A real sense of Won­der

The DCEU fi­nally has its bea­con of hope, and it’s not Emo Su­pes.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Movies - Re­view by DAVIN ARUL en­ter­tain­ment@thes­tar.com.my ‘Hey, Dr Poi­son, does this uni­form make me look fat?’

Won­der Woman

Di­rec­tor: Patty Jenk­ins

Cast: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Danny Hus­ton, Con­nie Nielsen, Robin Wright, David Thewlis, Elena Anaya, Lucy Davies, Ewen Brem­ner, Said Tagh­maoui, Eu­gene Brave Rock

GUESS we had to wait un­til it was “fourth time’s the charm” for the DC Ex­tended Uni­verse.

Af­ter the unin­spir­ing Man Of Steel, the overblown Bat­man V Su­per­man (BVS) and the inane Sui­cide Squad, the DCEU fi­nally has its bea­con of hope, its ral­ly­ing fig­ure. And it’s not Emo Su­per­man, but the best as­pect of BVS.

Won­der Woman, its ti­tle char­ac­ter por­trayed ... won­der­fully, and some­times on an al­most sub­lime level by the per­fectly-cast Gal Gadot, is both a wel­come win for the strug­gling DCEU and a rather wiz­ard work by Patty Jenk­ins (Mon­ster).

It’s not de­void of corny mo­ments, how­ever, and there is the oc­ca­sional lapse of logic and con­ti­nu­ity. And that bor­der­line­for dread­ful theme used Won­der Woman in BVS (it’s like the Doof War­rior from Mad Max: Fury Road is trail­ing af­ter her, prac­tis­ing his gui­tar chords) is also present, though not in lethal doses.

But by Zeus, the film works – and not just be­cause there’s more sun­light in it than the pre­vi­ous three DCEU films put to­gether.

It suc­ceeds be­cause it has, like Bruce Lee in­sisted to that baf­fled kung fu stu­dent in En­ter The Dragon, real emo­tional con­tent.

And I mean con­vinc­ingly de­picted (and felt) emo­tions, not anger, which is what BVS seemed to be full of.

Nor is it an ex­hi­bi­tion of Easter eggs, fan ser­vice mo­ments and scenes that seem more like “mo­tion paint­ings” than parts of a story.

And maybe that’s why the film works so well: it doesn’t feel obliged to pan­der.

Both Marvel and DC could take notes from this ex­am­ple, and make their re­spec­tive cin­e­matic uni­verses that much bet­ter from the les­son.

I won­dered about the de­ci­sion to set the film at the end of World War I, think­ing the pe­riod set­ting would turn off au­di­ences.

But it also hap­pens to be just be­fore a turn­ing point in history for women’s rights, at a time when boys’ clubs still held sway, as il­lus­trated point­edly but not ex­ces­sively in the course of the movie.

So the pe­riod set­ting is ap­pro­pri­ate, af­ter all.

Won­der Woman fol­lows the jour­ney of Diana (Gadot), Princess of The­myscira – a hid­den isle pop­u­latPine), ed by the Ama­zons, women cre­ated by Zeus to be the bridge be­tween hu­man­ity and the gods.

Into this world, quite by ac­ci­dent, comes Steve Trevor (Chris an Al­lied spy with in­for­ma­tion vi­tal to the peace process.

Nat­u­rally, he is fol­lowed by boat­loads of pur­su­ing Ger­man soldiers, bring­ing war to the idyl­lic is­land. Long story short, to keep this as spoiler-free as I can, Diana fol­lows him back to the World of Man, de­ter­mined to ful­fil her des­tiny.

While it seems as though the nu­mer­ous trail­ers and TV promo spots have given the en­tire film away, I was pleased to find that they haven’t.

There is a lot more to the story, and more im­por­tantly, a great deal more to the Diana-Steve Trevor re­la­tion­ship to be en­joyed as it un­folds. Credit must go to Pine, play­ing it both a lit­tle for laughs (as he strug­manly-man­li­with gles to main­tain his ness when faced all of Diana’s Ama­zo­nian awe­somesquare-jawed ness) and also and stoic (in a very emo­tional mo­ment – you’ll know when), for helping to make this one of the best screen cou­ples in a su­per­hero film ever. And of course, it just wouldn’t be as im­pact­ful if there had been some ma­jor mis­steps with its ti­tle char­ac­ter. Good news, though – sorry if this has been overused – what a Gal she’s turned out to be. Near-be­atific in ex­press­ing Diana’s in­no­cence upon step­ping into our world, fiercely de­ter­mined in Diana’s drive to be an exem- plary Ama­zon in her own world, and con­sumed by the char­ac­ter’s pas­sion to be the bridge be­tween the two by end­ing war for good, Gadot turns in a strong and well-rounded per­for­mance on both the phys­i­cal and emo­tive fronts.

Watch­ing this, I couldn’t help but wish for a sym­bol like her for our own world, tossed and sun­dered as it is by con­stant re­minders of the things that make us dif­fer­ent rather than thriv­ing through com­mon ground. Like the cheesy but apt lyrics to the Lynda Carter Won­der Woman TV theme song go, “Get us out from un­der, Won­der Woman.”

This Won­der Woman is not about per­fect fig­ures im­pos­ing their ideals on a bro­ken world; it’s about how we can rise above our flaws and doubts to bring out the best in our­selves, and in each other. And in its own earnest, Doof-War­rior­sound­tracked way, the film does re­mind us that hu­man­ity has not been short of ral­ly­ing sym­bols; we’re just largely deaf to their mes­sages.

— Pho­tos: Warner Bros

Steve is won­der­ing where Diana keeps her sword in that cape.

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