REVIEW: Wonder Woman
Having earned over $800 million, Wonder Woman has proven itself on many levels. In a year that started, more or less, with Hidden Figures, and with a summer that had three hits featuring women (the others being Atomic Blonde and Girls Trip) the female half of the movie going audience is finally receiving their due. Director Patty Jenkins has certainly shattered some records and glass ceilings along the way while Gal Gadot has now proven she can open a movie.
With Wonder Woman out today on Blu-ray from Warner Home Video, we have a chance to look back and enjoy it all over again. While it fits neatly in the larger DC Cinematic Universe thanks to the framing sequence, the movie largely works on its own with a vastly superior tone and vision than its predecessors.
There is sumptuous color representing Themyscira, home to the Amazons. All the scenes there are a delight as we see women of age and color living harmoniously with the land and training because they know that man’s world remains a violent one.
When the First World War literally arrives on their shores, the women are ready and the beach fight is a spectacle. It also means it is time to re-engage with the world and Diana insists she be the emissary, bringing Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) back to his people. It’s clear to the Amazons that Ares (David Thewlis) is behind this and Diana brings with her the god-killer sword, convinced men will lay down their arms once Ares is defeated.
The remainder of the movie is Diana’s journey, less a fish out of a water story, more of a series of discoveries. She learns to trust men, marvel at ice cream, and show compassion where others would demonstrate might. With Trevor, she collects a select team of agents, each with their skills, but all in awe of what she can do. The team – Sameer (Said Taghmaoui), Charlie (Ewen Bremner), and Chief Napi (Eugene Brave Rock) – give her someone to talk to along the way and they demonstrate that not all men are square-jawed righteous as Trevor is or as devious as General Erich Ludendorff (Danny Huston). Similarly, Trevor’s British contact, Etta Candy (Lucy Davis) is contrasted by Doctor Poison (Elena Anaya).
If there are any quibbles it is the one many comics fans made, the final fate of Steve Trevor. Set in World War I, there was not plausible way for Trevor to be a part of her life in the modern world so his story had to end. It just didn’t need to repeat the end of Captain America; The First Avenger.
The film is released in the usual assortment of packages including the popular Blu-ray, DVD, Digital HD set. The high definition 2.39:1 transfer is brilliant, letting Themyscira glisten and not losing a detail during the less color-saturated war sequences. The Dolby Atmos sound track is a delight, showcasing Rupert Gregson-Williams’ excellent score.
As it deserves, the film is accompanied with a rich assortment of special features, starting with Epilogue: Etta’s Mission, a brief bit that toasts Trevor’s memory and establishes the team as force, on the hunt for a Mother Box (hinting at Justice League of course).
The behind-the-scenes material begins with Crafting the Wonder which explores the look of the film and how much the lighting was influenced by the paintings of John Singer Sargent. We then get five short A Director’s Vision pieces: Themyscira: The Hidden Island (4:53), Beach Battle (4:54), A Photograph Through Time ((5:01), Diana in the Modern World (4:37), and Wonder Woman at War (4:58).
Warriors of Wonder Woman (9:50) introduces us to the international assortment of women who spent four months physically training to become Amazons.
The Trinity (15:56) has cast, crew and comics creators Greg Rucka, Phil Jimenez, Liam Sharp, Paul Dini, Cliff Chiawonder ng, Jill Thompson, and Lauren Montgomery who directed the 2008 animated Wonder Woman film, examine DC’s holy trinity of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. They discuss their similarities and differences and how they balance once another in print and on screen.
The Wonder Behind the Camera (15:31) focuses on the many women Jenkins hired to work on the production, as seen through the eyes of aspiring female teen filmmakers who visited for a day.
Finding the Wonder Woman Within (22:40) has award-winning poets and a wide assortment of public figures (including Dee Dee Meyers and Danica Patrick) discuss what female empowerment means to them along with their connection to the Amazon Princess.
There are six Extended Scenes which are worth a look and the usual Blooper Reel.