Captain America: The First Avenger, is my least favourite Marvel movie, so I wasn’t particularly excited to see it again in DC format.
Wonder Woman, helmed by Patty Jenkins who made the suitably good, Charlize Theron Oscar-winning Monster 13 years ago and has made no feature film since, brings a restraint to the typically overwrought nature of other DC Extended Universe films made by Zack Snyder (Man of Steel and Batman v. Superman) and David Ayer (Suicide Squad). Thankfully here, there is just enough slow motion fetishized violence and gun play which is refreshing and a World War One set trench warfare run and subsequent village taking represented as one of the high points of the movie. It is only a few scenes afterwards that the film sort of doesn’t know how to proceed. It’s almost as if the producers were so focused on making a film that didn’t suck that they forgot what much else to do with it.
Instead they opt to follow the template origin story set by every other superhero movie before it complete with; a brief childhood scene, followed by a training montage to show how they’ve grown, an older mentor figure, a merry band of sidekicks each of which has a quirk, presenting the hero in fish out of water sitcom, an occasionally bumbling comic relief assistant, and have the hero battle either an ancient evil awakened. a form of Nazism or both. Also you can’t forget to throw in a noble death there or two with some brand of self-sacrifice. Wonder Woman has quite a few of those clichés in there mixed with DC’s amazing world of potential but doesn’t spend enough time developing any of it beyond the rudimentary requirements of the genre. At 142 minutes (A superhero standard) the movie is overlong and is sort of wasteful, though there were cool sequences like the above no man’s land sequence mentioned or an alleyway mugging (again similar to Captain America) I sought a return to the invisible walled-off world of Amazonia and those women warriors who seem to get like 5 minutes of screen time along with top billing but those hopes were for not. Similarly, MINOR SPOILER ALERT INCOMING — the female villain (I was surprised there was one) a very intriguing character seems to get the short shrift and bumped over in screen time to make way for a man, which would have been fine, had whoever taken that screen time had been as interesting, instead my dad and I got tired of seeing rudimentary superhero physics play out and the battle sequence has plenty of nonsense been there dine that. Perhaps it was too much Zack Snyder was bleeding through. — END MINOR SPOILER ALERT.
Maybe there is something I am missing here that the lackluster nature of this film in its character development has actions and thematic delivery that maybe echo some ruminating on the nature of female power today being withheld or its limits but I went into this film hoping for more of a fantasy and I didn’t think that they made the Amazonian heroics as impressive as they could have been (Wonder Woman’s skill set just doesn’t register yet as it should on the same power level of Superman or Batman despite her essentially being a God/Goddess).
It should be said the other positives before wrapping this review up; Gal Gadot is fantastic as ever as Wonder Woman and I can’t picture anyone else playing that role. Her height and stature make her to be a powerful an authority figure that I believe the film slightly underutilizes. It should also be said the opposite is true for Chris Pine who is terribly miscast as a British intelligence officer named ‘Steve something’ speaking in an American accent in addition to following the lazy new Hollywood trend of having the same actor play multiple iconographic roles. Danny Huston as the villain is pretty much recycling his William Stryker role from X-Men Origins: Wolverine and the rest of the performances are so forgettable (not bad mind you) that the film begins and ends in present day like nothing of consequence happened. Now that I think about it, I wonder if anything of significance actually did in time for the next bit of the DCEU conveyor belt to move on.
Good scenes: nighttime glow in the dark pool scene, ship sailing scene, Alleyway mugging, A No Man’s Land battle sequence, a slow dancing scene in the snow (40 rather than 20 minutes of this movie should have been dedicate to romance as per the film’s themes of love)
“Sure, put glasses on her and pretend likes she’s not the most beautiful woman you’ve ever seen!” — Yep, my thoughts as well
Bad scenes: Opening and closing present day scenes, climactic fight torn out of Batman v. Superman
That theme song is good, the music is above average for a Hollywood venture. #RupertGregsonWilliams
Better Director choices: (though this film seems more like the producers fault the ultimate vision falls on the director)
Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty, The Hurt Locker)
Ava DuVernay (Selma, 13th)
Mimi Leder (Deep Impact, Several episodes of The Leftovers)
Michelle Maclaren (Episodes of Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones, though she was originally given this job and fired so maybe that isn’t fair or maybe she’s right)