"Be careful in the world of men, Diana. They do not deserve you."
For the last 20 years, Hollywood has made several half-assed attempts at making a "Wonder Woman" movie. At different times throughout the years, Sandra Bullock, Lucy Lawless, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Mariah Carey were all slated to play the Amazonian princess. No one could get the script right, with writers including Joss Whedon and Laeta Kalogridis either being replaced by new writers or failing to finish a script in the first place.
All of those issues are just lip service in reality. Hollywood loves its money and if it can find a way to exploit an untapped market, it will film without a script if that's what it takes. The problem wasn't script concerns, but that the studios were operating under two false narratives. One was that women didn't care about superheroes and wouldn't turn up for a "Wonder Woman" movie. The other was that a female-led action franchise wouldn't do as well as one led by a (white) male movie star.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe managed to prove that men and women both go to the theater to see superhero movies with the popularity of characters such as Black Widow, Gamora and The Scarlet Witch. Even still, none of Marvel's female characters have led their own movie and won't until Brie Larson's "Captain Marvel" movie in 2019.
The DC Extended Universe beat Marvel to the punch with a female-led superhero movie, but they still hedged their bets by introducing Wonder Woman in "Batman v. Superman." In short, Gal Gadot had to prove herself first.
"Wonder Woman" is easily the best DCEU movie so far and the best superhero movie since "The Winter Soldier." Setting the film in WWI was a stroke of genius, since watching an Amazonian demi-goddess kicking the hell out of Germans in trench warfare is something I think we've always wanted to see without even knowing it.
Director Patty Jenkins is a revelation as a filmmaker here, directing intimate character moments just as powerfully as she does pulse-pounding action set pieces. She joins Katherine Bigelow and Ava DuVernay in the rarified air of women directors able to get projects off the ground.
Gadot has also been a warrior in real life, having served as an enlisted soldier in the Israel Defense Forces as a combat trainer. In the "Fast and the Furious" series, I thought Gadot was just another model trying to act, but she embodies Wonder Woman in a way I never expected. She's perfect here and will give an entirely new generation of young women a new hero to love.
Chris Pine's heroic love interest discounts WW at almost every turn, being condescending when he's not being patriarchal. Pine and Gadot have chemistry to burn, but it's so much more fun watching her be a badass without Captain Kirk making googly eyes in the background. Even after finally getting her own movie, Wonder Woman still has to prove herself to another man. It's frustrating and makes me "wonder" why the movie even needed a love interest instead of having her find agency on her own.
"Wonder Woman" making half a billion dollars in a week is a good sign that we're headed in the direction of women having equal representation in the movie theater. With "Black Panther" and "Captain Marvel" coming soon, it looks like the boys will have to start sharing their toys.
Dir. Patty Jenkins
Old Mill Stadium 16 & IMAX, Sisters Movie House, Redmond Cinema