What you have is a film that is going to make money even if it’s bad. It’s part of a franchise where they all slot in together along the line. Wonder Woman is part of that cash cow stream that studios are flooding the market with. It’s an action film with romance and comedy, throw in some magic and mythology and that’s about it. Sure there are some messages to take home about strong independent women, man destroying man and man destroying the earth. But the movie is tiring, some plot lines just don’t make sense and unless you’ve kept tabs on the whole Justice League build up or a Wonder Woman fan, it is a bit confusing in some points.
Wonder Woman starts by Diana Price an Antiques Dealer working for the Louvre receiving a briefcase from Bruce Wayne. Inside is the original picture of her standing with her band of misfits when she first went into battle. With the picture is a little note from Bruce Wayne wanting to know her story. So she sends an email as the audience goes on a journey through her memories of how she came to be living outside the hidden island, Themyscira aka Paradise Island. How she became banished from her home, stopped a war with the Germans, found love, lost love and came to be an arts dealer.
This is Wonder Woman’s first major movie since her creation. Debuting in DC comics back in the early 1940s the main live version of Wonder Woman was a television series in the mid 1970s. From here the fierce independent woman has had a string of animated movies and television series. But until Batman vs. Superman in 2016, Wonder Woman hadn’t made it to the big screen in a live action film. A long time coming, but the entertainment industry is greatly dominated by high paid men, until now. The industry is clearly evolving with a great deal more releases with leading ladies, all female cast and strong independent woman leading the way. That’s not to say Wonder Woman is a movie just for women, it has plenty for the other half to enjoy. At points, it felt more like a fashion shoot of women in lingerie with some action on the side.
Gal Gadot (Fast and Furious, Date Night, Keeping up with the Joneses) takes on the role of Wonder Woman and absolutely nails the strong independent woman character. But rather than beef up the strength and attitude, she holds herself to be beautiful and feminine and at points motherly. This adds to the contrast between her god like super powers and acting as a human. Gadot manages to navigate some comedy along side Chris Pine but seems to struggle letting it come naturally. The chemistry between Gadot and Pine wasn’t entirely believable. Gadot managed to show the emotions but failed to connect with them which begs the question if Pine was their best option as her love interest.
Chris Pine (Star Trek, Jack Ryan – Shadow recruit, Blind Dating) plays Steve Trevor. Pine gives his usual performance of smart witted line delivery you’ve come to know him for and it absolutely works for this role. This role for Pine isn’t anything new as he plays a tough on the outside but soft on the inside man of war. Not a breakout performance but this works so that Gadot can stand out and not fly under the radar of her leading man. Though his character does come with a great deal of questions as to why an American is a Spy for the British Intelligence and how he came to know his band of misfits.
While the story line of the film is a great set up to anyone who didn’t already know the background of Wonder Woman. It was greatly stretched out and took its time to get to the point, a whole two hours and 20 minutes to be exact. There were also holes that seemed like they were once filled, but at some point they were emptied again. For example, why is Wonder Woman an Art Dealer at the Louvre. Where did the band of misfits come from and how, aside from helping fight the war, do they fit in. There was a lot of attention on Charlie played by Ewan Bremner (Train Spotting), the story touched on his background but never explained why.
The decision by Director Patty Jenkins, to open and close the film by way of telling a story from memories only worked with Titanic. This felt like an easy excuse to jump into the story without having to put a great deal of thought into how to start it off. Jenkins has mostly worked directing television with the likes of Entourage and Arrested Development. Her only other major big screen effort was with Monster back in 2003 starring Charlize Theron, another film about a strong independent woman. Though in that case she was far from a super hero. It was a perfect match with Jenkins and Wonder Woman, however it felt like should she give it another go some of the gaps and space fillers as mentioned before, might have been better played out.
Visually the film is pleasing to the eye full of colour and vibrancy. In contrast to the dark Batman films it’s a refreshing change. The CGI was rather impressive except for one particular rope wielding scene where once again a film makes you think you are part of a computer game rather than a live action film. On the other end you have the score which at some points was a little overpowering. A real pushing for the heartstrings style from of which you would come to find in more of an adventure self discovery film than a super hero one. There were points where Wonder Woman was taking in her surroundings after a devastating battle and the score stood out more than the performance.
Overall this film is fun, it’s got adventure and action, fit women in little clothing and some good fun super powers. It’s a movie you can go watch without having to put too much effort into. If you’re a fan of Wonder Woman, DC or the Justice League this film will be right up your ally. However if you are looking for something with substance, a great story line or some powerful onscreen performances, maybe wait for another DC release.
Review by Jay Cook
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