Film: “Wonder Woman”; Director: Patty Jenkins; Cast: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Connie Nielsen, David Thewlis, Danny Huston, Elena Anaya, Ewen Bremner, Lucy Davis, Said Taghmaoui, Eugene Brave Rock, Lilly Aspell, Lisa Loven Kongsli, Ann J. Wolfe, Ann Ogbomo and Emily Carey; Rating: ****
Accepting a new superhero has always been a challenge, but nevertheless one has been waiting for Wonder Woman ever since her first appearance in last year’s “Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice”.
In a time when superheroes in their cinematic universe are packed in dim, edgy and action-packed turmoil, “Wonder Woman” — with her totally emotionally charged avatar — is a pleasant surprise.
The tale provided by Allan Heinberg, Zack Snyder and Jason Fuchs is an origin story and the first live-action film of Princess Diana, the Wonder Woman based on the character from DC Comics which was created by William Moulton Marshton. While it is a tale of discovery, love and honour it is pumped with full of exhilarating action and earnest laughs.
Narrated in an old-fashioned manner, the plot captures Diana’s progress, as she gets trained to her utmost strength by her aunt, the great warrior Antiope, essayed by the ever-agile Robin Wright, from a precocious eight-year-old played by Lilly Aspell to a teen portrayed by Emily Carey to the young woman showcased by Gal Gadot, in the female-dominated island of Themyscira.
But it is when a plane crashes into the ocean, off the shores of Themyscira and Diana rescues the pilot Steve Trevor enacted by Chris Pine that the narrative gathers momentum and goes full throttle into the superhero mode.
The period is during World War I. Steve Trevor, the decoy pilot of the Allied Intelligence, infiltrates a weapons production facility in the Ottoman Empire where the German general Ludendorff, played by Danny Huston, is collaborating with a humanity-hating chemist, renowned as Doctor Poison essayed by Elena Anaya. Steve steals Doctor Poison’s formulas and is on the run when his plane crashes.
Convinced that the war is instigated by Ares — the God of War, Diana persuades her mother the Queen of Themyscira to let her leave and accompany Steve to end the war.
While the story moves smoothly with no references that connect the DC Comics’ extended universe, the first half of the film is interesting and races through. The second half with all the tropes of a superhero film which include the action-packed CGI spectacle gets a bit tedious, but nevertheless engaging.
The film comes alive through Gadot’s performance. She is inherently natural, humane and relatable. Her costumes too are in sync with her character. She brings a wealth of charisma and optimism to her character.
Chris Pine as Steve Trevor, plays second fiddle to Gadot and he adds a good dose of the humour quotient along with Lucy Davis who makes a good impression as his saucy secretary Etta Candy.
None of the villains are noteworthy.
Like any other DC film, this film too is aesthetically and magnificently mounted. Matthew Jensen’s Cinematography and Rupert Gregson-Williams score add the obvious emotional boosters that enrich the viewing experience.