Released: June 1st 2017
When a strange package arrives from Bruce Wayne at Diana Prince’s office in the Louvre, Paris, she is thrown back to her memories of a time before high-tech battle suits and alien heroes. Faced with the task of destroying war itself, Wonder Woman is born.
“I used to want to save the world, this beautiful place. But the closer you get, the more you see the great darkness simmering within. I learnt this the hard way, a long, long time ago.” – Diana Prince
It’s been two weeks since Gal Gadot hit our screens as DC‘s ultimate heroine and we here at Machinima SBOC have taken the time to reflect and review our first impressions of Wonder Woman. With the series of recent false starts in the DC reboots, there was a great deal of anxiety surrounding the release of the movie, especially after the years of rumoured Wonder Woman movies from 2005-2013. (Remember when we thought Megan Fox was going to be Wonder Woman? Yikes.)
William Moulston Marston, the creator of both the lie detector test and Wonder Woman (lasso of truth and all) was, after all, a feminist in his own time. However, as the saying goes; behind every great man is a kick-ass woman… or something along those lines anyway. Upon learning of William’s concept for a superhero who fights with love, his wife, Elizabeth, suggested he make her a woman. Epitomising all of the qualities that characteristically led to women being viewed as weak and naive, the Amazonian princess was born.
The movie serves as the origin story for the heroine, who audiences met for the first time in the controversially viewed Batman vs. Superman, and audiences had little hope after other those recent boo-boo’s by Warner Brothers. However, from the onset of the film, there is a true sense of growth – one where Hollywood has finally managed to balance the dark, broodiness of DC against Tinseltown’s need for ‘splosions and cool camera shots.
Opening on the isolated utopia of Themyscira, Diana is the only child among a civilisation of strong women, raised by her mother Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen) and trained by her aunt Antiope (Robin Wright), the greatest warrior in the history of the Amazonian race. Under the steely eyes of her people, Diana grows in strength and power, driven by curiosity, loyalty and faith in humanity, until the day that a surge of soldiers breach the island’s misty shores and open fire upon its inhabitants.
Diana must venture out from the protected shores of her homeland, potentially never to return, and into the depths of the male-dominated early 20th century. Roped – or rather, lassoed, into the literal pits of WWII, she sets course to find what she believes to be the origin of all weakness in mankind – Ares, God of War.
The narrative of the movie is essay-worthy in itself, but there are other dominant elements of the film which have made it successful so far in the box office, one of which being the cinematography. In a way which so many movies, especially within the superhero genre, fail, Wonder Woman succeeds. Juxtaposing the dazzling visuals of Themyscira with the grainy, dim shots of the trenches and encampments in war-torn France, director Patty Jenkins captures not only the brutality of war but the naive expectations Diana holds against the reality of 20th-century warfare. War is no longer the glorious, shining battles of old, but disconnected and filled with fear.
When the movie really goes in hard with the CGI, it doesn’t feel so forced and corny as it may have in previous movies, *cough cough Suicide Squad cough*, finally being used to enhance the movie rather than as a central feature of the aesthetics and action. The same goes for the music, which, thanks to Rupert Gregson-Williams, accompanies the journey of Diana and her cohorts beautifully, enhancing and enriching every scene in which it plays.
It suffices to say that this movie has impressed a majority of people, ourselves included, with its depth of character, growth, and how it taps into some of the most difficult elements of humanity in a way that other superhero universes just can’t. And while it’s true that Diana was made for a purpose, she was not born a hero, nor was she made one by circumstance. She grabbed life by the horns and plunged headfirst into heroism because she god-damn wanted to. That is why 2017’s
Wonder Woman has reminded us all of the characters powerful and progressive origins. Deeply humane, morally challenging and dazzling in so many ways, we hope this movie serves to re-shape the future of DC.