Wonder Woman (2017) Review

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Summary: Before she was Wonder Woman she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, trained warrior. When a pilot crashes and tells of conflict in the outside world, she leaves home to fight a war to end all wars, discovering her full powers and true destiny.
Pros:
Cast and Characters. There are a lot of characters in this film, a lot of secondary ones, and ones who Diana interacts with but I think there are only a few that really stand out.
  • Gal Gadot as Diana/Wonder Woman. Diana is an immortal Amazon princess. The film starts off with her in the present, after the events of Batman v Superman, and then we are moved back in the past with basically a long flashback. We see her as a child, someone who wants to be a warrior, especially after hearing the tales her mother told about the Gods. She eventually is taught by her aunt Antiope how to become a great warrior. She is much more bright eyed, naive and idealistic. Diana is very determined to fulfill what she has been taught about her people, she goes against her mother’s wishes with Steve to fight in the war, believing that her participating will fix things. As the film goes on, she clings to that idea, while also being a fish out of water in London, which is a source of a lot of humor. She’s very intelligent, she’s read thousands of books, she can speak many languages and its obvious that she is very caring, due to her reactions to a lot of tragedies she witnesses from the war. Her idealism causes her to get very disappointed in the end to the point where it’s kind of sad. I think Gal Gadot was a great casting choice, when she was first selected, I only knew her from the Fast and the Furious movies so I thought she was just too skinny, but after seeing her in BvS, I was excited to see more of her and I think this film lives and dies with her. The way she plays Diana’s hopefulness, her awe as she figures out some of the things she’s able to do, her determination at saving everyone, her interactions with Steve… now I do think when it came to the more dramatic parts, it wasn’t as strong of a performance but I still think she was great and easily one of the best thing in the film.
  • Chris Pine as Steve Trevor. He is a Captain from US Air Service, he is also a British spy. He is a bit of a rogue in the beginning, he comes off in the beginning as someone who can hardly believe what he’s seeing when he is on Themyscira, as well as how Diana is. It’s like “girl what?” lol, and Pine does that well. He is a charming guy and he tries to help Diana navigate the “real” world, by answering questions, by trying to get her to understand how things are, especially as he’s seen them. Compared to her, he is cynical and there are times where he looks so irritated or stressed out due to her idealistic views of things. He tries but it’s hard. I liked him, I think Chris Pine was really likable in this role, I thought he had great chemistry with Gal Gadot and even though it did dip into romance, I thought it was well earned as it’s not rushed, or forced in there. There is a great scene near the end before the final fight where I think it’s his best scene in the film where he’s talking to her, trying to get her to understand why things didn’t happen the way she thought once she felt she completed her task. When there are dramatic moments, especially between him and Gadot, he performs it better than she does, which I think helps… he was probably the other one of the best things in the film.
  • Robin Wright as Antiope. Being with the Amazons was great in itself but Robin Wright was fantastic. She is Diana’s aunt and is the General of their army and it shows as her physical prowess is amazing. She trains Diana against her sister’s (the Queen) wishes due to what she believes in, she’s ultimately right, but she is such a great character who serves her purpose in the beginning of Diana’s life.
Action Scenes. There are three major fight scenes. There are smaller moments here and there but there are three BIG ones.
  • Themyscira beach scene. We get to see the Amazons fight against German invaders on their beach, as they are accidentally discovered thanks to Steve crashing in their water. That scene was so great because seeing those women kick butt like that, with their awesome fighting skills, their weapons, a lot of their stunts was so intense that my eyes were huge.
  • WWI Scene. We see this scene the most in the trailers, it starts with Diana determined to cross No Man’s Land, and it continues into a tiny village on the other side of the German trench and that entire scene is absolutely amazing. Gal Gadot has physical experience, I’m not sure how many of her own stunts she did, especially since she was pregnant during action reshoots, but everything she does in that scene is amazing. We really get to see Diana’s fighting skills.
  • Final Fight. This is her fight against the main villain of the film and it’s big, it grand and it’s fun. I almost felt a bit overwhelmed because it was so much, but it was a great overwhelmed feeling. It also had some great emotional moments due to her fighting him parallels other things happening during that scene.
The Effects. As a superhero film, obviously there has to be a lot of effects and there are. There are times where it gets a bit video gamey but it’s not an eyesore, unless you just don’t like that at all. The final fight is very heavy on the effects and almost overwhelming because it’s so grand and quick. There is also a really beautifully animated scene where Diana’s mother tells child Diana a bedtime story, that was really cool.
Chemistry/Small Moments. There are some great small moments between Diana and Steve that are really sweet. After a big battle, they have a small moment where they just talk, understand each other better, and he teaches her how to dance, which does come in handy in a later scene so it’s not random. It builds their relationship more, it helps them understand each other more while also allowing the viewers to understand more as well.  While the film has big moments, there are a lot of slower moments that don’t feel slow, it feels relevant. There’s a great scene between Steve and Diana on a boat. I thought all of that was handled well.
The Humor. This movie is actually really funny, being that there are “fish out of water” parts in the film, mostly with Steve in the beginning and then with Diana later, it calls for a lot of humor. Diana also being naive in the world of man is also funny and endearing most of the time. The surrounding people reacting to her is great as well.
The Music. It’s big and grand, when it kicks in, especially during fight scenes, it just adds to the WOW factor of the film. Not to mention, that Wonder Woman theme is awesome, she was the best part of BvS, that theme kicking in when she showed up, so when they played it in this film, I couldn’t help the smile on my face.
COLORFUL. Oh my gosh!! I love that this film has colors! Well mostly in the Themyscira, it’s so bright and colorful, it’s definitely where most of the color comes from in this film. When she’s in London, it’s obviously kind of dark and gloomy and really grey, but there are definitely pockets of color in the fighting scenes, Diana’s costume is colorful unlike how it looked in Batman v Superman. The blue dress she wears (in the trailer where you see the sword down her back), is really beautiful on her and when she runs outside in it, that blue on the gloomy blue of the environment, it was beautiful.
The feeling. There is just something amazing about seeing Wonder Woman on the screen fighting. No one actually ever calls her that in the film, but she definitely is in the film. Just the idea of this powerhouse woman being on the big screen, that she is not sidelined in her own film, that her entire presence is being led by a female director also helps as well. She looks great on film, her outfit is great and practical, her views of the world, she is likable and someone you’d want to follow. The fact that she tried on many clothes in London to find a skirt she could fight in is just a great addition to her character that it adds to the care she’s given. I’m sure many women felt a swell of pride at seeing her, I don’t think it’s overly feminist nor do I think it’s “under” feminist as there’s a nice balance between both Diana and Steve pulling their weight but ya know, she owns every other man though.
Cons:
Supporting Characters. To be quite honest, outside of Diana none of the supporting characters feel that important or that interesting. The group of guys she ends up spending her time with are fine, they have funny moments but I don’t think I would have been upset if they died minus Chris Pine who we get to spend more time with. The Amazons are an interesting group of women but they serve their purpose outside of Robin Wright’s character.
The Villains. So, it’s kind of weird but we know about the Poison lady Dr. Maru from the trailers but she’s not that interesting, there are a few other people we come into contact with, that I don’t want to spoil and there’s another person working with Dr. Maru who has a lot of interesting potential as well, and I had some questions about him but meh. There’s a third villain that I won’t spoil here, that one was probably the best one, especially in the last act but I can’t help but think with how the movie was, that maybe it was too soon to handle them they way it was handled.
The Final Fight. So, Diana faces off with the big baddie, the effects are great (a bit cgi-ish but it’s not that bad), and it’s pretty great watching her fight this person BUT once it was over, considering what we’ve been told, what Diana learned all those years ago, and how things are presented, the end of the fight feels like a contradiction to what the villain was saying before they started fighting and throughout the entire fight. It’s a bit too long and over the top at times.
The Story/The ending. So I think it’s safe to that the story isn’t anything new really, idealistic person grows up separate from the world, goes out to save it thinking they know what to do, may have some awesome wins in there but the real battle comes at the end where they are shown that their views were naive and most likely wrong, they’re now disappointed then something happens where they have to believe in it again and overcomes. Yeah, I mean it’s textbook and while its in this film, it still doesn’t feel new or fresh. With that said, the ending is interesting because after the big battle, it’s almost kind of hard to talk about this without spoiling, the entire time Diana believes that mankind is involved in this war because of an entity she grew up hearing about, she ends up learning the hard way that that’s not completely true…but once the final battle is over, the soldiers who happened to survive react in a way that makes it seem like she was right… which then begs the question, well what about the other wars? What about WWII? I mean, I get what the idea is but the execution was a bit weak in the end.
Overall, I really liked Wonder Woman and it definitely is the best DCEU film so far, but the bar isn’t that high so everything after this has to live up to, or surpass this one. I think both Gal Gadot and Chris Pine were standouts, Robin Wright was great in her supporting role and the entire time spent on Themyscira is fun, colorful and awesome as we see these Amazonian women kick butt and take names. All of the action scenes are fun and great, the last one is a bit overblown and long but it’s still fun. Wonder Woman herself is a great character, the film lives and breathes with her as well as Chris Pine, their chemistry was great and their small moments helped build their characters to each other and for us. The effects were handled very well, the film was colorful which was needed for this character. The music is great, WW’s theme always gets people hype when it kicks in and that feeling of finally seeing her on the big screen, not playing second fiddle in a boring story is just great. However, the villains aren’t that interesting and the last act has a bit of some weird story elements in it that I find contradictory. I didn’t want to put this as a con per say, but it did kind of effect certain areas of the film, it reminded me a of lot of Captain America, perhaps that can’t be helped as they were both created during times of War and do have similar attributes but the film itself reminded me a lot of The First Avenger to the point where in my head I would go “that reminded me of Cap”. But overall, I really liked Wonder Woman, it’s definitely a game changer for DCEU, we will see if they take notes from the care in this film and put that in the others.
Rating: 4.29 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen Wonder Woman? What did you think about it? Did it live up to your expectations? Are you excited to see more?

 

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