OldKingClancy posted a MOVIE REVIEW item: 6 months ago

Wonder Woman


Directed by: Patty Jenkins
Written by: Jason Fuchs
Cast: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Danny Huston, Said Taghmaoui, Ewen Bremner, Robin Wright, David Thewlis, Elena Anaya, Lucy Davis
Studio: Warner Bros.
Genre: Action, Adventure, Comic Book
Official Site:
Plot: " I can save today. You can save the world"


It’s fair to say that, like quite a few people, the DCEU and I haven’t had the best of starts, I liked Man Of Steel but it didn’t hold up at all on rewatch, Dawn Of Justice barely scrapped a passing grade because I’d seen The Killing Joke earlier in the year which took the title for worst Batman film of 2016 and even with the amount of vitriol spewed on Suicide Squad, I wasn’t prepared for how fucking dull that piece of shit ended up being. So why did I see Wonder Woman? Well for one thing it was actually getting strong reviews so my interest was piqued as to how it could stand out in the DCEU and if it would be enough to save the franchise, for another DC actually beat Marvel to the post to bring to life the first female centric comicbook movie of the modern age so I was interested to see how they handled that aspect.

So does Wonder Woman save the DCEU? It probably does but I doubt I’ll shell out cash for the theatrical experience again.

The film charts the life of Diana, princess of Themyscira, as she begins her training as an Amazon warrior against the wishes of her mother, Queen Hippolyta who fears that the ancient God Of War Ares would return from death to kill Diana should she prove herself as a warrior. When pilot Steve Trever crashes into the ocean near the island Diana saves him but they are soon followed by a German garrison who attack the island, while the Amazons win the battle they are not without heavy losses.

Steve explains that he is a spy for British intelligence working undercover to recon a German base of operations where an unspeakable poison is being produced by General Ludendorff and his science officer Dr Maru that would kill thousands and extend this apparent ‘war to end all wars’ to unforeseeable ends. Diana realises that Ares must be corrupting the hearts of men to fight one another and goes with Steve back to the world of men to protect them.

Her disappointment comes quick when she learns that her idealist views of peace and war have no place in the modern world, a world where armchair generals can justify the deaths of thousands to save millions, a world where the bigger picture means ignoring the pain and suffering of the little people around you, a world where good and bad are often blurred together. Not wanting to give up all hope, Diana and Steve team up with a group of Steve’s friend, fellow spy Sameer, marksman Charlie and smuggler Chief, and with funds provided by Sir Patrick Morgan, one of the few aristocrats arguing for the armistice and the road to peace, they make their way behind enemy lines to find Ludendorff and put an end to The Great War.

The film shares a few too many beats with the first Captain America flick to truly be called unique and a couple of the plot twists don’t hit like they should, the film tries so hard to make you believe that one guy is Ares in disguise that it becomes so obvious that her isn’t, but there’s enough here to make the film work on its own merits. It’s a different breed of origin story because here Diana knows what her powers are and how she can use them, instead this is Diana’s origin with war and with man, her idyllic homelife on Themyscira is contrasted sharply against the ugliness and brutality of the war and it forces Diana into the uncomfortable notion of realising that good and bad cross over more times than she would like. It’s why the W.W.1 setting works, firstly to introduces elements of sexism which is a clever move the film doesn’t put a lot of focus on, Diana preferring to use her status as a soldier rather than as a woman, but more importantly by placing it in W.W.1 the film is able to place Diana into a conflict that’s never been seen by the world of men before, one where there are no easy answers to her questions, where the people around her are all asking the same questions. It’s a good touch because Diana’s arc requires her to realise the nature of mankind but since no-one can give her a direct answer she’s left with her own choice on how to approach the matter.

Characters were good, the supporting cast got let down a bit but Gadot and Pine made for a fine leading double-act. Steve’s friends were all solid, Sameer being an ex-actor was able to charm and lie his way into any situation, Charlie might’ve been the stereotypically drunken Scotsman but he had a heart and there was hints to a darker past that could explain his drinking. Chief had the potential to be the most interesting of the group, in an ideal film we would’ve gotten more out of them all but Chief stood out for being a smuggler working for both sides of the war and yet we only ever saw him interact with Steve so a missed opportunity to have another morally grey area for Diana but even then Chief had his moments to shine.

Ludendorff is a little too clichéd to be a formidable villain, he’s the same old bad-tempered, power-hungry, let-me-kill-me-own-soldier-to-show-you-how-bad-ass-I-am, dickhead that we’ve seen in 100 other war movies that anything he does just feels old and played out. Maru, or Dr Poison as she was known fell into the same trap but made it work better, a mad but brilliant scientist who revelled in the destructive properties of her work, a little more from her would’ve went down fine.

No spoilers on who Ares actually is – though it has already been revelled by toy companies so hooray for the internet – but they do add a bit of intrigue to the final act with how they’re able to showcase their aptitude for war while also setting mankind up for their own downfall. Ares does use the most of their limited screen-time to set themselves up as the main villain and their motives tie in nicely with Diana’s arc.

Chris Pine makes the most of Steve Trevor, making him funny, charming and loyal but not without his flaws. Being a spy Steve is use to moving quickly and quietly, and as a result has more than likely had to ignore several atrocities to complete his missions. It’s not that he’s heartless, the effects of Maru’s new gas weighs heavily on him, it’s that he understands the nature of war and the need to focus on the bigger picture. His time with Diana shows him the necessity to remember the little people and the innocents stuck in a war they never wanted to be in while he brings out the belief of choice in her, Pine never makes Steve a stalwart hero or a roguish antihero but rather a mixture of both, he make unpopular choices but always with the end-goal in mind, always with a practical mind-set to approach the situation. It’s that realism that makes him standout, where Diana can only see the one solution to a problem, Steve teaches her that it’s not about the one goal, but the many different choices a person makes towards that goal that makes them who they are.

Of course this is Gal Gadot’s movie and if there’s anyone still complaining about her casting after she nearly stole the show in Dawn of Justice, this should shut them up. Gadot is able to bring a very new, very young take on Diana that fits with the film’s tone near perfectly, she’s naive to war and goes into it with the belief that cutting off the head will end it. The arc she takes through the film shows her that cruelty is all on sides, innocents get hurt and she can’t save everyone, it’s a harsh lesson but one that proves important by helping Diana see that it’s how she chooses to help mankind that counts overall. This is where Diana stands out from Clarke and Bruce in the DCEU, both Clarke and Bruce are questioning why they won’t to be a hero in a cruel, violent world but Diana is the first one to actively want to be a hero, her naivety might bring some harsh reality but it’s also her defining strength to do the right thing no matter the cost and Gadot brings a level of hope and charm to the character that we’ve been missing from this franchise for too long.

Director Patty Jenkins makes the sep to big-budget cinema rather well with her comic-book debut, the opening scenes on Themyscira show a true paradise filled with vibrant colours that sets the place apart from anything the DCEU has had to show to date while also using it to contrast the war-torn portions in Europe. It’s in that war that Jenkens manages to makes Diana work best, the shock and horror around her is nothing new to the eyes of anyone who’s ever seen a war film but seeing them through Diana’s eyes and you do get the feeling of something heavier. An extended sequence in the second act where Diana marches into No-Man’s Land (which might just end up being THE defining Wonder Woman moment of the 21st Century) that leads into a battle to save a remote village brings out Diana’s battle prowess and some pretty damn impressive aerobatic skills. The whole scene is probably the best part of the film because its a fight that didn’t need to happen but Diana took it up anyway because it was the right thing to do and it makes a later portion of the film hurt all the more because of how the film turns Diana’s victory against her.

Sadly though it’s the film’s third act that lets it down and illustrates the film’s biggest issue in general; it does nothing new. Oh yeah there’s a female in the lead now but that doesn’t take away from the fact that the film’s main elements are nothing new and maybe that’s because I’ve seen too many war films but for as much as I’m praising the No Man’s Land sequence, replace Diana’s naive sense of justice with a soldier’s sense of honour and you’d get the same scene but with less acrobatics.

Ok maybe I’m stretching things a bit but the film isn’t the masterpiece that’s been thrown around, honestly I believe that people are so shocked by the first competently made DCEU film that they’re celebrating a little too soon, yes it’s the best film DC have made since the Nolan trilogy but a good film doesn’t automatically mean it’s a great one. The final act pits two gods against each other and suddenly we’re having another Man of Steel ending but on a much smaller scale and with less controversial neck-snapping, that’s not to take everything away from the finale, Steve has a couple of big moments, but Diana VS Ares is nothing new to the DCEU and it’s nothing new to comic-book movie and it just highlights that the film itself is nothing new. It’s fun and it’s well-made and Gadot own the character but it’s got some key flaws that hold it back.

To set the record straight, I liked Wonder Woman but I don’t see the big hoopla about it other than it’s the first DCEU film that can objectively be called good. Maybe that’s me being burnt one too many times but take it as is. Gadot makes her claim for being a solid choice for the role of Diana and could end up being DC’s MVP depending on how long Batfleck decides to stay, Pine makes the love interest role work by introducing Diana to the morally grey world of man and teaching her the best man has to offer and Jenkins directs the film with enough exciting thrills and solemn gravity to make it work as a blockbuster, but I can’t in all good consciousness call it anything above good. Whether it’s the lack of decent villain, the typical war-movie status or maybe it’s just me being pretentious after being spoiled for the past 10 years with a better class of comic-book movies, but for me Wonder Woman isn’t the wonder it’s been made out to be.



Other reviews of this film: Moviefreak2010 (10/10) , MonsterZeroNJ (7/10) > Display all
sLaShEr84 at 04:26 PM Jun 05

Solid movie, DC comics needed this to be a successful film after there last couple of movies.

Moviefreak2010 at 10:21 AM Jun 12

great movie

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