By Patrick Tedder
Two Wonder Woman pieces on one site?! Abigail Morran had a great take on her experience of the movie. You should read that AND this article.
Everything that the DC Universe has served up sans Chris Nolan has been a shit sandwich with caviar on it. There's been a fair amount of bad with some good as the company has desperately tried to keep up with Marvel's cinematic universe. One disaster after another brought us to Wonder Woman, a character already introduced in Batman vs. Superman, getting her very own standalone origin film. So … what works and what doesn’t?
Gal Gadot. She’s far more interesting than Chris Evans ever is as Captain America in the Marvel films. I know they’re not the same character and I wouldn’t argue if someone wanted to parallel Captain America and Superman instead, but the reality is that Patty Jenkin’s DC film certainly harkens back to Marvel’s own origin film set in WWII. Anyway, Gadot is incredibly charming in all of her emotions as both a strong warrior and a loving person who does not understand the ways of a war-torn world. Also, can you imagine anyone as Wonder Woman now after seeing her? She looks every bit the part.
Themyscira. The beautiful island along with all of the lore that accompanies it separates Wonder Woman from many other superhero films. This is an island with Amazonian warriors, proud of its heritage dating back to Zeus and all of the Greek Gods that I personally find fascinating. It’s all different from anything else being done right now. In many ways, it’s the first act of the film that I may consider the best.
Most of the action. It’s pretty easy to follow and shows us some things we haven’t seen in any recent superhero films. Wonder Woman feels unique in the way she fights and I love how the film shows some of the action from her perspective, setting up certain conventions of logic that then hold up for the majority of the film.
Patty Jenkins. I’d say the director pretty much nailed what she had to work with. I imagine, that regardless of what she might say, Zack Snyder’s influence on the DC Universe must have been slightly tough to shine through. Don’t get me wrong, I do like Zack Snyder, but unlike Marvel, DC has pretty much put all of their chips on his style of directing … which thus far has been bloated and grim. Thankfully, the production quality for Wonder Woman is well done and for the most part, makes sense throughout. I wouldn’t say there are any notable directorial choices, but she keeps the ship from crashing, something it easily could have done in less capable hands.
Also Gal Gadot. There are times when her lines fall flat. She certainly has an enormous amount of talent, but I couldn’t help but think that perhaps she hasn’t honed her craft yet.
Captain Kirk. Sorry, Chris Pine just didn’t add anything for me. I’d argue that practically any scene Wonder Woman isn’t in is a bit of a bore. Pine does a lot of heavy lifting, but he’s also incredibly generic. I know the story is supposed to be that he’s seen some stuff, but I never really saw that in his character. One of the smartest choices the film makes is seeing him out by the end.
Wonder Woman’s man friends. They kind of fall into the Chris Pine category, but the troops that help Wonder Woman accomplish her task are quirky in the most boring ways. I suppose I appreciate some level of subtly, but again, they don’t really do much. At the end of the day, Wonder Woman kicks ass and most everyone else is there to watch her do it. All they add is variety.
The run time. This is a film that doesn’t feel like it’s 2 hours and 21 minutes, but it doesn’t feel short either. There’s at least one scene that I can think of that could have been cut from the film. Really, it just needed to be trimmed here and there and I might have felt more favorable about the entire experience.
The plot/ending. What’s frustrating about Wonder Woman is it feel constrained, as if it could be far better, but instead has to tell a story that Marvel already did years ago. There’s very little that I found surprising once Wonder Woman leaves her island home. Additionally, the ending reeks of the premise that a superhero has to have a big fight with a bad guy. All of the action that takes place during the big conclusion is fine, but also nothing we haven’t seen in better movies. Sadly, the best action sequences have already played out earlier in the film and I was unsure what exactly it meant when Wonder Woman defeats her foe.
In conclusion, Wonder Woman is an important film for the absurd reason that we haven’t had a female-led tent pole, an embarrassment to Hollywood the likes of their lack of racial casting. It’s also an enjoyable film, but one that’s unnecessary and far from astounding. Having just seen it earlier today, I kind of am pretty tired of not only it but the idea of another superhero film (I’m looking at you Spider-Man) coming out this year. This is a film that really could have left a major stamp but instead seems to settle, having to shoulder many of the fouls DC has already created.