Wonder Woman Review
DC’s latest movie in their cinematic universe debuted this past weekend, finally giving Wonder Woman her own film. After being burned by Batman vs Superman and Suicide Squad (review here), I had become a little gun shy on DC movies. They just can’t seem to hold up to even the worst movies from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Well that trend has finally ended, because Wonder Woman is an absolute triumph. The filmed earned over $100 million at the box office in its opening weekend, putting its opening at 16 overall of all Super Hero movies. 16 may not seem like much, but when you look at the list, 12 of the 15 movies ahead of it are either sequels or team ups (Avengers). The only 3 left are Spider-Man, Deadpool, and Man of Steel, all of which could be argued have a much bigger fan base then Wonder Woman.
So I think we can finally put to bed the tired excuse that comic fans won’t go see a female led super hero movie, or a female can’t direct action movies. Director Patty Jenkins and star Gal Gadot have absolutely destroyed those tropes. This is a movie you want to see, probably more than once and proves that fans will go see a high quality movie regardless of genders. C
Caution: Spoilers from here on out if you haven’t seen the movie yet.
Many super heroes have to start their first movie as an origin story, and a lot of times that can affect the pacing of the movie. Things will be slow at the start, the hero needs to discover their powers, etc… Wonder Woman seems to be able to buck this trend and her origin story is less about discovering her powers and abilities, and more about her discovering herself. This helps keep the story fresh and the pacing spot on. Well all know where Wonder Woman is going, and it’s not about her learning how to fight, but about watching her learn about herself.
When Steve (Chris Pine) takes her from her island home of Themyscira to London, she has a natural innocence that plays amazingly on your heartstrings. Gal Gadot absolutely nails Diana’s reaction to first time experiences. From her seeing a baby (“this one is not made of clay”), to their clothes shopping trip, to the ice cream scene (which was a throwback to the comics), Wonder Woman managed to entertain even when the bullets weren’t flying.
However, when it comes to action sequences, Jenkins was spot on. The action will keep you glued to the screen and she includes a healthy does of the Zach Snyder action shots (the slow, quick, slow camera work). But no moment was bigger than the No Man’s Lands scene. Diana has been strung along by Steve and others with promises of making it to the front and stopping Ares. Despite countless roadblocks and slowdowns, she finally makes it and sees the horrors of war for the first time. Yet she is told not to get involved and all she has seen up to this point is inaction. Diana has finally had enough. This is the turning point for her character.
She puts on the headpiece, drops her cloak, and not only do we get the first reveal of her costume (not counting the trailers), but one amazing action sequence. She charges the German line to the shock of everyone. She begins by defective bullets, but ends behind her shield under a hail of machine gun fire, utterly fearless. That scene was expertly shot and revealed just who Wonder Woman is to the audience. Plus, props to writers for not giving her a cheesy “I am no Man” line when Steve told her that no one can cross no man’s land. I was waiting for it and glad it never arrived.
Honestly, I don’t have much to complain about with Wonder Woman. The action was great, the downtime was still entertaining, and the cinematics beautiful. If there was one place the movie seems to struggle a little, its with the ending. While I always love a good super-villain showdown, the fight with Ares felt a little long. I also think that Wonder Woman could have done without that scene all together and still been an excellent movie.
When Diana kills Ludendorff and realizes that the war is still going on, her and Steve have a heart to heart about the evil of men. This could have been another life lesson for her that evil is not always due to Ares, but due to the corrupt nature of man. Alas, it was not to be. While the Ares reveal was pretty cool, it wasn’t completely necessary to the success of the film. And finally, I’m a bit sad to see Steve dead. Chris Pine was excellent in this role and I’m going to miss him. But I have to give credit to the writers for actually going through with his death. I think that’s going to be a powerful motivator for Diana going forward.
Wonder Woman is a fantastic movie that destroyed my expectations. I have never really been much of a Wonder Woman fan, but Jenkins and Gadot absolutely got me interested in seeing more adventures of Diana Prince. Thankfully both have already signed on for another movie in this franchise and I can’t wait to see where they take it. World War 1 was a great choice for this first movie, but I’m excited to see some modern day action. If you are a fan of comic movies, go see Wonder Woman. It’s fantastic.