Wonder Woman is a film directed by Patty Jenkins and stars Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Connie Nielsen, Robin Wirght, and that guy from Harry Potter who will make you say ‘Hey isn’t that one of the professors from Harry Potter?’. Wonder Woman acts as a sort of origin story to Wonder woman as it tells the story of her meeting Steve Trevor and going into the world to fight in World War I.
To start, Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman is perfect, she is charismatic, funny and yet empowering at the same time. She has presence in the movie that I have not seen in a female lead since Ellen Ripley, Marge Gunderson, and Clarice Starling. I’m saying saying she is necessarily better than any of them but she definitely brings a certain feeling to the movie that those characters were able to invoke as well. Chris Pine as Steve Trevor was probably my favorite part of the movie as he reminded me of a strong Harrison Ford performance where he is able to be serious, funny, charming and very entertaining. The moment that really sold him for me is when he is fighting in the alley way very early in the movie with Wonder Woman and he punches a man in the face and then shakes out his hand. This is just a classic Harrison Ford gesture and from that moment on I knew the Pine knew what he was doing in this role. The rest of the cast is very standard but passable as all of them sold me in their parts. Another plus to this movie would have to be the cinematography as some of the shots as time are terrific. The scene when Wonder Woman is going through the orange smoke in one of the German towns is especially beautiful. Lastly, there is some really great action the movie that could be genuinely exciting. Here I talk particularly about the end of the movie and the scene were Wonder Woman decides to fight for the first time, both truly great action scenes.
As far as the negatives go for the movie, their are a small handful. First off, just a couple of nitpicks that just kind off bother me but don’t ruin the film at all. For instance, how did the German’s catch Steve Trevor in a plane in a couple of boats? By the time they would have gotten all the ships to get moving Trevor would have already been long gone. And , at the end of the movie when Steve sacrifices himself for the world by blowing up the plane, I felt this was quite unwarranted, off the top of my head I thought of a few viable solutions. Steve could have asked Wonder Woman to either do what he did and blow up the plane in the air because we already saw she is immune to gas, or ask Wonder Woman to throw the plane away with a stick of dynamite in it or something like that. As far as what Steve did, why didn’t he just fly the plane back to London? Since the plane was scheduled to go there anyway, he could have just flown back to London and landed it there safely. However, I do understand why he died since it made the most sense for the story and offered the film real stakes and emotion. One other small thing would have to be the overuse of the slow-motion to fast-motion effect the movie kept using and just to make things clear I think when used right, this effect is awesome. I loved it in The Matrix and it worked in The Matrix because it was used sparingly. Sometimes with special effects less is more, some of the most memorable special effects of all-time are used very little like in the Original Trilogy of Star Wars, there is less than 20 minutes of lightsaber use, and in the original Ghostbusters the proton packs are used for less than 2 minutes. By the end of the fight on the beach I saw so sick of the effect that it became uninteresting and almost boring. Also, another small negative to the movie was the first half as everything was very unoriginal and was a lot like every other superhero movie. For example, the scene when Wonder Woman has to jump over the cliff to get to the building was the same thing as Spider-Man and Power Rangers where the hero has to make a big leap that tests their faith in their abilities. However, by the time Wonder Woman goes into battle for the first time the movie begins to create its own identity. Another glaring issue to me would have to be in the villains for the film as they were either full mustache twirling or not threatening at all. The villain Ludendorff was a little too over the top for my liking as I found his first scene to be a cheap trick to trick the audience into thinking he is a really bad guy but really it was just a shocking, out of place scene. His accomplice Dr. Maru, or Doctor Poison, was generic and forgettable and she and Ludendorff had a number of scene that I swear almost broke out into maniacal laughter.
*******SPOILER WARNING SCROLL DOWN YOU"LL SEE WHERE THE SPOILERS END*************
And the last villain Ares who turned out to be Sir Patrick was another choice I didn’t like very much either. To me, there are basically two models that form a villain and those models would be to have the villain have a sort of connection to the hero or have them be really scary. The connection is scene in Star Wars with Luke and Vader, or in the Dark Knight with Batman and the Joker as they have a very unique dynamic. The ‘scary’ villain is in characters like John Doe from Se7en, Anton Chigurh from No Country for Old Men, or any of the horror movie monsters like Freddy from Nightmare on Elm Street and Jason from Friday the 13th. When movies do this sort of ‘twist’ villain reveal, I feel it kind of ruins the end of the movie as in Wonder Woman the movie didn’t feel as if it was really leading up to fighting Sir Patrick. However, this twist has worked in the past for movies like Batman Begins and The Usual Suspects, but those movies still have the villain playing a major role in the story throughout the whole movie so there’s a connection formed between them and the hero in both. This is why villains like Kaiser Söze and Ra's al Ghul are good because you feel the betrayal more in those as both films dedicate a portion of the runtime forming and shaping the character to be something that they aren’t. So when they do turn it is emotionally effective. With Sir Patrick he was maybe in 4 scenes and in those scenes he either says exposition or is insignificant. So this twist just didn’t land for me and I hope all movies stay away from this caliber of twist for good.
*************************** **END SPOILER***********************************
Lastly, this movie has a lot of political buzz around it specifically in regards to feminism. For me, this movie hit me a bit hard with the feminist message. I thought it was fine and it doesn’t really bother me, but subtlety is key when it comes to these sorts of things. For me, some of the best uses of feminism are in movie like Aliens and Terminator 2: Judgement Day. These are two of my all-time favorite movies and a large reason is because of the female characters. These movies I think do a better job with feminism as they treat it as a thing they shouldn’t even address because it’s happening in the screen. In Aliens, by the end, Ripley works with all of her colleagues and there is no gender gap at all. Whether it’s Hicks or Ripley killing an Xenomorph, you gain a certain respect for all the characters as equals and to me that’s what feminism is all about. It should be about equality and how their should be no difference so why even address it and just show it. For Wonder Woman, I thought the feminism was handled really well at parts especially in the scene when she steps out from the bunker and just does what she does. It’s a great scene that conveys a perfect amount of feminism. It just shows Wonder Woman doing a thing and she’s great at it. The parts that bother me is when she says things like “I am that man”. Granted, these are only brief moments but still less can be more.
All in all Wonder Woman is a very good movie that I could recommend to almost anyone. I feel that has something in it for anyone despite if comic book movies are your thing or not. That’s why I would give Wonder Woman an 8/10.