If the DC extended universe has so far been left lacking when compared to rival Marvel’s arsenal of Avengers, Iron Man, Captain America et al, Wonder Woman is the one that should finally give them bragging rights over Marvel, with a hero flick that lives up to its name.
Forget Catwoman’s kitsch or Gamora’s green-skinned goofiness in Guardians Of The Galaxy, Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman stands, defiantly, alone. Before she becomes wondrous, we meet the young Diana Prince – daughter of Queen Hippolyta and a Princess of the Amazons – in warrior training with her aunt, General Antiope (Robin Wright), on the mythical island of Themyscira. Diana’s convinced her destiny is to defeat Ares, the god of war. So when Chris Pine’s American spy pilot Steve Trevor crash lands on her sheltered paradise, with German troops in pursuit, two worlds collide.
“I used to want to save the world. A beautiful place… But I knew so little then. It’s full of darkness inside,” she says, as she awakens to reality. They’re ominous words from a heroine devoid of Batman’s angst, as we journey back 100 years to the Great War via a mythical realm. Her mission might be another variation on that trusty ‘save the world’ theme but, with shades of the first Captain America, the genuine sense of jeopardy triggered by a real-life war setting puts gender to one side as Earth’s saviour battles the evil that men do, questing to end their corruption at the hands of Ares.
Director Patty Jenkins – the filmmaker behind the Oscar-winning Monster – delivers a melee of awesome action sequences. In one of the film’s standout scenes, Diana and her crew (including Trainspotting’s Spud, Ewen Bremner, as a war-beaten sniper) are pinned back by enemy fire in a trench on the Western Front. A bullet-dodging, balletic display of ass-kicking ensues. It’s a real jaw-dropper and Gadot absolutely nails it.
The inevitable face-off with Ares reveals a neat twist – prepare for a finale fused with emotional heft. If you’ve been suffering from superhero fatigue, Wonder Woman will restore your faith in the genre with DC’s best effort since The Dark Knight, in turn ramping up expectations for the forthcoming Justice League.
Wonder Woman is in cinemas now