Finally! It would seem illogical, not only morally but financially as well, that female protagonists would be left out of today’s blockbusters. Females make up more than half the world’s population, film tickets for women are the same price as those for men, and yet why keep their characters relegated? It makes me so happy then that in today’s social climate, we finally begin to crack this sexist standard with the incredibly enjoyable Wonder Woman.
Wonder Woman is the third film in the DC Extended Universe but takes place before both Man of Steel and Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. We start off in the mythical Amazonian island of Themyscira where the female warriors are living a peaceful life. The Princess of the Amazons, Diana (Gal Gadot) saves a downed pilot off the coast of their island. This pilot, Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) is a soldier fighting in World War I. Diana, spurred for her desire of justice follows Steve back to Europe to fight the Germans, and more importantly: Ares, God of War, who is spurring the German forces.
Apart from Wonder Woman being a breakthrough for women all over the film industry, it also is able to stand alone as a good superhero film. Granted the story does have a generic ‘origin story’ feel throughout, it is able to hit the charming aspects of the genre that made the likes of Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man and Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man such fun. That isn’t to say we even go to the heights of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, but then again I doubt any movie in the near future will be able to. The backdrop of World War I provides ample situations of sexism that can then be turned on their heads by Diana; such as the men constantly telling her to “keep back” and her saving them more than once, and one particularly inspiring moment where she leads the charge in the Hague onto ‘no-man’s-land.’
Gadot’s casting as Wonder Woman was criticized at first by many, claiming that the former model wouldn’t be able to pull her weight; but her subsequent appearance in Batman v. Superman showed that she is more than capable at wielding onscreen charisma. In her stand-alone film she brings back the leadership and strength that kept the audience wanting more, and in fact, by the end of the movie you’re still left with an insatiable hunger. That feeling is something increasingly rare in the oversaturation of superhero movies today, giving Gadot all the more credit. The other standout for the film was Pine, who handles the comedic aspect of the film with an expert hand; you could almost see the role of Steve Trevor becoming small on him. After his appearance in last year’s Hell or Highwater Pine has been growing as a quality actor, and it’s exemplified in his dominance of roles in blockbusters.
So in the end, director Patty Jenkins was able to produce a fine superhero origin story, of the like that isn’t seen much today. Gadot’s charisma and Pine’s flair make Wonder Woman an incredibly fun time, and place another crack on that wretched glass ceiling.