Set during the final year of World War I, Wonder Woman tells the story of Diana, the Princess of Themyscira the home to last of the Amazons. When an American spy comes crashing through the barriers of their paradise, he brings with him a battalion of German soldiers and news of a Great War. Diana is convinced that Ares is behind the war, and when her mother refuses to help the Allies, Diana resolves to leave her home behind, take up the Godkiller and end the threat of Ares once and for all.
Wonder Woman is the fourth film in the DCEU franchise and the first time Wonder Woman has been the main star of a blockbuster film. It’s been a long time coming, with many animated film and series, and a live action TV series in between. Gal Gadot stars in the titular role of the film, which is helmed by director Patty Jenkins and written by Allan Heinberg, Zack Snyder and Jason Fuchs.
I really loved the main cast. Gal Gadot’s portrayal of Wonder Woman has won me over. I was so against her casting when it was initially announced, but between Batman vs Superman and this, I can’t wait for her next showing as Wonder Woman. Chris Pine was also wonderful as Steve Trevor. Etta Candy was also a blast, and I wished there was more of her in the film.
But the highlight of the film for me, was Diana and her band of misfits. I loved the portrayal how hard the war was on them. And how broken they are, at times, because of their experiences. There was often a brief moment of discussion about what life would be like for them if it weren’t for this war. This can also be seen in various side characters, like soldiers in the battlefield and civilians caught between the warring sides. I think they really nailed the severity of the war and the effect it had on Diana.
Speaking of which, I also loved Diana’s naivety. I wasn’t quite expecting it. I mean, the trailers did show one or two things on it, but I really wasn’t prepared for it. It felt really interesting to me, the idea of a superhero wandering the streets in excitement and thinking out loud about things that we take for granted. It reminds me a little of Captain America from the first Avenger film. (Side note: I’ve yet to see Thor. I wonder if it might be similar when he gets cast out of Asgard.)
Themiscrya. Oh boy, I love that place. I want to live in a place like that. Did you see that waterfall? I just have a weakness for waterfall cities. Just… wow. It felt like something out of a fantasy novel. Rivendell anyone? I also really enjoy the brief glimpse of the Amazons’ lifestyle. I wish there was more of it. In fact, I wish there was a whole movie on that island and about the Amazons. Maybe Hippolyta’s rebellion? Any Warner Bros exec here?
I’m not typically one to notice bad CG, I mean, I watched Matrix Reloaded without batting an eye. But here it stood out to me a couple of times. I think it was just that the rest of the film was so well shot and well-choreographed. Or maybe there were one too many awesome slow mo shots, that were mostly awesome, but some of which were just a bid unnaturally. Antiope’s acrobatic actions on top of a horse were particularly noteworthy. Also, I just kept thinking that these Amazons should be dead after they leapt of the cliff during the beach scene. Don’t get me wrong, it was an awesome moment, but has no one heard of whiplash? Maybe Amazons’ just have tougher spines and necks.
However, bad CG I can live with. But by far the most disappointing part of the film, to me, was the entire third act. It was… safe, uninspired and a huge letdown. The whole thing with Ares and Steve and Dr Poison was so disappointing to me. I thought the second act was building up to something more and I expected something different and then they went with the same thing that ends most superhero films. A huge battle where the hero and villain trade punches along with some sprinkles of philosophy about what humans are or aren’t. It’s just disappointing. The “plot twists” didn’t really struck me at all. In fact, I thought it was so obvious that I thought they were red herrings.
The fight scenes are a hit and miss for me. Some of them were really well done. For example, I really loved the fights in that small town in no man’s land. Diana sliding around in slow motion and kicking ass was nice to see. On the other hand, the big fight at the end was a total miss for me. I wanted more sword and shield action, with a little addition of the whip. Instead we got a hurricane of object chunking.
Ultimately, I think my view of the film was colored by my expectations going in. It was a rollercoaster for me. I was expected when it was first announced, but after the disappointment of Batman vs Superman and Suicide Squad, I tempered my expectations a LOT. And after the director change, I wasn’t even planning to watch it in the theaters. Then the reviews came out and I was hyped up for it again. And then I actually went to watch it and… well… I didn’t like it as much as I thought I would.
Wonder Woman is a decent film that played it a bit too safe for its final act and fell short for me. However, it does make me excited about the future of DCEU and their ability to make good films.