Movie Review: “Wonder Woman”
Born on a hidden island inhabited by the Amazon race, Diana has grown up as the daughter of the Amazonian queen and as the only child on the island. Despite her mother's best efforts, she grows up longing for battle and ends up being trained to fight better than any Amazon before her. One day, a plane crashes in the ocean just off of the shore and Diana rushes to save the pilot. What she discovers is that the pilot is a man (the first man she has ever seen), and that this man, Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), tells the Amazon women of the war to end all wars that is taking place. Diana fears the worst. She fears that the god of war, Ares, has made his return and that he is the one responsible for this war. She knows that it is the duty of the Amazon women to protect mankind from such a war. Going against her mother's wishes, Diana joins Steve Trevor as they journey to the world of man to stop the war. To do so, she must find out if Ares has returned and find a way to stop him while saving as many innocent lives as she can along the way.
The Pros & Cons
Diana Prince (+10pts)
Steve Trevor & The Team (+6pts)
Steve's Last Scene (-2pts)
The Writing (+8pts)
Diana's Powers (-2pts)
Pro: Diana Prince (+10pts)
Diana Prince got some great character development in this movie. She is strong, brave, and gives her fair share of commentary on the issues in the world of man. She is faced with the best and worst of what mankind is capable of. This gives her an internal struggle that was captivating to watch. In some scenes, she sees the beauty in humanity. In others, she is disappointed by the morality of men and how their society is constructed. I liked this element because I thought that while Diana got frustrated with mankind, I always felt like she still had faith that man can generally be good. This character was also entertaining to watch because she starts out with a one-track mind, but she slowly grows as she starts seeing and experiencing humanity.
Everything I have mentioned about this character is a result of the writing, but if the actress playing Wonder Woman gives a weak performance, none of this works. With casting a model such as Gal Gadot, there are obvious and understandable concerns that she would not be able to pull it off. I was always willing to give her a shot and after seeing her brief part in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and then in this film, I am so relieved to say that Gadot nailed this role. Again, the writing of this movie is easily the best of any DC movie thus far (current cinematic universe only), so that plays a huge part in why this character works. That being said, I though Gadot did a great job of bringing all the elements of this character to the screen. She captured Diana's fierce nature and her love for humanity. She also brought out her strength, courage, and compassion. Diana being a well-written and well-performed character is the biggest reason why this film works.
Con: Villain (-4pts)
While the development of the protagonist was very strong, the same can't be said for the villain. I would even go as far as to say it was relatively non-existant. This movie makes the decision to go for a plot twist in the villain's storyline which makes it so that developing the character would give away the twist. I thought the plot twist was a successful one, but the villain's character development was sacrificed to do so. There is also the fact that more time had to be given to the development of Wonder Woman.
Ultimately, I understand why some narrative decisions were made. One decision gave a decent plot twist while the other is a narrative method that has worked very well for Marvel; it worked well for this movie as well. While I don't think the overall film suffered, I cannot ignore the fact that weak development made for a pretty generic villain. Luckily, the film more than makes up for this.
Pro: Steve Trevor & the Team (+6pts)
Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) was another strong character. While most other characters had questionable morality, Steve always clearly had good intentions. He wants to stop the war just as Diana does, but he is more realistic than to think Ares is behind it. The two (and their conflicting theories) make for an interesting dynamic because, in almost every other way, the two are very much alike. It made for an interesting duo because the godly origin of Wonder Woman seems so bizarre to Steve, to the point where he thinks she is just a crazy woman who was raised in a society that has been isolated from the rest of the world. This provides a decent number of comedic moments that work well on screen. I also thought that these two actors had good chemistry; they were fun to watch on screen together. Diana introduces Steve to parts of the world that he could never have imagined and Steve shows Diana the best parts of humanity. These were two characters that had similar ideals and immensly different pasts, which made them complement each other very well.
When they set out on their mission to stop the war, Steve recruits a few men who have varying expertise to assist them on their mission. The team was a lot of fun and had a misfit brotherhood type of feel. They were introduced about 40 minutes into the film, which gave a fresh feel to the rest of the story.
Con: Steve's Last Scene (-2pts)
Okay, for the sake of avoiding spoiler territory, I am going to be extremely vague on this point. Just do not misinterpret the title of this con. By last scene, I simply mean the final scene in the movie that he is in. Does he live, does he die? You'll have to see the film to find out. As far as my issue with Steve's last scene, there is a decision made in that scene that could have been very easily avoided. It just felt like a colossal plot hole to me. The threat had been neutralized (or at least it seemed like it had been) so I just do not understand the logic behind that decision.
Anyway, that is all I will say about that scene. It just seemed a bit weak and seemed like it was written that way as a plot device.
Pro: The Writing (+8pts)
Despite the few plot holes (which made for very small issues), this movie was written very well. Following Diana as she grows up, discovers her powers, meets Steve, and joins the world of man was a lot of fun to watch. I also thought the storyline was balanced very well and very naturally with the action. The film never feels too heavy on action or dialogue. It has a very natural and balanced flow throughout the entire run time. The stakes are high and the characters are likeable. There is decent action right from the beginning and it is the icing on the cake throughout this entire movie. This film is all about Diana and her new relationship with Steve and mankind, with a focus on her journey to becoming one of the greatest superheros of all time.
The main weakness of each of the previous DC films (in this current cinematic universe) has been the story. For this film, the story was one of its biggest strengths.
Con: Diana's Powers (-2pts)
I had trouble narrowing in on problems I had with this film and this con is proof of that. It may seem small, but Diana starts discovering her abilities once she is an adult, even though she experienced no type of event that gave her these abilites. This implies that she has always had these abilites (such as extreme strength). So my question is why did she never notice that she was that strong before? She never got frustrated as a child or mistakenly break any object? Did she never realize that she was no ordinary Amazon? These are questions that are never answered, which makes it clear that her discovery of her abilities as an adult was an obvious plot issue that the writers had trouble answering. I will say that they hid this issue very well and her discovery of her powers was still fun to watch. At the end of the day, this does not hurt the story much for me (probably won't hurt the story at all for others), but it is a minor plot hole that is worth noting.
Grade: A- (91pts)
DC finally figured it out. They figured out the riddle on how to make a great film without Christopher Nolan. It turns out, and this may blow some minds here, that if you want a good movie, you need a well-written story. Who knew? Anyway, this film has great character development for Diana and Steve Trevor. The movie has a very strong plot (aside from a few minor plot holes). There are some entertaining comedic moments and it has great action sprinkled in throughout. This was a well-rounded and balanced film that was entertaining in almost every way. It had a couple of very minor plot holes and its villain were poorly written, but the film was able to make up for these minor issues.
Watching the Amazons was cool. Seeing Diana be thrown into the world of man was very fun to watch with her struggle to acclimate to the society of mankind. Wonder Woman was depicted in the best way possible. She is strong, brave, has an incredible amount of compassion, and is completely independant. This film has everything that fans have been waiting for and it was exactly what the movie business needed from its first major female-led superhero film.