Film Review: 'Wonder Woman' (2017)
Finally, Another Good Modern DC Movie
Wonder Woman's lore is admittedly one that I'm not very well-versed in when compared to many other DC superheroes; my only real exposure to her consists of a couple comic strips and the Justice League cartoon. In spite of this, I was interested to see how the June film would turn out.
So, where do we begin? With an origin story, of course. Before Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) became the world's most famous heroine, she was Princess Diana, an Amazoness (I just prefer how this sounds over Amazon — Yugioh has me by the tits) training to become a formidable fighter. She was sheltered from the rest of the world, confined only to an island paradise populated by others of her kind, until she one day met a man for the first time. This man is an American spy named Steven Trevor (Chris Pine), and he warns her people of a World War-reminiscent conflict beyond their paradise. Having never stepped out of this sacred place, Diana convinced her protective mother (Robin Wright) to let her go with Trevor to end the conflict. It is here where her journey from naive grasshopper to legendary warrior begins.
For the sake of keeping this about entertainment, I'm going to refrain from commenting on the political side of things, so this review won't be very long. But I will say this: while I don't think the film is as particularly complex as something like Logan or The Dark Knight, its message is by no means a weak one. The world is extremely black and white, and it can be hard to say whether or not things like rescue and punishment are truly warranted in a given circumstance. However, it all boils down to what one believes is the right way of approaching dilemmas — even if it's not logical or justifiable — and this on its own is a never ending debate. On the one hand, the film does have an opinion on it, as expressed by Wonder Woman; but on the other hand, the ideas presented by other characters show that discussion is absolutely welcome here.
That being said, I feel that the script could've been stronger in some areas, especially where conversations between Wonder Woman and Trevor are concerned. Their relationship is obviously forced; I personally didn't feel the chemistry between them, and saw them more as screwball comrades (which was nonetheless pretty funny). I liked the fun interactions between Wonder Woman and Trevor's little troop — I only wish that the camaraderie was explored further, beyond her relationship to Trevor.
I also rather liked the leading lady herself. Gadot is a pretty decent actress, and although she's a little more passive than I would've liked her to be, her spirit and intuition nevertheless pull the character through and do keep her independent from other characters for the most part. She's thrusted into an environment entirely unfamiliar — and unfriendly — to her, so not only does she have to face an impending threat, she also has to develop a more realistic mentality about the world and fight against stereotypes. It's not easy, and I sympathized with her throughout her plight. Still, she's not a complete pushover, and definitely sticks to her guns as far as her viewpoints are concerned — but she also has an enormous heart and open mind that keep her grounded.
Which is why I feel that Doctor Poison (Elena Anaya) deserved far more screen time than she got, because I would've liked to see a more concrete encounter between the two women and their polar opposite perspectives coming together.
Interestingly enough, my favourite part about the movie is the well-timed combat, which isn't something I'd normally say. Don't get me wrong though; I love fighting in movies and video games. It just so happens that I always find other attributes to appreciate in more action-oriented movies. But anyway, back to the film's combat. Stylistically, these are the best fight choreographies I've seen in a long time — even better than Logan's, if you ask me. I really liked the teamwork aspect of them, and the melee is especially gripping. Slow-motion is overused, sure, but you'll get over it pretty quickly when you realise you've got your dropped jaw to worry about. Some of my favourite moves include Wonder Woman's low spinning sweep kicks and the Amazoness' shield boosts.
The film's overall aesthetic is quite a neat throwback to the Victorian era with added fantastical elements, and I like that they updated Wonder Woman's costume to better resemble a warrior's plated armour rather than an over glorified playsuit. The CGI doesn't look that great, considering the other recent CGI-heavy movies that came out before it, but everything else is wonderfully eye-pleasing — namely, Wonder Woman's beautiful home in Themyscira.
I do look forward to seeing where Wonder Woman goes in the future, but for what we have here, it's certainly a step in the right direction. Despite the harsher criticisms that have been made towards it, I believe Wonder Woman is a well-made film, and I enjoyed it a fair bit. If you're already a superhero film fanatic or just want a little fantasy to get excited about, Wonder Woman is for you.