Wonder Woman review – glass ceiling still intact as Gal Gadot reduced to weaponised Smurfette

Wonder Woman review – glass ceiling still intact as Gal Gadot reduced to weaponised Smurfette

Wonder Woman

2 /
5 stars

Hopes for DC’s plan to deliver a shot of oestrogen to the superhero movie are disappointed in a silly plot that enlists Diana of Themyscira to help win the first world war

War effort … Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman in the trenches.
Photograph: Clay Enos/Warner Bros/AP

Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman review – glass ceiling still intact as Gal Gadot reduced to weaponised Smurfette

2 /
5 stars

Hopes for DC’s plan to deliver a shot of oestrogen to the superhero movie are disappointed in a silly plot that enlists Diana of Themyscira to help win the first world war

Those hoping a shot of oestrogen would generate a new kind of comic-book movie – and revive DC’s faltering movie universe – might need to lower their expectations. Like many people out there, I had no shortage of excitement and goodwill towards this female-led superhero project, but in the event it’s plagued by the same problems that dragged down previous visits to the DC movie world: over-earnestness, bludgeoning special effects, and a messy, often wildly implausible plot. What promised to be a glass-ceiling-smashing blockbuster actually looks more like a future camp classic.
Things begin well enough, as our heroine, Diana (nobody ever calls her Wonder Woman), casts her mind back to her childhood on Themyscira, the hidden island of the Amazons. This tribe of athletic, leather-clad female warriors live in a bubble of classical antiquity, oblivious to the opposite sex and the first world war that rages outside. Diana’s mother, Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen), explains the mythology to her with the aid of a sort of ancient Greek iPad: how the Amazons were created by Zeus to resist Ares, the god of war (who is still at large), and how she sculpted Diana from clay – which you can believe when she grows up to be statuesque Israeli actor Gal Gadot. Confusingly, Diana later explains that “men are essential for procreation but when it comes to pleasure, unnecessary”.

Wonder Woman trailer: trailer for DC superhero film – video
Before we can ponder the finer details of this Sapphic utopia, though, the menfolk literally crash the party. A plane piloted by an American spy (Chris Pine) plunges into the sea, a flotilla of Germans close behind. After one of the most agreeably bizarre action scenes ever staged – a beachfront battle-of-the-sexes between men with guns and pirouetting women with bows and arrows – Diana is compelled to enter “the world of men” and stop the war, aided by her sword, shield and magic lasso.
It really is the world of men. Arriving in London, Diana is bewildered by her sisters’ subjugation, not to mention their impractical attire. Lucy Davis provides some comic relief and female companionship, but moustaches bristle when Diana attempts to join in the men-only war meetings. What’s worse, Pine repeatedly sees fit to call the shots and boss her about, despite the fact that she’s clearly his physical and intellectual superior. This gender imbalance could have been the basis for some patriarchy-upending subversion, or at least some romcom sparks, but both avenues go unexplored. Instead, the film feels obliged to give Pine his own equally heroic story arc. Men might be unnecessary for pleasure, but they’re still essential for big-budget action movies, it seems.
They pick up three more males on their way to the front: an Arab, a Scot and a Native American. If it feels like the setup to a joke, the punchline never arrives. By the time this ragtag league of nations reaches the trenches, poor Diana has been reduced to a weaponised Smurfette. The modish action sequences jerk between speeded-up and slowed-down to catch every detail of her defence-based fighting style and flawless, mud-free complexion. She fixes the war in a matter of minutes. Think what might have been avoided if she’d turned up a few years earlier!

Fight them on the beaches … Robin Wright as Antiope in Wonder Woman. Photograph: Warner Bros/AP
But there’s something rather distasteful about co-opting trench warfare as the backdrop to a sanitised, hyper-stylised fantasy. I couldn’t help thinking of Kendall Jenner’s disastrous “protest chic” Pepsi ad. And when Gadot is called upon to communicate the horrors of war moments later, reeling around dazed and confused in a haze of orange poison gas, it’s a moment of Zoolander-esque silliness that brings home how weightless the whole story has become. Gadot is entirely credible as the embodiment of Amazonian perfection, but there’s only so much emotion her concerted brow-furrowing can convey.
Yes, yes, I know: “It’s only a comic-book movie.” And on the level of big-budget trash, Wonder Woman is great fun. But there were hopes for something more. Perhaps there were too many rewrites and personnel changes (director Patty Jenkins was drafted in after the first choice left; while all five credited writers and eight of the 10 producers are male). Perhaps DC struggled to find territory arch-rivals Marvel hadn’t already claimed. They covered the mythical-deity-out-of-water angle with Thor, and the superhero-joins-the-war-effort with Captain America. In Wonder Woman, they had something none of their rivals had – a bona-fide brand-name female superhero – but in trying to work out what to do with her, they seem to have lost their way. She journeys from a land without men and winds up stranded in no man’s land.



To read the full article visit The Guardian – Film

Wonder Woman review – glass ceiling still intact as Gal Gadot reduced to weaponised Smurfette