We didn’t comprehend the gravity of having not just any woman, but the Wonder Woman, come to the rescue of a duo of the most powerful superheroes on the planet in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, but Patty Jenkin‘s latest DC comic live-action film, featuring newcomer Gal Gadot as the lasso of truth and Amazon-armour weilding femme fatale affirms the brevity of the most iconic heroine in the Universe.
‘Wonder Woman‘ is just bashful of 2 hours and 30 minutes, and the first time I got to watch it, which was at a Media Premiere put together by regional film distributors Crimson Multimedia, a new video on-demand platform called My Choice TV and ANGA IMAX, I did not have the time to complete it. I was back three days after my vacation to finish what I had started, and made sure I caught a glimpse of what had started out as a spectacular work of art and action.
In an interview on the Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Gal Gadot admitted that after countless failed attmempts at an acting debut on the silver screen, she was on the verge of giving up hope on a career in Hollywood. It was on a final trip back home to Israel when she received a call from producer Zack Snyder about a ‘secret role’ that would change her life forever, and a year later, she’s arguably the most famous actress in the World thanks to the raving success of the DCEU superheroine debut that’s smashing Box Offices across the globe. And as if featuring in Dawn of Justice wasn’t enough, we’ll be seeing Gadot again in the last quarter of 2017 in Justice League.
‘Wonder Woman’ starts off with Diana Prince (played by Gadot) passing by a Wayne Industries armoured truck into her office in a city that resembles London. There she finds an old photograph, which may be familiar from ‘Dawn of Justice’, of her and a group of WW1 veterans, coupled with a note from Bruce Wayne claiming he found and preserved the original just for her, asking her for the truth about her origins.
It’s there that we are transported to the magical island of Themyscira, cloaked from the envious eyes of man by the god Zeus himself, after a cataclysmic battle that saw him deal a mighty blow to the god of War, Aries, who after killing the other gods, had solely corrupted the hearts of human beings in his jealousy. You see; as vices such as hate, jealousy and violence corrupted the souls of men, Zeus chose to create the Amazons, a crop of beautiful yet strong women who would be tasked with preserving humanity, and also hid the only weapon on Earth that would be powerful enough to defeat Aries, should he strike again.
Diana Prince, or more accurately Diana, Princess of Themyscira, daughter of Queen Hyppolita (played by Connie Nielsen), grew up as the only child on the island, trained by the Queen’s right hand General Antiope (played by Robin Wright), to become the strongest of the Amazons, in wonder, power and grace. For centuries the tribe had been oblivious to the regression of the situation on the planet, tucked away in their stunningly beautiful paradise, until the realities of the First World War came knocking in the form of Captain Steve Trevor (played by Chris Pine) who crash-landed on Themyscira, followed by the axis powers of a German battalion that caught the Amazons off-guard, but still armed and dangerous.
We are then treated to a stylized choreography of a well-oiled fighting contingent of Amazonians who have been ready for war all their lives, fighting with beauty and grace and thorough execution. In the melee, Diana loses her mentor but gains her purpose in life, that she must confront Aries and protect the lives of the innocent.
Grabbing what she believes is the godkiller, a sword that can kill the god of War, and her lasso of truth, she treads the tumultous waters of the open ocean, which I believe must be the Atlantic, towards London in order for Steve to deliver some vital intelligence to his superiors so that they can go to the Front where Wonder Woman can face the arch-enemy and end the War.
Along the way, Diana and Steve fall in love, an attraction that keeps them focused on their mission, yet distracted for the want of protecting each other. Diana knows that she must accomplish her only mission in life, even though she comes to terms with how corrupted society has become with dishonesty and pretence, things which seems simple to us but are complex to Amazonians who have been encapsuled away for centuries.
One of the most interesting characters happened to by Steve’s secretary Etta Candy (played by Lucy Davies), a delightfully chirpy yet efficient British woman who achieves her tasks with poignant efficiency and is not short of humour and wit.
Also of wonder is the ease with which the producer Patty Jenkins managed to develop the characters and their critical relationships so well, which I believe is the core reason the film is so long. It’s a journey as long as a Lord of the Rings episode, but which doesn’t feel as arduous or elongated. ‘Wonder Woman’ is an action and adventure film masked as a romance and drama, soldering juxtaposed elements such as femininity and brevity with love and the sordid realities of world wars.
In the end, Diana must strip herself of all reservations and personal fears, and embrace her destiny fully, in order to overcome an unexpected foe and save humanity from its semi-self inflicted affliction.
‘Wonder Woman’ is a bold introduction to the superheroine who is so important to the balance of the testesterone-driven male dominated cast of the Justice League that will set a precedent for DC Comics films at least for the next decade.
**While I watched it in IMAX, ‘Wonder Woman’ is showing across cinemas in Kenya: ANGA, Century Cinemax, Planetmedia, Nyali Cinemax and FOX beginning June 2nd