I know tons of people were worried about how Wonder Woman would turn out. And based on the track of the movies from the DCEU, their concerns were perfectly understandable. Well, let me first say that Wonder Woman might actually be the best overall movie in the short history of this run of films. I’m sure reading that is good news to many of the fans out there, but you have to remember what you’re comparing it to. So, saying it might be the best in this particular case isn’t saying a whole lot when looking at how low the bar has been set.
Wonder Woman gets off to a very good start when audiences are first introduced to Diana as a young princess living on an island of Amazons. Up until this point of her life, the warrior princess (Gal Gadot) has never left the island and has been spending her days training for an attack on her homeland that may never actually come. There has never been much of a threat until an American pilot (Chris Pine) working for Britain accidentally crashes onto their shores and introduces its inhabitants to another world with a set of great dangers associated with the act of war.
I can just about guarantee that shown on the exotic island paradise in the first act will be the best segment of the movie to many. It’s also where they do much of the character development as we begin to find out who Diana will eventually become, and what drives her to succeed. This portion is fun, engaging and done well enough to give you the kind of hope that will lead you to believe that there is finally something truly positive coming at us from DC.
That’s fine and everything, but keeping that pace up ended up being a difficult task for Patty Jenkins and the gang. While it begins well when they’re on the island, things start to slowly head in the other direction once Diana leaves it for the first time in her life. The primary reason for this comes down to things becoming extremely slow and filled with pointless exposition. Much of Wonder Woman sees us bombarded with useless scenes like this throughout its duration.
Now, there are some decent things taking place between all of these fruitless additions. It helps in preventing the movie from becoming completely boring while also making me wish that there was a version of the movie that removed all of the empty stuff. If you did manage to cut out everything that was literally unnecessary, you’re talking about a decent movie that’s about an hour and forty-five minutes. There’s no way this should have been over two hours, since it simply doesn’t have the material to be that long.
Gal Gadot spends the most time on the screen during the scenes that mean something as well as the scenes that mean absolutely nothing. She gained a lot of fanfare for her portrayal as Wonder Woman in Batman v. Superman, so some people had high hopes for her in her first leading role. While she isn’t the worst actress I’ve seen being featured as a film’s protagonist, she essentially proves to be the female version of Henry Cavill the more the spotlight was put on her. The main difference between the two in my view is I prefer to look at her extremely symmetrical face a lot more than I do his for the most obvious of reasons.
Like Cavill (the DCEU’s current Superman), she isn’t charismatic and offers very little in the way of depth. I’m sure she can improve, but she clearly struggles with showing anything resembling range. As you’ll notice, the only real reaction that you ever see from her comes by way of her eyebrows. She’ll put them to use in order to show stress, worry or curiosity, but that’s about it. I also feel the need to point out that all of those expressions are almost exactly alike any time she puts any of them on display. Another thing I noticed is that when she yells or raises her voice, she almost always has her back turned away from the camera. That was strange when I watched it, but I’m assuming that this was done to hide her flaws as an actress.
To help in hiding her underdeveloped acting skills, they were smart enough to put actors around her who are good at what they do. They are also portraying characters with personalities who play a vital part in the film’s missions and overall story. This is something that I appreciate as it doesn’t happen as much as it should in movies regardless of genre. Doing this improves things because it allows the other actors to carry much of the load as they try to prevent her from being exposed too much. With time, I hope she gets better in the role and her career. This way, she won’t need to be protected as much as she is here.
Since he is the co-star, it’s no shock that the actor who helps with this the most is Chris Pine. I didn’t know what they were going to do with him, but they allowed him to showcase his talents and even perform some of the more comedic elements of the picture. If you still don’t know who he is by now, you should soon as this movie will show why he’s an underrated performer. The guy is once again legit, and proved to be a fantastic selection here.
Speaking of comedy, DC/Warner Bros. is continuing to move in the direction of making there movies funnier and somewhat lighter. Although I don’t have an issue with dark stuff, these feature films have been so dark to the point where they take the fun out of them. That’s something you shouldn’t do with the likes of Superman and Wonder Woman (to an extent), and I’m happy to see that they’re understanding that now even if all of the jokes don’t land as well as they should.
When looking at it as a whole, Wonder Woman is a mediocre picture with significant blemishes that cancel out many of the positives. I do feel that simply cutting out all of the useless scenes turns this into a decent flick that I might have actually watch more than once. It’s weird because even with all of its issues, this at least shows me that the people behind these movies are actually trying to improve them. Now all they need to do is continue to reduce the number of problems that have already been included while working on making these things better in general.
Director: Patty Jenkins
Film Length: 141 minutes
Release Date: June 2, 2017
Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures
- Score - 5/105/10