and 4DX versions, and they sell out quickly. All of this is for very good reason. This Wonder Woman movie is very sharp and Gal Gadot in the main role commands the screen at all times, even more so, I dare say, than a Ben Affleck or a Henry Cavill. That had to be part of the thinking behind this first ever Wonder Woman major motion picture. The stumbling block all these decades was supposed to have something to do with whether or not a Wonder Woman movie could ever deliver the box office of a Superman or Batman movie. The answer is YES!
“Wonder Woman,” directed by Patty Jenkins, is certainly one of those exceptional movie events. It comes out of that urgent need to get it right. The most brilliant step in getting it right was to set the story during World War I. When was the last time you saw a major motion picture set during WWI? Any young person walking in to see this movie would shrug. There have been a select few, including 2004’s “A Very Long Engagement,” starring Audrey Tautou. The original Wonder Woman comic book was inextricably linked to World War II since it came out during that era. But to rework that same terrain would have been dreadfully tiresome for many a fan. Setting things back to an entirely different epoch opens up different and more compelling options, bringing it all back to basics in a very intriguing way. What could be better than to have a young and idealistic goddess confront “the war to end all wars”? I can imagine that being the pitch to the story by Zack Snyder (Man of Steel) that was fleshed out in the screenplay by Allan Heinberg (Grey’s Anatomy).
The beauty of “Wonder Woman” is how purposeful it is. Yes, we are dealing with the inevitable origin story. But that becomes a big plus as this is used to full advantage. The opening scenes set in Themyscira, the idyllic world that Wonder Woman comes from, have a refreshing vibe to them. There is a certain amount of dutiful explaining going on but, right from the start, we see quick and steady progress from our main character. We see Diana, the little girl, get the early training she demands. In no time, she has grown into a young woman more powerful than even she could imagine. And, all the while, this phase of Diana’s life, comes across not as merely backstory but as essential. Most importantly, there is a sense of urgency and suspense. In a different era, not too long ago (not exactly over with), this depiction of a female paradise could have easily fallen prey to titillation. More harmful than any supervillain, that would have been the worst sucker punch Wonder Woman could have endured.
So, let me jump to my big point. I went to see this movie with my 21-year-old daughter. She was not really all that aware of the Wonder Woman TV show, starring Lynda Carter. I tried to explain that it was part of its era, the ’70s, and less enlightened. It was too easy to make Wonder Woman a sex symbol for that show. And my daughter quickly picked up on that and said she appreciated how this new Wonder Woman was not sexualized in that way. I also mentioned that I have read more than one account, over the years, of women claiming to have been inspired as little girls by the spinning Lynda Carter did on the show to magically transform into a superhero. Girls would spin and spin and spin. Again, my daughter picked up on that. She said she was more interested in Gal Gadot’s impressive Taekwondo kicks. I am sure that Lynda Carter would understand.
“Wonder Woman” offers a whole new way for girls to be inspired. They no longer have to just spin and spin and spin. What a remarkable job this movie does in playing catch-up. Had a movie just like this come out in Lynda Carter’s heyday, it would have been hailed as nothing short of revolutionary. Superman and Batman movies have dominated the pop culture landscape for decades having left a Wonder Woman movie at a considerable disadvantage. How this movie overcomes that, with a genuinely inspiring main character, clearly demonstrates that there is a demand of strong and powerful female characters. In fact, the revolution continues and this movie manages to depict Wonder Woman as leading the way.
“Wonder Woman” is distributed by Warner Bros. Visit the official Wonder Woman movie site right here.
22 responses to “Movie Review: WONDER WOMAN”
Great review! I really enjoyed Wonder Woman as well. The best DC Comics movie that I’ve seen in ages!
I went in expecting something good and was not disappointed at all. It holds up well considering this has got to be one of the most scrutinized popular movies right up there with a Star Wars movie.
Me too. It had so much potential, I was worried it might not live up to expectations, but Wonder Woman was great. A really exciting movie, great cast, and some awesome action sequences 🙂
Agreed. Warner Bros. waited much too long. But you can’t argue with good timing. It led to Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. And it led to a strong script.
Indeed, Gal Gadot was superb as Wonder Woman / Diana, The film really did this classic comic book character justice.
Warner Bros. had to finally deliver–and they did.
Thank you! I’m happy that you liked it!
I need encouragement to see any superhero film, and you’ve provided it! Glad to hear that the film is of high quality and especially that it’s such a success. Maybe this will get the attention of movie execs. I remember the TV show. As a girl, I didn’t realize that Wonder Woman was sexualized. I just thought that she was a good, kind, and powerful woman! I admired her, and also “The Bionic Woman.” Probably those shows were not truly feminist, but it didn’t matter–I definitely got a feminist message from them.
I definitely see your point. I think that TV execs back then walked a fine line in order to create something that would appeal to kids and adults. They got to have it both ways in that context. I would have to conclude that the ’70s Wonder Woman model would be laughed at today in a major motion picture. That said, I do recall the TV show having an overall wholesome tone.
Yes, I think it was a “family” series but with the subtext of Lynda’s famous costume, and the way she would tie men up with her lasso 🙂
It was Wonder Woman’s original creator, William Moulton Marston, who came up with the fetish background. So, it has always been a tricky thing with how to deal with that. I think the consensus is that the general public has a better intuition on this character. Gloria Steinem embraced the public perception of a positive icon and put Wonder Woman on the cover of Ms. magazine in 1972. The general readership, and women in particular, have tried their best to take ownership of Wonder Woman by expressing how they view the character.
She has something for everyone, LOL
Indeed. That’s a good way to look at it.
I really loved this movie 🙂 Gal Gadot was simply amazing.
As a 25 year old I too am not familiar with the older Wonder Woman but I think we can all appreciate her and realize times have changed (for the better, I hope!)
It’s also nice to see so many ladies who still remember being inspired by Lynda Carter. A true icon!
Agreed! Lynda Carter has much to be proud of.
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Awesome review Henry, I especially liked the fact you’re daughter picked up on the fact that this version of WW was not sexualised. That’s what’s so great about the film – she’s a hero and person in her own right. I also thought it was pretty well balanced in it’s tone, it was serious when it needed to be, exciting when called for and fun in the right places without undermining the drama…Marvel Studios could actually learn a thing or two there!
It’s funny how we’ve gotten to this point where studios keep delving deeper into things that would have only concerned comic book publishers–and coming up with similar results. The Wonder Woman movie demanded everyone’s A-game. We see that same temporary sense of urgency run thru cycles in comics. Wonder Woman’s promising shiny star finally dims when she joins ranks with The Justice League. And there is an inevitable return to focusing on Batman and Superman, even if a Wonder Woman feature proved to be tip-top entertainment.