Film Review: Wonder Woman

Tierney Watkinson | News Director

When I sat down in the crowded theatre, ripped ticket in hand and a stash of skittles in my pocket, I’ll admit to feeling some trepidation. Would Wonder Woman exceed my expectations? All I had to go off of was a single trailer that foretold of a film that could fall anywhere on the spectrum of amazing to terrible. Would the film be, as I hoped, about a woman admired for her strength, who wished to save the world and chose to fight for it? Or would it be primarily a love story featuring a woman built like a goddess and a soggy man she pulled from the ocean in a tale reminiscent of The Little Mermaid? Would Diana, Princess of the Amazons be overly sexualized and sensual? Would she be allowed to lead in battle crowded by male characters? Would scenes of the film focus on her character growth or her flowing locks of hair?


At the very least, my “exceeds expectations” bar was very low. I had seen Batman V Superman. The small glimpse of Wonder Woman in that overdone film was not, in my opinion, enough to belay my fears about the next DC movie. It could very potentially be a film that ended up on the list of repeat DC film disappointments.


But then the movie started. And my fears turned out to be unwarranted.


Directed by Patty Jenkins and written by Zach Snynder, Allan Heinburg, and Jason Fuchs, Wonder Woman portrays the super heroine as someone who can clearly hold her own in battle. There are some jokes in the film that I feel possibly gloss over her super-strength for the sake of gender-based humour: for instance, there is a scene in which Wonder Woman/Diana Prince throws a man across a bar room and a man comments “I am both frightened, and aroused.” Some of the quips in the film make it difficult to tell whether Diana’s powers are being called out because she, as a woman warrior, is an anomaly or simply because the film is set during WWI and reactions to her character are fair for the time period. In fact, considering it is the earlier 1900s, reactions to Diana are very liberal and open for the time period, displaying a balance needed to make the movie seem realistic as well as to satisfy modern viewers.


The Amazonians are stunningly beautiful but that is not the full scope of any of their characters. An aspect of the film that I especially appreciated was the use of actresses of middle age or older to portray certain pivotal Amazonian characters rather than casting them all as ageless model types. Rarely do we get to see a woman show physical prowess, or indeed power, in action or heroic films after she begins to look older than 35.


The suggestion of a love interest that strings along throughout the movie was a bit cliché (I definitely rolled my eyes a few times) but by the finale of the film, I saw it as necessary to help define Diana’s character. Wonder Woman first appeared as a super heroine in 1941. Her creator, William Moulton Marston (aka Charles Moulton) was influenced by feminist ideals as well as the darkness and changes accompanying World War II. Wonder Woman frequently uses love to conquer war; therefore it is natural she encounters the possibility of love, both of the partner type and on a broader scope for other characters and humanity in general.  


Overall, I loved the movie. The fight scenes are spectacular, the super heroine kicks ass, and the story itself is well written. I highly recommend it.