Review: Wonder Woman is the first good DC Extended Universe film

Welcome to the dawn of a new day where the DC Extended Universe makes a good film, which just happens to be a female-led superhero movie.

The fact Wonder Woman doesn't suck makes me far happier than I ever imagined I would be.

Why this all-pervading sense of bladder-curdling relief as I silently, metaphorically cheered my way through the end credits? What was I really thinking? That we live in a world where gender isn't part of the conversation when it comes to blockbuster movies?

It seems crazy that I care this much, but the fact remains Wonder Woman is an icon of my Kiwi tomboy childhood.

Bored with black-and-white Batman, Wonder Woman burst into my living room in glorious, star-spangled, red, white and blue Technicolor, changing my life forever.

The fact it's taken a living eternity to deliver her to us on the big screen defies logic and common sense.

But here she is. Let us rejoice.

Let's first embrace a universal truth - Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman was pretty much the best thing about the much-maligned Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice film. Thankfully, she's also the best thing about Wonder Woman.

We meet Diana as a small girl on an idyllic island populated by impressively empowered Amazonians, picking a fight with her battle-hardened aunt General Antiope (Robin Wright in spectacularly ripped and lethal form).

Diana's overly protective mother Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielson) knows what her daughter is capable of and soon must stand aside and let her become a woman - Wonder Woman, of course. 

Chris Pine as Steve Trevor crash-lands into Diana's world, and her overriding quest to protect humanity throws her into the trenches of World War I, hunting down General Ludendorff, a man she believes is the God of War.

Gal Godot in Wonder Woman
Gal Godot in Wonder Woman (Warner Bros)

That's all you really need to know about the story. Director Patty Jenkins manages to make the first DCEU movie which gets the balance right; the light and dark, the funny and serious, the good the bad - it all works.


Here's where it doesn't. I have a low tolerance for heavily-ladled earnestness, and while I understand the need to accentuate the purity of Diana's inherent goodness laced with her unworldliness to cut through the bloody mists of mortal combat and human frailties, it just felt laboured and misplaced at times.

Clunky and oftentimes just plain awkward scripting likely the main culprit, it did take the shine off a little, especially when it came to the underwhelming executed final showdown. 

The villain also suffers, reduced to a portentous, cliché-bellowing caricature falling well short of his potential.

But those gripes aside, there is just no denying the impact. The sparingly-used Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL electric guitar riff, which jump-started my heart in Batman v Superman, works wonders again here, underpinning action sequences which ticked all my boxes.

Wonder Woman is not a great film, but it is a good one. And right now, good feels pretty damn good.

Four stars.

* Wonder Woman is released in cinemas on Thursday.