Reel Quick: Wonder Woman

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Wonder Woman (2017)

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Starring: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Connie Nielsen, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, that guy from Trainspotting with the really weird-shaped head, Lucy Davis

Directed by: Patty Jenkins (Monster; an episode of Arrested Development)

Synopsis: The Wonderful Woman must leave her women-only island resort so she can single-handedly win Wonder World War Woman I. 

What works: For the most part, the movie works pretty well and exceeded my expectations.

  • There’s a solid story and some decent emotional weight. WWI was a total horrorshow, and having it as the backdrop for a naive superhero is a great choice.
  • I never thought much of Gal Gadot as an actress, and from the limited amount of movies I’ve seen her in (Fast Five and Batman v Superman) she was not so wonderful. But she actually does a pretty swell job in this. She definitely looks the part, and it’s doubtful anyone will ever confuse her with Meryl Streep, but in this role she does a good job. And Chris Pine is pretty underrated, I think.
  • Despite the backdrop being pretty grim, the movie is much lighter than the other DC dreck, which is completely refreshing.
  • The action scenes are great. The trench fight, in particular, is one of the better superhero movie scenes you’re apt to see. Gal Gadot really looks great kicking ass and everything is totally believable for a woman in a metallic bathing suit.

 

What fails: For the most part, the movie works. There’s a solid story and some decent emotional weight. But there are a few things that stuck in my craw, whatever that means (BIG SPOILERS):

  • Diana’s mom keeping her half-goddess/half-sister of Ares heritage from her doesn’t make sense from her standpoint and only makes sense so it’s a secret for the audience so it can be revealed at the end. It seems that that information would have been pretty helpful for Diana’s journey. Keeping her in the dark was actually a dick move, and saying it was to protect her from Ares finding her made no sense. She was going after Ares anyway. And letting her know that she was the actual God Killer and not the sword would have been very helpful information. Diana not knowing that wasted a lot of her time and almost got her killed. And why the charade with the sword if Queen Hippolyta knew that wasn’t true? And she could have shown Diana what Ares actually looked like in a drawing or something. If she was that concerned about her, she could have made everything a lot more simple for her. Hippolyta was actually almost a villain in this.
  • So Doctor Poison has these gas capsules that General Ludendorff inhales and it makes him super strong and a match for Diana. Why didn’t she give that gas to, you know, the fucking German army? Seems like that would have helped them in their war.
  • Charlie, the Scottish sniper who is supposedly the most amazing shot in the galaxy, has a moment in the film where he has to shoot a German sniper that’s killing everyone in town, and he freezes up. I’m not sure why this happens (supposedly because he has bad dreams), even though everyone was killing dozens of soldiers already in the moments leading up to it, and the German sniper was actively killing innocent people. But because it happened, you fully expect a moment of redemption for Charlie later on in the film, like he shoots a key bad guy and saves Diana at a crucial moment. But that never happens. The only thing he ends up doing the rest of the movie is watching Germans through his scope. It seems like they just forgot to wrap up his arc, or maybe just cut it out in editing because the movie was already long enough as it was. Or he just can’t ever bring himself to kill anyone ever again? Ok. But as it stands, he’s basically useless. In fact, the whole band of misfits that Steve recruits is pretty useless, except maybe when Sameer helps Steve get into the German Gas Party.
  • There is some unacceptably dodgy green screen in this picture, particularly when Steve is escaping the German munitions plant. It looks like something that would be in a ’90s superhero movie like The Phantom.

Overall: Initially I didn’t have much interest in seeing this, based solely off of the absolute onslaught of hot garbage of the DC Extended Universe movies so far. But I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Wonder Woman is The Godfather Part II compared to Batman v Superman. Not that that’s hard to do, but it’s a good superhero movie with a very likable hero who just wants to do some good for the world, which is kind of refreshing, as most of these origin movies center around reluctance to be a hero. Wonder Woman is more like Captain America in that sense, but even Cap gets jaded eventually. And that was also set in a World War. And he had a shield that stopped bullets. And fought Germans. And my wife thought that Chris Pine and Chris Evans are the same person. Ok, maybe this movie isn’t the most unique thing, but it’s still worth your time, and hopefully the positive reception to it will force DC to up its game with its other properties, as long as they lock Zack Snyder in a funhouse maze.

Score: 7.75 Snorts of Power Gas (out of 10)

 

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