‘Wonder Woman”s detail, realism impress sophomore wary of superhero movies (trailer included)
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There is only one word that can describe “Wonder Woman”: awesome. From the epic battlefield scenes to the stunning sets and brilliant casting, this movie was unlike any I have seen before.
“Wonder Woman,” directed by Patty Jenkins (the first female director of a studio superhero movie), is based on the DC comic books of the same name and focuses on the adventures of Princess Diana – daughter of Hippolyta, queen of the Amazons – better known as Wonder Woman.
The film begins by showing Diana (Gal Gadot) 100 years after World War I working at the Louvre, receiving a photograph of herself as Wonder Woman. In it, we see her in front of a destroyed church, standing next to four men.
The photograph brings back many memories, and Diana recalls how she became Wonder Woman.
First she focuses on her childhood. She grows up on the Mediterranean island of Themyscira, the home of the Amazons, hidden by Zeus in a bubble so no intruders may ever find it.
Young Diana is constantly torn between the wishes of her two parental figures. Her mother, Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen), wants to protect her by never allowing her to train like the other Amazons, while her aunt, Antiope (Robin Wright), believes the only way to protect Diana is to have her become stronger than every other Amazon.
Ultimately, Antiope wins the argument, and Diana becomes a skilled fighter. She also has superhuman strength, speed and longevity, though she is not yet aware of these advantages.
She beats every Amazon, and in her final battle, in which she triumphs over her aunt, Diana finally discovers her gifts. She wounds her aunt and is so ashamed that she runs away to a cliff.
There she sees a World War I soldier crash his plane through Zeus’s bubble, landing in the nearby ocean.
Swimming after the plane, Diana rescues Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), a spy for the Allies. He later is pursued by a group of German soldiers in boats who battle the Amazons on the beach. The Amazons win but realize the advanced weaponry of the Germans can put them in great peril.
Steve is interrogated and informs the Amazons about World War I. They believe the war is the work of Ares, the Greek god of war.
Diana wants to stop the war by going to the battlefield with Steve and killing Ares using the Godkiller, a weapon designed by Zeus to aid the Amazons if Ares starts a great war again. However, Diana’s mother bans her from doing so.
Yet Diana sails to London with Steve. The two then travel to the Trenches of Veld, Belgium, hoping to finally stop the war and restore the good in all humanity.
“Wonder Woman” is the first DC movie I’ve seen. I usually do not enjoy violent movies and am thus reluctant to see any superhero film.
However, “Wonder Woman” went above and beyond my expectations. Though there are many on-screen deaths, the beautiful score, composed by Rupert Gregson-Williams, and the cinematography give these scenes a feeling that is more like a Renaissance painting than a violent battle. There is much more richness in these scenes than I expected.
For example, a scene in which Diana runs across No Man’s Land to the German trenches could have been filled with shouting and fighting from both Diana and the Germans. Instead, it shows only Diana herself with no sound except for the soundtrack. Diana noiselessly deflects bullets and explosions and glides across No Man’s Land with such ease, she seems almost angelic.
Although the score and camera angles were quite impressive, what I really enjoyed about “Wonder Woman” was the amount of detail. Every aspect of the movie is accurate, from the clothes of the masses in London and Diane’s impressive weaponry to the accents of the Amazons and the languages spoken (in a scene in Veld, a few lines of the movie are spoken in Flemish, the Dutch spoken in Belgium, which I, a native Dutch speaker, really enjoyed).
Even the more magical aspects of the film, like Diana’s armor defying every type of bullet, seemed extremely realistic due to the fantastic computer-generated imagery.
The film alluded to the original Superman comics and movies too, since Diana’s disguise resembles Clark Kent’s.
And, yes, the movie is quite long (two hours and 21 minutes), but viewers are immediately drawn into the story.
The first scene compels viewers to ask many questions – What happened to Wonder Woman? Who took this photograph? Why? Where? Who are those people next to her? Why isn’t she saving the world anymore? Diana’s elaborate backstory, including references to Greek myths, will delight viewers and inspire curiosity.
There wasn’t a single moment in the movie when I wasn’t eager to find out what would happen next.
But what I loved most about “Wonder Woman” was Wonder Woman herself.
Diana is, of course, strong and powerful, but she is also completely uninformed about the world she is fighting in. She has only very basic knowledge about human interactions – enough for her to survive, but not enough for her to fit in.
For example, Diana knows English, as well as every other language on Earth, but doesn’t know the fashion of 1915, causing her to stand out in crowds.
Her struggle in our world makes her more real and relatable for viewers, and her perpetual shock when faced with the cruelty of humans, even though she was brought up in a culture focused on fighting and defense, makes them think about human flaws.
And that’s not the only time Diana makes viewers think about the faults in our society.
“Wonder Woman” shows the disadvantages Diana has because she is a woman: she is banned from attending government meetings, not taken seriously because of her looks and underestimated on the battlefield. Seeing Diana overcome these obstacles makes the movie even more inspiring.
Director Jenkins even ensured Diana’s physical movements were realistic. When Diana performs a “superhero landing” (landing on one knee) viewers could clearly see Diana’s thigh muscles move instead of an edited clip in which Gal Gadot’s muscles appear to be still.
In addition, her relationship with Steve doesn’t define her or the plot, which is very refreshing.
Even though she loses so many people she cares about, Diana still chooses to be good. She is a wonderful role model for any girl.
Moreover, “Wonder Woman” isn’t afraid to let Diana have fun. Though she faces immense challenges, the enthusiasm, kindness and eagerness Diana maintains throughout the movie keep the film light.
Diana has many different aspects of her personality, and Gadot conveys all of them beautifully.
And she isn’t the only realistic and layered character in the movie – nearly every character who appears on screen for a few minutes and has lines, from Steve’s assistant Etta Candy (Lucy Davis) to Doctor Poison (Elena Anaya), is multifaceted.
I hope everyone has a chance to see “Wonder Woman.”
—By Héloïse Schep