By Jose Jara
By Daniel Guzman
“Film sizzles when the women are on screen,
Fizzles when the men show up.
Wonder Woman has all the testosterone fueled action that any superhero film should adequately pack into it. Diana/Wonder Woman towers over every scene with her superhuman strength, elaborate fight choreography, and muscle flexing while hog tying bad guys with her lasso of truth. Unbeknownst to Diana, her courageously disciplined Amazonian family of fighting women know that she is more than just a Princess of the Amazon, but ultimately a daughter of Zeus.
Diana has been co-raised by her mother, Queen Hyppolita, and her aunt, General of the Amazonian gladiators, Antiope, perfectly played by Robin Wright. Diana and her Amazonian female gladiators have been living on this secret island preparing for a worst-case scenario war against the God of War, Aries. The island has no men anywhere in sight to the point that Diana has not ever seen a man and has only read of them in some Amazonian Encyclopedia. I guess amazon books can ship just about anywhere! All that changes when she observes Steve Trevors’ (Chris Pine) warplane crash into the sea near the island, at which time she quickly springs into action and saves the male damsel in distress from drowning. Steve Trevor informs these women of enemies in pursuit of him and the doomsday that is to come if this war does not cease. Without trying to give away any spoilers, let me just say that Diana realizes that she must help Steve Trevors fight to end this war by stopping Aries from pulling the humans’ strings with his intention being to have humanity vanquished.
Director Patty Jenkins nailed the casting of Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman right in the head. Gadot is the right Gal to be given the burden of wearing the Wonder Woman crown. She demonstrates she can entertain just like the rest of the DC heroes with intense action, comedic wit, and an overall charismatic leading presence. Jenkins garnished Gadot with a swarm of female actresses that made me want to watch the training of these Amazonian gladiators more than the training of the Spartans of 300. Where Jenkins lost me was in the weak characters the men play. Even Chris Pine as Steve Trevors seems like a poor man’s version of Steve Rogers played by Chris Evans. He’s definitely got the good guy spiel down, but he really fell flat to me with his under developed character. Every other male character is a blurb in this story, including the would-be villain.
In the end, I found myself appreciating how this film was superbly carried by strong women characters, yet was a bit lob sided in its weak male performances. I told this to a fellow movie aficionado friend of mine, and his jab back at me was “Now you know how all these actresses feel when they are poorly type cast as weak characters in the superhero genre.” He got me there. This film did leave me with wanting to see Gal Gadot swing that blade away, crushing heavy machinery, leaping like she’s the hulk bouncing from one place to the next, and deflecting bullets with her wrist shields like it’s nothing. I will be looking forward to seeing Wonder Woman be a stand out among her Justice League cast come this November.