Wonder Woman - 2017
Wonder Woman marks the fourth attempt from Warner Bros. Pictures to jump start the DCEU as they try to catch up to the MCEU. I will say this right off the top, this is the best DCEU movie… but it’s not great. It is directed by Patty Jenkins (Monster) and written by Allan Heinberg with the story provided by Zack Snyder. Here we get the origin story of Wonder Woman as she is raised and trained hidden away from the real world in the island of Themyscira. But just like in real life, the world tends to find you anywhere you are hiding and she is thrust into action during World War I.
Gal Gadot reprises her role as Diana, aka Wonder Woman, bringing the same balance of charm and toughness that made her the stand out of 2016’s Batman v Superman. We follow her journey as she grows up sheltered away from the harsh realities of what human beings are capable of, even though her purpose in life is to protect them. Her emotional turmoil is what drove the movie forward as she balanced her personal feelings with her sense of duty. Gadot gave a solid performance and continues to be my favorite aspect of the DCEU.
Gadot is surrounded with a solid cast of actors that all played well to their characters. Chris Pine played Steve Trevor and was a suitable dancing partner to Gadot, always keeping the story lighthearted enough and not letting this superhero movie get too bogged down in tone. All the Amazons were perfect, being led by Robin Wright who played Antiope, aunt of Wonder Woman. The rat pack group that Pine assembles is comprised of typical stereotypes, but played well enough that it doesn’t bother you. Danny Huston as Ludendorff and Elena Anaya as Doctor Poison fall to the same bad guy tropes and continue to prove that Hollywood has yet to consistently create compelling bad guys.
Patty Jenkins was a great choice and proved that it’s not the budget that makes a movie great, it’s the vision behind the camera. The character development scenes were handled with care and gave the audience enough to connect with the main players of the story. The music was used beautifully, having the Wonder Woman theme (that I have stuck in my head) playing during key scenes that added gravitas to the moment.
This movie can be easily broken down in to three acts: the childhood/training montage on the island, adapting to the real world/war, and the boss fight in the end. Sadly, this movie suffers a lot during the boss fight in the end. I don’t understand why DCEU is obsessed with its movies looking so dark and bleak. During the first act, everything looks so beautiful - the island is full of life and color. The second act gets a bit more gray but still maintains its color palate, and by the end it’s all darkness and fire just like BvS. I was really hoping for a breath of fresh air but I got a rinse and repeat of a third act used way too much. My favorite act is the second one; we get the most grounded action sequences and the growth of Gadot and Pine’s relationship is engaging and funny.
Wonder Woman is a good movie, honestly the best DCEU has done, and I had fun… but it has a lot of flaws. The main one coming from the CGI. There are many sequences in where the CGI is painfully obvious and it takes you out of the movie. There were many things that could’ve been done practically and the movie would’ve benefited from it. The other flaw that took me out of the movie was the over-use of slow motion during fight scenes. Don’t get me wrong - a well-timed slow motion moment during a fight scene can be… well, awesome, but if every single fight has 9-10 slow motion moments in them you start to get tired from them.
Wonder Woman is a step in the right direction for the DCEU and hopefully they continue to improve on the formula they have set. This movie can be compared to Marvel’s Captain America: The First Avenger, in that it had great bones but not enough meat on them. Hopefully Wonder Woman 2 can be a better sequel just like Winter Soldier was. Overall, I had fun during my viewing of the movie despite all the flaws that stood out and it was the first DCEU movie I didn’t completely mentally check out. All of that is thanks to Gail Gadot’s Wonder Woman and that’s why I love movies.
Wonder Woman is currently in theaters. Watch it.
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