Wonder Woman is a 2017 superhero film directed by Patty Jenkins, written by Zack Snyder, Allan Heinberg, and Jason Fuchs and stars Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, Connie Nielsen and Elena Anaya. The film follows the life of Diana, The Princess of Themyscira as she comes into the world of men to fulfill her goal of eliminating the God of War.
Alright, before anyone lynches me, this is a really enjoyable film. I had a ball watching it with a couple of friends of mine and I’m proud so say I led the cheers in the cinema hall when Wonder Woman actually walks out onto the battlefield as “Wonder Woman.” Stuff like that makes me happy. The good parts of the film are more than obvious within the first half hour. Gal Gadot and Chris Pine elevate a rather generic plot to because of the charm they individually possess and the chemistry they share as a duo. One can easily buy the relationship between them. Dare I say, they are the most “real” couple of any of the films on the Marvel/DC slate. I genuinely cared about their journey as a duo and was affected by every twist and turn their characters encountered.
Some of the action sequences are truly epic. Yes, those scenes and the film at large do suffer from some poorly rendered CGI/green screen effects but being invested in the action might help one turn a blind eye to those moments of imperfection. The humor is very well done, a few of the supporting characters are very likable and most of all her theme music. WOW. Just WOW. I’ve been unable to get that music out of my head since Batman V. Superman. It is one the best superhero themes since Batman’s theme from The Dark Knight trilogy.
The film’s major drop off points come with its initial character establishments and at the final conflict. There is an insufferable blandness with the first 15 minutes of the film. Robin Wright and Connie Nielsen are criminally underused and so are the island full of Amazonian women. This wouldn’t bother me as much if the film left me with a good taste in my mouth at the closing exchanges.
The third act of this film begins with so much promise. There is an absolutely brilliant moment that alludes to a lot of character growth which is acted and directed perfectly. The story could have gone one of two ways from that point on and to my dismay, the story chose the wrong end of the stick. How the third act plays out is a microcosm of the film at large. Fantastic filmmaking and storytelling sandwiched between generic superhero tropes. There are elements of brilliance lost to noise. I’d have loved to see a more emotionally resonant ending to cap the film off but we go with what we have.
The film also indulges in a long-standing frustration of mine which permeates many superhero films, a few examples being, Superman vs Doomsday, Superman vs Zod, Wonder Woman vs Ares, Star-Lord vs His Father, Scarlet Witch vs Vision, Iron Man vs Hulk and much more. The gripe being God-like characters punching each other in a cloud of noise and CGI wth no discernable meaning and an anti-climactic end. The power levels of those heroes/villains are never fully explained on a specific nor are their weaknesses. So, when a film says the character has attained a higher level of power, the audience has no frame of reference to use as said characters have been god-like all along. Also, killing a God should be impossible for obvious reasons. I’d say look to Dr. Strange on how to handle fighting Gods with aplomb.
My sliver of advice to any moviegoer would be to manage expectations while walking into watch this film. It is most definitely a good film with a lot of personality, charm, and effervescence while also falling prey to the many cliches that accompany films of this genre.
P.S. – A 94% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes is great to look at and all that but to use the website to your advantage and to gauge the actual quality of a film, check this little line under the tomatometer titled RATING. It gives you the actual decimal score of the film on a scale of 10, that might act as a more accurate representation of the film’s overall standard.