DC has finally made a good movie again!
A few things must be said before the real review begins.
We finally have a sensible three-act structure! Bountiful jokes that are actually smart and makes more than a few audience members laugh! Characters we can actually care about! A great hero who cares about saving people and smiles for a change!
Thank the powers that be for this movie!
Moving right along.
Wonder Woman is the fourth installment in the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) and follows Diana Prince/Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) as she seeks to kill Ares and end World War I.
Gal Gadot shines like no one else in recent superhero films. She was the perfect choice to be Wonder Woman as she nails the fish-out-of-water character the hero has always been. She is clueless about the world outside of Themyscira, her island home populated by the Amazon, fierce warriors who are all women. Diana knows very little about the world, and Gadot portrays the character in a way that you can’t help but adore and admire her.
Wonder Woman is a kind compassionate, strong, and determined hero. Director Patty Jenkins, screenwriter Allan Heinberg, and Gadot all show that they understand the character to bring Wonder Woman to life the way she was meant to be. Everyone Diana sees in need of help, she has a genuine desire to provide aid to them in any way she can, exactly the way Wonder Woman should be. When Diana hears of the war from Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), her love interest, and deduces that Ares, the god of war, must be behind it, she never hesitates to do anything she can to stop him. She is driven, she has a purpose, she makes the major plot points happen. This is another thing DCEU films have struggled with; their main characters, such as Superman, simply react to everything because the plot demands they do. Diana herself moves the plot forward because she is a great character. Through everything she does and says, Gadot gives the world the Wonder Woman they need and deserve, as well as the franchise itself.
The chemistry between Gadot and Pine is flawless. The two of them work off each other in a compelling and humorous way that it makes them both feel like nobody else could have been cast in either role. An entire scene is packed with jokes about how Diana does understand part of Steve’s culture and it plays out like it would if the situation really did happen. We are never reminded of how Diana and Steve come from different worlds in weak, self-important dialogue that shoves that fact in your face. Gadot and Pine provide one of the best relationships ever portrayed in a superhero film and comic book movie writers and directors should be taking notes.
The editing is on point with how a movie should be put together. We are introduced to Diana as a child immediately and her origin story is built up through a logical ordering of scenes and it hits all the essential elements needed for a solid screenplay. There isn’t a fifteen-minute long opening sequence full of exposition that doesn’t properly set up the characters; in fact, it is the exact opposite of that. Diana gets the right kind of setup and development to make us care by the time she goes on her journey and what follows is a coherent plot. Each scene is arranged to make the movie flow smoothly. Nothing feels out of place or is given a non-sensical transition. The editing succeeds because it successfully tells a story about characters most audience members can care about without detracting from the main plot or creating side plots nobody cares about.
There are just two big problems with this movie–the slow-motion and the finale. The first time Wonder Woman is revealed in full costume and fights bad guys is great to see, but you remember that scene from the trailers in which she clears a room full of German soldiers? That’s part of the sequence that has her walking onto the battlefield, blocking bullets and all, but when she fights in the room, every other shot is in slow-motion. First of all, the DCEU has had more than enough of that to last for the next couple of years. Secondly, when you use slow-mo for literally every other shot in a two-minute span, it gets old. It is no longer cool to look at for that moment. The rest of the sequence is packed with amazing action and Wonder Woman being a real hero.
Finally, the finale suffers a similar fate as past DCEU films. Wonder Woman confronts Ares, and it is 99 percent computer-generated. Now, nearly every superhero film may be mostly comprised of visual effects, but when nothing the actors did on set was real and little to no props were used, it gets distracting. Just like with Batman v. Superman, this movie’s finale suffers from big, flashing lights, desaturated color, a weak villain that was easy to see coming, and action that is inferior to the kind that preceded it. However, Diana and Steve never fail, even in the climax; their actions and dialogues towards each other save the ending from being that much harder to watch. Just like with all the damn slow-motion, Warner Bros and DC need to quit it with the huge, oversized scale of a final battle. You can do a smaller fight and it can be equally as effective.
In the end, Wonder Woman stands as the best DC film since The Dark Knight, boasting great leads, a fantastic hero, a compelling love story, and solid editing.
Wonder Woman gets an A
“Wonder Woman, she’s amazing. I love everything that she represents and everything that she stands for. She’s all about love and compassion and truth and justice and equality, and she’s a whole lot of woman.”-Gal Gadot
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