Spoiler-Filled Film Review
Two weeks ago on a Sunday night, I had the opportunity to go watch Wonder Woman with my some of my church. This is the first female lead live action film since the start of the MCU and DCEU almost a decade ago, and there was massive expectation not just because of that, and also not because the future of the DCEU hung on the success of this film and Justice League but last and not the least of all, because it was Wonder Woman, one third of the DC trinity and quite possibly the greatest female super hero in history. Without further ado, here are my thoughts on Pattie Jenkins take on the Wonder Woman lore. It goes without saying, this is a Spoiler-Full review, so if you haven’t seen the movie yet, watch it then come back and read this review.
Three of the greatest strengths of this film was the emotion, humour and the dynamic between our co-leads, (my main Strength tbh is Gal Gadots performance but I want to leave that for the Characters section).
The emotional journey was surprisingly great and a lot of that came down to Steve Rogers… I mean Steve Trevor’s (Chris Pine) sacrifice and Gal Gadots performance as Wonder Woman. Trevor’s sacrifice outweighs all the minor issues, plot holes because its’ purpose is for Wonder Woman to see humans are capable of doing great good just as they are capable of doing great evil, and her reaction to his death (fantastically acted btw) helped kick in her full powers. The humour was just great. It worked because It was natural humour, it felt natural because it wasn’t comedy added from left field or even because it was just bad comedy but it came about because it fit with the characters’ personality. From Diana’s naivety to Steve’s funny one liners, the laughs went a long way and was a huge highlight for many people I talked to who I watched it with. There were multiple moments where the whole audience in the cinema burst out in laughter because of the situational comedy at play. Another strength was the natural chemistry between Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor’s. Their dynamic was so great, and every scene they were in together were fantastic and I found myself rooting for them to end up together even though I knew Steve would die.
A big weakness of this film is that the villain(s) are underdeveloped. When it comes to the main villain, the film tried hard to make us believe that German General Ludendorff (Danny Huston) is the big bad of the film, Ares. He is given this elixir or potion to inhale by Doctor Poison that apparently gives him super strength to give the audience the false impression that he is in fact Ares. The twist of the movie is Sir Patrick (David Thewlis) was Ares and not Ludendorff.
And many saw that coming or weren’t surprised. My gripes with Thewlis being Ares was that he didn’t feel like the God of War I wanted to see on screen, maybe it was just me but I didn’t like that moustache Ares had and lastly the third act where the Wonder Woman fought Ares was a bit dragged out. There are also some plot holes that don’t need to be brought up because they’re minor quibbles.
Also, there were some moments in the fighting sequences where I found myself being taken out of the bits because of the CGI moments.
Before talking about the protagonist and the antagonist, let’s get all the other characters out of the way. The minor characters all added at least something to the film which is always great if a character can do that. Speaking with some people after the screening, one of the favourites was Steve’s secretary Etta Candy, understandably so.
I appreciated very much having one character be the comedic relief, and then have a character provide some comedic relief but offer other things.
Then there’s Steves motley crew, all struggling with their own purposes, and it’s great to have these minor characters have some sense of development that was caused by Diana. Diana gives each one of these side characters some purpose, she encourages the good out of them and highlights the good, even that ice cream dude.
Gal was surprisingly astounding, she is potentially the lead reason why Wonder Woman works and succeeds. Chris Pine is an awesome Co-lead. He’s just so great and I feel he bought out the best out of Gal. Another highlight is their chemistry which I mentioned above.
The villains… hmmm. The evil for us measly humans came in the form of General Ludendorff and Dr. Poison, while there’s an even bigger evil at play in the form of Greek God of War, Ares. Diana believes both Ludendorff and Ares are one in the same. That Ludendorff’s death will bring about the end of the war. She’s shocked to find out that she was wrong and then is forced to face the truth that all humanity is flawed.
Ares was, how can I say this. Disappointing to say the least. David Thewlis and his moustache did not suit the God warrior that is Ares. He suited the ghostlike villain that appears to Diana during the reveal that he is Ares, but the same cannot be said for his portrayal of Ares. And though I appreciate the writers trying to do something different with the villains it still was a let-down. I also felt that the climactic battle was dragged on too long and not as memorable as the skirmish on the beaches of Themyscira or when Wonder Woman bosses it and rages on No Mans Land. But that’s not to say the climactic battle didn’t offer anything other than ‘bang bang punch punch’. Diana was forced to come to terms with the idea that maybe humans don’t deserve to be saved, and the moment when Trevor sacrificed himself served the purpose of that is good in humanity, and though they don’t deserve to be saved, the biggest travesty is what Steve mentioned to her before, that doing nothing is worse.
Other Points & Developments:
- My favourite scene is when Wonder Woman goes through No Man’s Land, it such a heroic and epic sequence, Steve saying no man will survive going through the land because of the Germans opposition, and the fact that the allies were holed there for a year or so made the task even more daunting, to the moment Wonder Woman made her mind up because of a lady crying for help and to top it off was the score just elevated the scene to another level.
- An equalling awesome sequence was that skirmish in Themyscira,
- Themyscira was beautiful, it didn’t overstay its welcome to me.
- The backstory set up who Diana is and her convictions.
- The Lasso of Truth being painful to resist was so cool!
- Gosh dang, Robin Wright was a badass as Aunt Antiope.
- This film was basically the context behind the photo of Wonder Woman and her squad introduced in BvS.
- Steve Trevor: “I’m above average”.
- The Score was great, and more and more I’m falling in love with Wonder Woman’s theme!
- There’s a new DC intro potentially hinting future participants such as Green Lantern or even Hawkman.
- Charlie, Sammy and Chief were fantastic and weren’t just nameless buddies who follow our hero (looking at you Howling Commandoes).
- Did I mention how awesome Themyscira and the Amazins are, bar the CGI bits.
- Steve: “I can save today, you can save tomorrow. I love you”.
- The biggest highlight of this film was getting Wonder Womans moral compass, a superhero of strength and conviction is refreshing.
GRADE: 4.3 out of 6 Infinity Stones:
DCEU have been criticized for being too dark and of course there’s no problem with that, but if when style takes precedent over substance, it sucks. This movie finally delivers a Wonder Woman film we’ve all been waiting for.
The film ticked most if not all of the boxes for me, a strong female role model for kids to look up to not just for being a badass but being a hero with convictions (tick), amazing spectacular action sequences (tick), Gal Gadot delivering as Wonder Woman/Diana (tick, tick), and a chance to see Chris Pines abs (TICK).
This is definitely the best film in the DCEU but I disagree with some people in that the DCEU has still got a long way to go if they want to reach the magic of The Dark Knight (2008) and even go beyond it.