The DC universe finally
has a film that isn’t terrible. It’s Wonder Woman. Gal Gadot reprises her role again as Diana in a film telling an origin story the first time. It’s a sequel disguised as a prequel released months before Justice League another sequel to the prequel Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Will this be another box office flop? Or will this be the first of many successes to rival the cash flow of Marvel?
Seen in 2-D with Atmos sound, a late night showing that ended after midnight. This is better read if you watched the movie (Possible spoilers ahead).
The trailers before the movie
War for the Planet of the Apes, The Mummy, Transformers: The Last Knight, and Justice League.
Wonder Woman, the superhero, returns in a stand-alone film spinning a tale about a secret island ruled by Amazonian women, visiting London, and the horrors of World War I. In the meantime, the last surviving Greek god casts a mysterious shadow over Diana’s life and destiny as she is yet to discover her true self.
Patient storytelling, slow immersion of the protagonist into a conflicted world, and a sense of humor does Wonder Woman good with an audience exhausted for a performance better than Man of Steel, Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Suicide Squad.
Wonder Woman is an origin film in a time many tire of another retread origin story. But we’ve never seen a Wonder Woman story before. She’s courageous, self-righteous, and naive. It’s a fish-out-of-water story set in World War I that doesn’t feel too ripped from Captain America: The First Avenger. Gal Gadot is a very convincing demi-god, a superhero with abilities that would rival Superman. Together with Chris Pine, who still has that Star Trek vibe, plays Steve Trevor paying homage to the character as a spy/intelligence officer.
I found the film nearly flawless until the third act. Like many superhero films, the villain is either generic and underwhelming or is a 3-D spectacle. Wonder Woman has both. The audience is pointed to a pair of German baddies; a General and a chemical weapons expert. They’re as generic as they come, they work for “the other side” and cheat to turn the table of war. Meanwhile, Diana is obsessed with the legend of Ares, the Greek god of war. He’s the synonym of Satan, a super-natural personality, craving power, cast out, but may return to Earth to bring war and death through his puppet-mastering influence. Throughout the movie, I wasn’t sure if Ares was an elusive red-herring – a phantom symbol of humanity’s flaws and cruelty. Isn’t the sadness and violence of war enough? Alas, no. Ares is a literal, character. Emerging from disguise, he shows up as a giant and we get a CGI finale festival. While the movie itself was great, the final conflict is dull. Ares wasn’t anyone we cared about and neither what they did in the battle. Steve Trevor, on the other hand, is someone we care about. His journey with Diana is the consistent theme through the film. When together, the film works best. Diana alone with CGI, is not.
Wonder Woman is the best DCEU film to date because it has the best character development to date. That credit goes to the director.