Thursday, June 8, 2017

The Rise of the Warrior Princess: My Review of Wonder Woman

When was the last time you saw a film that is led by a superheroine? Probably in 2005 since it is the year when Elektra, the last female-led superhero film, was released. Now, after nearly two decades, we're finally getting another superheroine movie. This time, our heroine is not just another comic book character. In fact, she is probably the most popular female superhero ever. Yup, she is Princess Diana of Themyscira aka the wonderful Wonder Woman.

After being introduced to the audience in Batman vs Superman, Wonder Woman is finally getting her own movie. This movie features Diana's origin story, which has never been explored in other films before. Set in the era of World War I, Princess Diana lives peacefully with her people (who are all women) in an uncharted island that is hidden from mankind. Young Diana grows into a warrior who has the desire to use her powers to help and save the world. When a man named Steve Trevor accidentally lands on her island and tells her about the terrible war that is going on outside her island, Diana can't resist her desire and decides to go to the war and fulfill her destiny.

Wonder Woman and her gang
Wonder Woman is directed by Patty Jenkins with (the insanely beautiful and gorgeous) Gal Gadot playing the titular role. Chris Pine plays Diana's love interest Steve Trevor. Connie Nielsen, Robin Wright and David Thewlis also have supporting roles in this film.

Before I start elaborating my thoughts about this movie, I would like to let you know that this review contains spoiler. There are some important revelations in the film that majorly affect my opinions about it so I just have to talk about them.

Before I saw Wonder Woman, I expected the film to be so focused on the fact that its lead is a woman. I thought seeing this movie would make me want to go back to my Muay Thai sessions and kick some ass. However, things turned out to be a little different. Wonder Woman doesn't emphasize on the fact that Diana is a female hero. Instead, it focuses more on the fact that she is a human being who has such a pure, innocent heart. Just like Patty Jenkins said, this film is a about a hero trying to be a hero. I adore this because it shows that women are just human beings who, just like men, have their own journey, can be strong, experience loss, are able to love, can be consumed by anger, etc. She is such a universal character that can make everyone, whether they are men or women, feel related to her. Her story shows that, no matter who you are, a man or a woman, you can be heroes as long as you have it in you. If you're strong, then you're strong and your gender shouldn't affect that fact. I think this is a great and important message to deliver because, based on my experience, people still tend to see other human beings based on their gender. For example, when a man has a successful career, he will be seen as someone who is admirable and desirable, especially by women. In contrast, when the one who has a successful career is a woman, she will be seen as an intimidating figure by men. I think that needs to change, and this film helps bring that change.

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One of the most badass moments from the movie
I spoke to some of my friends about the movie and they think it takes too much time telling Diana's backstory, which makes them feel a bit bored when watching the film. I agree that this film really takes its time to build the characters, but I disagree that it makes the film feel boring. In fact I'm happy with that. I'm glad that the story isn't rushed and that they didn't give Diana the costume and make her Wonder Woman right at the beginning of the film. Her backstory allowed me to understand her and made her debut as Wonder Woman feel monumental because, at that moment, I felt like I've known her and had a connection with her. It's also great that they don't put too many references from other superhero films in the DC Extended Universe here, like many other superhero films these days. It's her movie, so yeah, let her shine! Bruce Wayne and his gang from Justice League can wait until their movie comes out.

Playing such an iconic character is not an easy task, but Gal Gadot did that phenomenally in Wonder Woman. She is the perfect person to play Diana. As her co-stars state, she is a combination of beauty, tenderness, intelligence and strength, just like Diana herself. Those qualities that she possesses shine through her performance in the movie, which makes the character even more lovable. Chris Pine, who plays Steve Trevor, also wins my heart. I was truly devastated to see his character (SPOILER ALERT) gets killed at the end. I know his death gives depth to his relationship with Diana, but seeing Chris Pine die was just painful hahaha. Gal and Chris have great chemistry as well. Seeing them learn from each other is just really sweet. However, the best thing about their relationship for me is the way Steve supports Diana embrace her powers. He surely always tries to be a gentleman, but he also lets her stop a bullet for him, go attacking their enemies before he does and save the world because he knows she is capable of doing all of that. He doesn't get intimidated by Diana's awesomeness but adores her for that instead. I just wish there are more men like Steve in real life hahaha.

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Steve' reaction when Diana asks him to stay back
The only thing about this film that I don't like is what they do to end the Ares story. (SPOILER ALERT) When Diana gets startled by the fact that the war doesn't stop even though she has killed Ludendorff, the man she assumed is Ares, the moment is perfect. It really sends the message that Steve also tries to tell Diana; that Ares doesn't really exist and lives in the dark parts of people's hearts instead. I think it's a really deep message. However, the embodiment of Ares suddenly appears in the form of David Thewlis after that. I love David Thewlis but I think his character really ruins the message. The great thing about the climax is that they separate Diana's battle against Ares and Steve and his gang's battle against the Germans. So Diana fights in her own battle of the Gods while Steve saves the day from human-made deadly gas.

The blog post is getting too long, so I think I'll stop here haha. The conclusion is, I think Wonder Woman is great. Maybe it's not for everyone, as some people find it boring and weird, but I still think it's great.

Rating : 4/5

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