Subscribe
MaxSpace

Review: Wonder Woman

Hooray! Wonder Woman gets the great film she deserves.

By Max Weiss | May 31, 2017, 3:56 pm

-Warner Bros.
MaxSpace

Review: Wonder Woman

Hooray! Wonder Woman gets the great film she deserves.

By Max Weiss | May 31, 2017, 3:56 pm

-Warner Bros.

Get Baltimore Daily.

Sign up today and you'll get our latest stories delivered straight to your inbox every weekday afternoon.

They say a woman has to be twice as good as a man to go half as far. Luckily for us, Wonder Woman easily laps its DC Comics competition. Unlike lots of comic book movies—and yes, I’m even including some of those cheeky, crowd-pleasing Marvel successes—it feels like a work of passion and vision. I sense a filmmaker behind it, not a focus group.

The filmmaker’s name is Patty Jenkins, and she brings a wonderful mix of mythology, stirring action, and humor to the film. Seriously, kudos to DC for handing over the reins of this film—the first major one to feature a female superhero—to a female director. Yes, the film feels empowering. But it also kicks more than a little ass. Newsflash: Girls are just as capable as boys of enjoying a well-staged action scene. (Also—sigh—it turns out women are just as capable as men at making their films about 20 minutes too long.) 


⇓ Article continues below ⇓

We start on the island nation of Themyscira, a kind of paradise where there are no men and Amazonian women train for a battle they hope will never come. Young Diana (cute-as-a-kumquat Lilly Aspell) disobeys her queen mother Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen, great) by secretly training with her general warrior aunt Antiope (Robin Wright, fierce as hell). Both Hippolyta and Antiope know the truth about Diana—that she is more than just a great warrior, she is, essentially, the Chosen One.

One day, after little Diana has grown up into the preternaturally beautiful Gal Gadot—so congrats to her for that—a roguish spy for the Allies named Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) crash lands into the sea. Diana saves him, but he has brought Germans on his tail. “Your people do have guns, right?” Steve asks nervously. But no guns needed. From there, an extremely awesome battle involving lots of horses, flaming arrows, and dive-bombing women ensues. The Amazonian tribe is able to fend off the Germans, but not completely defeat them. And Diana, who has learned her whole life to revile war and do everything in her power to vanquish it, knows she must travel back to Europe to help Steve beat the Central Powers. (She thinks all it will take to end the war is a single confrontation with Ares, the god of war.)

Wonder Woman wears its influences on its sleeve, in a good way. There’s tons of Raiders of the Lost Ark, with Chris Pine, handsome, amused, game, and gruffly honorable, doing his best Indiana Jones impression. There’s a little Wizard of Oz, too, with the innocent Diana going on a journey with an unlikely group of men—in this case, the ragtag team Steve assembles that includes the rapscallion conman Sameer (Saïd Taghmaoui), the dissolute sharp shooter Charlie (Ewan Bremner), and a Native-American scout played by Eugene Brave Rock (he is the most inclined to believe Diana’s wild tales of gods and curses and magic swords).

The film’s greatest battle—and the one that nearly made me jump out of my chair in excitement—comes when the team lands in no man’s land, where a group of villagers is boxed in by Germans. Steve explains to Wonder Woman that she can’t save them—she and the crew need to continue with their mission to destroy a German plant where poisonous gas is being developed. Other men will come, he assures her.

“I am the men who came,” she says, leaping boldly into the battlefield.

As the kids say, Yaas, queen.

 




Meet The Author
Max Weiss is the managing editor of Baltimore and a film and pop culture critic.


You May Also Like


MaxSpace

Review: The Post

Streep and Hanks, together at last!

Arts District

DeWanda Wise Stars in Spike Lee's She's Gotta Have It

The Woodlawn native talks about her acting journey and preparing for the role.

On The Town

Best Valentine’s Day Parties for Every Relationship Status

Whether you’re celebrating with friends, family, or a significant other, here are our picks.


Arts District

BMA’s New African Art Exhibit Explores Humans’ Relationship With Birds

The earthy, exotic exhibit Beyond Flight is on display through June 17.

Arts District

Culture Club: The Cone Sisters, The Community Project, and the African-American Arts Festival

Our monthly roundup of openings, events, and news from the art world.

Arts District

MICA Alums Collaborate on Hiroshima Project at Baltimore War Memorial

Two artists whose grandfathers were on opposite sides of the Hiroshima bombing use art to reconcile an inconceivable past.

Get Baltimore Daily.

Sign up today and you'll get our latest stories delivered straight to your inbox every weekday afternoon.

Connect With Us

Most Read


Cindy Wolf Named James Beard Semifinalist For Seventh Year in a Row: Charleston chef shares her thoughts on being nominated . . . again.

How To Create An At-Home Gym in Your Small Space: Take a look inside these rowhouse fitness spaces for some tips and tricks.

Light City Expands to Three Weekends and 14 Neighborhoods : Musical acts to include Grandmaster Flash and G. Love and Special Sauce.

Giada De Laurentiis Talks About Opening New Horseshoe Casino Restaurant : The celebrity chef takes us on a tour of her trattoria, GDL Italian, opening in April.

The Land of Kush Opening Second Location in East Baltimore This Fall: Owners talk veganism, creativity, and building a new restaurant from scratch.