Wonder Woman – ★ ★ ★ ★ Theatrical Review
So if you’re a Marvel fanboy (or fangirl) you’re not allowed to like DC stuff right? And vice-versa? This is the law that was handed down, right? So if you can only like one comic book company’s movies, and I just enjoyed Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2, how is it even possible that I really enjoyed Wonder Woman? Because, I really did enjoy Wonder Woman…
Wonder Woman was my second trip to the theatre in less than a week, and this time there were more than just two of us in the theatre. I think it was the second weekend possibly? A good friend is a big fan of Wonder Woman, and since the release pretty much coincided with her birthday, the outing was made.
Now, I haven’t seen Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, I haven’t seen Suicide Squad, and I haven’t even seen the final film in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. I did watch the Wonder Woman TV series from the ’70s though and did enjoy them. As well, I think I had only seen one trailer for Wonder Woman beforehand, so I was going into the movie with very little advanced knowledge, and really no expectations. Obviously I know who Wonder Woman is, and I know what the character’s powers are, but I don’t know really anything about her introduction to the DCEU. I do know that you don’t usually hear a lot of good things about the films of the DCEU. Also, why are the DC movies called the DC Extended Universe and the Marvel movies called the Marvel Cinematic Universe?
Wonder Woman was the origin story for the character that fans didn’t get when she was introduced in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, but it wasn’t really burdened down by that. From what I’ve heard, Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman was the highlight of that film, and this followup was greatly anticipated. Raised on the island of Themyscira as an Amazon princess, Diana is the daughter of Hippolyta (Connie Nelson) and Zeus who brought the clay statue of a daughter that Queen Hippolyta made to life. Remember, this is an island of all women, so reproduction is a bit of a tricky subject… Their island is hidden from the outside world (i.e. the world of man), but Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), an American airman crashes through their protective shield as he is chased by a German squadron at the height of World War I bringing the realities of the outside world with him. Convinced that Ares, the God of War is behind this “war to end all wars”, Diana leaves her home with Trevor to fight alongside man, and embrace her destiny by defeating Ares and ending the threat.
As I said, I really enjoyed this film. It had a lot of fun moments in it, lots of action, some great characters and it wasn’t slow or brooding. There was a nice mix of humour, as we did get a little bit of a “fish out of water” story when Diana encounters our modern world for the first times. Trying on clothes suitable for a woman in 1917, trying ice cream for the first time, walking down London streets with a sword and shield, all served to lighten the mood enough to make us love the character. When haven’t we all felt like a fish out of water? Once Diana and Trevor make it to the front lines, the action steps up but so does the heart of the movie. It’s funny when you get emotionally involved with a movie that portrays recorded history. We know that the Germans lose and the Allies win WWI, but seeing Diana emerge from the trench and attack the Germans in that No Man’s Land sequence was epic. I had goosebumps. Incredibly scripted, incredibly acted, and incredibly shot. That scene, and the celebration afterwards was the entire film (and character) in a nutshell. I like to think I’m an intelligent film watcher, and sometimes that comes back to haunt me. I have seen far too many movies where I’ve correctly predicted a cheesy line or outcome due to what I think is obvious foreshadowing. In the movie Diana is unfamiliar with trench warfare and is shocked when it is explained to her that they’ve been fighting there for months and have possibly only advanced a few feet further into No Man’s Land. I fully expected an “I’m no man” line to come before Diana charged into the battle, and I even mentioned this to The Girl Who Whispered. I was very glad that I was wrong and that it didn’t happen. Kudos to director Patty Jenkins for not having that in her film! Also, I may be mistaken but I don’t actually remember anyone calling her “Wonder Woman” in the film, just Diana.
At the end of the film I was pleasantly entertained by everyone connected to it. Gal Gadot seems born to play Wonder Woman, and handled all aspects of the character well, from the naive and curious princess to the intelligent and confidant military commander. Chris Pine is proving to be quite a good actor and has not been pigeon holed into a single role after playing Captain Kirk in the three rebooted Star Trek films. Patty Jenkins did an excellent job directing the film. I’ve heard people say the Zack Snyder directed films have been a bit of a tonal mess at times, and that the films are poorly lit and devoid of colour. Wonder Woman was not a mess, was not dark, and in fact I thought it used colour and lighting quite well.
Patty Jenkins was the first woman to direct a major super hero film, and I’m a little surprised that she got the opportunity because she doesn’t appear to have directed that much. I haven’t seen Monster, but it did win Charlize Theron a Best Actress Oscar, beyond that she has only directed a handful of episodes for various TV series and a few short films. Directing someone to a Leading Actress Oscar is always an accomplishment, but to do it in your first film is really something so no one should be surprised that Jenkins is a talented director. I’m a little surprised though that DC chose someone with so few feature films to their credit to direct a very important piece of the DCEU. I suppose that really doesn’t matter now, because the film has become a great financial success, and a great critical success as well. Maybe part of DC’s problem in the past was choosing directors who weren’t fresh and were stuck in their ways? Who knows. I’m glad this film did well and that it all worked out for everyone involved. To touch on my opening point about only following one company’s films, shouldn’t we as the fans of these films and as the audience want all comic book movies to do well? The better everyone’s movies are, the more comic book movies we’ll get the opportunity to enjoy.
Bottom Line: The Marvel fanboy in me would be remiss if I didn’t mention the many similarities between Wonder Woman and Captain America: The First Avenger… Both used shields a lot, both were set in World Wars. Both heroes have idealistic reasons for wanting to fight in their respective wars, but have superiors who want to keep them away form the combat. Both had mentors characters, both have love interests that are already involved in the wars, and both get a team of supporting characters (Howling Commandos and Diana’s own band of multicultural comrades). And SPOILER: At the end of the film, a heroic character named Steve (portrayed by an actor named Chris), sacrifices himself by destroying a plane that was about to destroy a major Allied city. 😉
Posted on 17-07-14, in 4 Star, Comic Book Movies, Movie Reviews and tagged Chris Pine, comic book movie, Connie Nielsen, David Thewlis, DC Extended Universe, DCEU, Gal Gadot, girl who whispered, Patty Jenkins, Robin Wright, Wonder Woman. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.