WONDER WOMAN | fivethreeninety

I left the cinema yesterday BURSTING with JOY at how INCREDIBLE THAT FILM WAS. I’m not joking – Wonder Woman is sensational.

After the train wrecks that were Batman vs. Superman & Suicide Squad, I was praying that the please made this one at least a bit good. No need to worry though, because it exceeded all expectations & more, & made me straight up emotional at how fantastic it was.

 

Gal Gadot reprises the titular role after her part being the best bit about Batman vs Superman, & stars in her stand alone film alongside Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Lucy Davis with Patty Jenkins as director. Yes, that’s a FEMALE DIRECTOR OF A HUGE BLOCKBUSTER FILM. About bloody time.

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Can I just say that Patty Jenkins has done an outstanding job of this too. Her passion for this project is tangible in every element of the film & I long to see more of her work. 

It’s not your typical superhero origin story, because she’s not your typical superhero.

The first twenty minutes is entirely free of male characters & it really is a joy to watch this incredible island of strong & amazing women uninterrupted for so long – I want an entire film just about them. We hear their stories & their legends then enter Chris Pine as Captain Steve Trevor, who crash lands onto the hidden island & is rescued by Diana in a very Little Mermaid style fashion. He tells her about the war ongoing in the world, & Diana, sure she knows how to help, leaves with him to fight.

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The film introduces a lot of characters & all of them are great.

Diana is the epitome of a hero. She cared about every single person & doesn’t ignore them to focus on the bigger picture of her missions.  Gadot described her as having “many strengths and powers, but at the end of the day she’s a woman with a lot of emotional intelligence” & that is very true.

Yes she is the sole woman in her squad, but she is the leader undoubtedly & unquestionably. Where Black Widow is the one thrown into the group for female representation, Wonder Woman is the reason the group is there & they know she’s the one with power.

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I’ve seen a lot of… not criticism, but ‘honesty’ shared about Gal Gadot’s performance & in truth, while she isn’t Oscar worthy she is Wonder Woman down to the core. She was born for this role & wears it like a glove, in every scene, emotion & moment.

Her presense is amazing & you are drawn to her in every shot. She is utterly captivating & plays every aspect of Diana perfectly; her strength, passion, vulnerability, confusion, humbleness, curiosity & downright fearlessness.

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Antiope is the cool Aunt everyone wants. She’s sister to the Queen & leader of the army & is the greatest warrior on the island. Robin Wright is literally flawless & amazing in the role. 

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Diana’s mother & Queen of Themyscira, is Hippolyta. She’s a loving mother & leader who tends to deny harsh truths & is a little bit ‘tough love’, but her heart is in the right place.I admit I’ve never seen Connie Nielsen in anything before but I will be looking out for her again because she played strong Queen perfectly.

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Steve Trevor is my new favourite love interest. He’s treated like a good Bond girl whilst still being a hero – he’s naked within his first ten minutes of screen time. Steve is a bit of rebel, but only for what he believes is right. Chris Pine is the only man for the job – he’s charming, gorgeous & totally respects that this film is not about him.
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Lucy Davis is wonderfully sweet as Trevor’s secretary, Etta Candy. She’s not in it for much but then she couldn’t really logistically, but she is perfect & would steal the scenes totally if she weren’t alongside such greats. I love her to bits.
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Then there’s Diana’s soldier squad: Sameer, Charlie & Chief. They’re all allies of Steve’s that he already knows are a) good at what they do & b) stupid enough to join him. 

  • Saïd Taghmaoui plays Sameer, a secret agent who is a master of disguise with a passion for acting. 
  • Ewen Bremner is Charlie, a sharpshooter who suffers from PTSD, who’s a bit of a drinker with a lovely voice.
  • Eugene Brave Rock is Chief, a guy who trades with both sides of the war & knows how to get people across the front lines.

Their blessing is given by Sir Patrick Morgan, a speaker for peace on the Imperial War Cabinet, played by David Thewlis. He’s really cool & mysterious.

The bad guys inevitably are evil German soldiers. The head honcho is General Ludendorff played by Danny Huston. He’s typical bad guy German General, but I found his associate Doctor Isabel Maru (affectionately known to the enemy as Doctor Poison) way cooler. She’s a classic bad guy trope, with a burnt face & porcelain mask to cover it, but she’s fleshed out in a really intriguing way –  I think that’s more due to Elena Anaya’s performance than the writing. I do wish they’d given more time to her character, & making her more of an individual than just a devoted follower of Ludendorff.

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There is one more bad guy: Ares. He’s the one Diana searches for, following her culture’s stories of all evil being his cause. I won’t go too much into him to save the spoilers, but what happens isn’t expected.
Lets talk about this diversity: obviously yes, it is a female fronted film (yay!); there is a full island of powerful women & a cool female sidekick in the real world; but what’s great is the diversity in ethnicities. The Amazonian’s are played by an amazing group of women that range from boxers to models, including Mayling Ng, Florence Kasumba, Madeleine Vall Beijner, Ann Wolfe, Doutzen Kroes & Samantha Jo.
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The main squad of lads even consist of a Scottish guy, a Moroccan guy, a Native American guy & ONE WHITE AMERICAN DUDE. They even address the fact that Native Americans were slaughtered by white people.
The writing is really good. It feels taken seriously, & there is this underlying tone of importance beneath everything. There’s a lot of comedy alongside the sincerity which feels genuine, not forced. It also comes from everyone, not just the one comedic relief character with a couple of one liners every now & then. Diana herself has some brilliantly funny moments, most notably her frankness discussing her knowledge of sexual pleasure & men’s role in it towards the start (spoiler, they’re not necessary).
The greatest thing is that it’s consistent – there’s no scenes that feel out of place. Any that feel a little bit questionable are more than likely ones taken directly from moments in the comics.

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The cinematography is really gorgeous. The colouring is all bright, beautiful & crisp in  Themyscira, then as soon as Diana hits the ‘real’ world it’s grey & dull, with her as this bright & powerful woman right in the middle of it as it’s ray of hope. There are some excellent wide shots, particularly on the island that you could frame & hang in your house, & then loads of stunning slow motion shots of the Amazon women (Diana included) doing amazing stunts in battle.
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The costumes are stunning & I want them all. They’re designed by Lindy Hemming, who’s career spans three decades & includes DC’s greatest trilogy series The Dark Knight (2005-2012). There’s gorgeous costuming for all the characters that show individuality whilst maintaining the era’s dress, but really it’s the Amazon’s that showcase Hemming’s extraordinary talents. The costumes are strong but feminine, armor & attire that gives the wearer freedom to move – this means a lot of thigh high leg slits & it looks incredible. What I really like is how Diana just looks like another Amazon – they all, like her, have arm cuffs & the like. Hello to all those Amazonian hairstyles too – I’m now going to grow my hair out really long & alternate between braids & big natural curls everyday.

The iconic Wonder Woman costume is similar to, if not the same as the one seen in last year’s Batman vs Superman which I have always loved. It’s like a real version of the one from the comics that actually looks like something a warrior would wear. There was lots of complaint when it was originally released that it lacked the classic bright red, blue & gold colouring but come on – why was an Amazon who originated in Greece even dressed in the colours of the American flag in the first place.

And those complaining that Wonder Woman isn’t really feminist because she wears a revealing outfit: get over it. Most people have legs, it’s really not a secret – & Diana fights with her. She’s a warrior.

And in relation to the direction & the cinematography – the camera doesn’t ever linger over Diana’s exposed skin – which is bad we have to celebrate that, but progress nonetheless.

The stunt choreography is amazing. There’s 126 people in total who helped make the stunts come to life & it really payed off because they are stunning, the precision of them, especially those from Amazon’s (on horseback might I add) is incredible.
The music is great, very atmospheric & empowering but of course the best bit is the Wonder Woman theme “Is She With You?” from her introduction in Batman vs Superman.
The only downsides? They don’t actually ever call her Wonder Woman, which is a bit weird. But then that also sets her aside from other superheros; there isn’t a big reveal moment when ‘Wonder Woman’ is born – because it’s just Diana doing what she does.

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The most important thing though is what this represents. This is the first major stand alone female superhero blockbuster movie, & it’s ridiculous that it took this long. But having it here now is incredible.

And people watching this – from little girls to old men, will see that difference.

In a world where women’s rights are being obliterated & violated every single day even by world leaders, this film makes it feel like we can win.

Wonder Woman is in cinemas worldwide now.


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