by Nile Fortner
Finally, a movie about the iconic DC Comics character, Wonder Woman has hit the big screen. A character that finally has her own big feature movie, a movie 75 years in the making!
When DC first launched their expanded-cinematic-universe, many fans were not thrilled with the start of this cinematic universe. I personally enjoyed Man of Steel, even though some people argued that Superman was too moody and depressing. That film was followed by Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and fans as well did not react to well to that movie either. I have parts I like about the movie and other parts I can’t stand. I did not like the portrayal of Lex Luthor and how they forced Doomsday into the movie. Suicide Squad had its issues, and many people seemed to give up on DC Comics setting up this expanded-cinematic-universe. Many fans saw Wonder Woman as the last chance for this cinematic universe to work and finally give us a movie in this universe that blows audiences away with action, story, and character development.
Set in the DCEU (DC Extended Universe) established by the movies Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Suicide Squad, Wonder Woman is an origin story, and the best film by far set in the DCEU. Wonder Woman follows Princess Diana, played by the beautiful Gal Gadot (Fast Five, Triple 9) from her childhood on Themyscira through her transformation into the iconic Wonder Woman. A young Diana grew up on Themyscira as the daughter of the land’s ruler, Queen Hippolyta, played by Connie Nielsen, and trained under the warrior training of her aunt, General Antiope, played by Robin Wright (House of Cards). But everything she knows changes when a man named Steve, played by Chris Pine (Star Trek Beyond, Hell or High Water) crash lands in the water just beyond Themyscira’s shores. Steve tells Diana about the first world war, which Diana believes is Ares (the God of War) being the reason of the war and all its devastation. Steve and Diana travel to Europe to assemble a team and set off to fight against the malicious General Erich Ludendorff, played by Danny Huston (30 Days of Night, X – Men Origins: Wolverine) and his scientist Doctor Maru a.k.a Doctor Poison.
Honestly, I have never really been a big fan of the character Wonder Woman. I didn’t really dig the lasso of truth, the invisible plane, and her practically fighting crime in a red, white, and blue bikini. Even the Lynda Carter Wonder Woman television show I find to be a little goofy, silly, and not the best representation from the comic books. I do like the show and respect it, but I do find it to be silly, a lovable silly. It wasn’t until Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice where I said, “Damn, she’s a badass, her and Batman are the best things about this movie!” I read a comment on YouTube when the first trailer for this movie came out, and it said, “Another movie telling audiences how us men are assholes.” That is not true at all!
I’m going to dive right into the director, Patty Jenkins (Director of Monster starring Charlize Theron). You can tell that she is someone who has a talent for directing characters, and not so much the big budget superhero films we usually see. By this, I mean the movie is character driven and not so much action driven. The characters are pushed by story, motives, and not overblown action sequences that move the story along. It tones down all the CGI and action for a very compelling story.
It is not your typical superhero origin story. Marvel has setup the typical origin story with films like Iron Man and Doctor Strange. Something happens to guy, something happens to another guy, one guy is good, the other guy is bad, we both get powers, now let’s fight. It is an origin story, but it takes that basic formula and throws it right out the window. The majority of the film takes place long before the events of the DCEU. This allows Jenkins and screenwriter Allan Heinberg plenty of room to explore the evolution of Diana without too many constraints placed on it by existing in a larger superhero universe. Gadot brings the many sides of Diana to life beautifully; her fish-out-of-water humor stands out the most. It makes for some funny screen moment when traveling to the human world for the first time, there’s plenty about London and the modern ways of life that Diana has never experienced. Gadot plays each of these moments with humor, innocence, and curiosity. Rather than making Diana’s innocence or ignorance the entire joke, these moments shine a new light on certain aspects of our humanity.
Chris Pine as Steve was real fun to watch. Gadot and Pine have almost near perfect chemistry together. I also really like how this movie did not force a love interest on our main character. It felt organic, easy going, and it didn’t get in the way of our story. Also, Pine has his own discovery of what it means to be a hero, and it is developed through teaching and learning from Diana. Unlike the stereotypical female romantic interests in male-led action films, Steve has his own journey of self-discovery over the course of the movie.
Even though the villains in the movie do play a role, it is a role that feels just a little cartoonish and not as threatening as previous villains in other superhero films. This isn’t a spoiler, but Ares does play an important role in the film, but he doesn’t come off as menacing until well into the final act of the film. Doctor Poison and General Erich Ludendorff are a little cheesy at times in my opinion. This isn’t a spoiler, but there is a scene where they lock a group of people in a room, and do that old school traditional evil villain laugh. MUAHAHAHA! Seriously, it’s like they turned into Dr. Evil and Frau Farbissina from the Austin Powers movies. I honestly couldn’t help myself from laughing at that. Furthermore, I thought doctor Poison could have grown more as a character. Maybe in the sequel they can explain why she is disfigured, and make her an sympathetic villain.
In addition, this film is very colorful and gorgeous to look at. I like how DC set up this dark tone universe, and I do think it works for some of their characters, such as Batman. On the other hand, not all their movies have to have this dark setting. Things only have that dark setting when it calls for it. Such as, the battlefields of World War one. For all the people who like Zack Snyder (Director of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice) and the dark tonality of his films, the films where it seems like the sun doesn’t exist, or takes place in Seattle, the first five minutes of Wonder Woman will make you seem like you’ve been in a cave for months. Bright lights will blind you, fresh air, it’s like a vacation at the Bahamas.
I also enjoy how Wonder Woman’s home island had gorgeous set pieces, diversity of women, and artistically it hits every mark. By far, the look of this movie is one of the best aspects, because it’s refreshing from the dark tonality we’ve seen as I previously mentioned.
The end of this movie, you can tell Zack Snyder, had an influence on this film. It looks like the DCEU is going to always have a huge cluster fuck CGI battle at the end of a majority of their movies. Snyder is one of the writers, and everything that looks like a papa Snyder reference probably is. Everyone wanted to compare this to Marvel’s Captain America: The First Avenger. Yes, it does look like that film, and you can’t help yourself to compare the two films. On the other hand, I do like Captain America: The First Avenger, but I enjoyed this flick a helluva lot more.
Overall, the film had humor, it was inspirational to everyone. Men, women, and children of all ages will enjoy this. I said to myself in the theater, “This is the type of film I would take my daughter to see if I had one.” I believe this movie is bigger than that, I believe this is the type of film everyone will enjoy and see. I love how this movie tells our main character you can’t do something, build stereotypes around her, and overcomes all of that.
Funny, action packed, character driven, great cast, this is what the DCEU really needed at the moment. Gadot is literally the perfect casting choice for Wonder Woman. She’s bold, beautiful, and she is the whole sha-bang.I haven’t enjoyed a DC film this much since 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises. Definitely the best movie in the DCEU, one of the best movies of the summer, and in my opinion one of the best superhero movies ever! I believe this movie earns a perfect rating …
5 out of 5 Hairpieces!