Friday, June 23, 2017

Wonder Woman - Review

You're going to be really surprised by this one.

I'm a Marvel fan at heart.  It's no dig on DC, I've just always gravitated to the Marvel characters and stories a little more than DC.  That being said, I do read DC books, because I just generally love superhero stories.  I'm currently getting caught up on the Rebirth series from DC, but I was a huge fan of the New 52 stories that came out a few years back.

So my exposure to DC is limited, and my knowledge of Wonder Woman even more so.  I've read her books in the past, but I always liked her best in the Justice League of America.  Since my Wonder Woman knowledge isn't as good as my Spider-Man knowledge I went into this movie with an open mind, and I am truly thankful for that.

Upon seeing the initial trailer my first thought was "Oh, it's DC's version of Captain America".  I wasn't wrong, however I didn't expect to enjoy the film as much as I did.

If you're looking for your TL;DR for this review here it is - this movie is fantastic.  Absolutely fantastic.

This movie took all those mistakes that the other DC movies make (having a movie that is entirely a montage aka Suicide Squad, rushed story with pointless fights and Jesus Batman aka BvS, and collateral damage the movie aka Man of Steel) and rather than repeat the cycle of pain, it did something unheard of in the DCEU and had a cohesive plot with strong character development.

We first see Wonder Woman in the Louvre where a Wayne Enterprises armored van pulls up and delivers a briefcase to her desk with an image inside from World War I, Diana's first experience in the world of men.  The rest of the movie is Diana's story.

We are introduced to the Amazonian training on the island of Themyscria and to a young Diana.  We see her marvel over the warriors as they trained for a battle they weren't sure would ever come, as well as we see her mother teach her about the history of the island and their purpose to life.

We see Diana train throughout her youth until something enters into Themyscria's ocean that has never been seen before...a man.  This is when Diana is introduced to the world outside of Themyscria and to the fact that war is raging around them.  Knowing that it is Diana's duty to stop war and save people's lives, she decides to go against her mother's wishes and enter the world of men to stop the god of war Aries, knowing she can never return to Themyscria.

Diana is taken to London with Steve Trevor, the first man whom she has ever met, where she is introduced to the world of men for the first time, as well as the politics that govern them.  After several frustrating conversations, she and Steve gather a team to enter the front lines of the war and stop General Ludendorff and Dr. Maru aka Dr. Poison.

Dr. Poison is working on developing gases that would not only give the German army immense power, but also lay waste to entire towns with zero chance of survival.  Diana believes that General Ludendorff is the god of war Ares, and that should she defeat him, the war will end.

I won't give any more away, because I think everyone should go see this movie!  If you want DC to improve and Warner Brothers to listen, you've gotta support the good movies, and so far this is the only one!

So what made it so good?  Batman isn't in it, Superman isn't in it, Harley Quinn isn't in it, so why would anyone like it?

I think that's the general impression people have.  Batman, Superman and Harley Quinn are very popular characters, however so far within the DCEU they all have been horribly misrepresented.  Rather than having them been taken seriously, they instead were treated like money making tropes.  Wonder Woman is actually treated like a film.

First and foremost, this movie has character, and it's characters have character.  The film felt organic, totally fluid.  Though it was an origin story, it was fresh, new, and not rushed.  They did an incredible job building a solid foundation for Wonder Woman while doing something DC rarely ever does, they gave each character personality!

Normally in DC movies everything is so serious, everything is always so serious, Batman is serious, Superman is serious, because they are always facing these global threats.  Wonder Woman is very serious, but they found ways to work in very much needed levity that are still prevalent in times of war.  This helped keep good pacing on the film, and not make it feel like it was droning on for over two hours.

Gal Gadot did a bang up job as Diana Prince.  To me, this felt like a really tough role to play.  Not only did she have to master all these amazing battle tactics, but she also had to play the role of an alien among humans.  She had to appear as a child among men, learning what our world is for the first time, that is no easy feat in my opinion.  She also had to have blind perseverance to her life's goal, while dealing with roadblocks like the government, human nature, and weapons she has never encountered before.  All in all, though she was a grown woman, Diana was just an ignorant kid who thought she could change the world...and from that she learned what it meant to be human.

Personally I think that setting the film during World War I rather than World War II was a very smart move.  I feel a majority of films revolve around WWII that we see all of our superheros who have been around long enough to take part in.  WWI is really an amazing time period as this is one of the most deadly wars of all time.

It was in WWI where we saw the introduction of new and frighteningly deadly weapons.  Airplanes, submarines, flamethrowers, tanks depth charges, poison gas, the list goes on and on.  The face of war had never seen weapons like this before.  It makes sense that having another unknown force, an Amazonian warrior would fit well into this facade.

Speaking of WWI - General Ludendorf, the guy who Diana thinks is the embodiment of Ares the god of war, is a real guy.  The real General Ludendorf was very prominent in WWI and even after he was a strong political force to be reckoned with.  He was a power hungry man, just like the the movie, and firmly felt that peace was simply a period between wars, nothing more than that.

This makes me happy to see that the writers took WWI and weaved Wonder Woman into the fabric of the war, rather than having the War revolve around Wonder Woman (much like in Captain America).

One last note before you go see this movie.  This is a super important piece of cinema for women.  Not only has Gal Gadot taken her place among the many other amazing and badass women of entertainment (Ellen Ripley, Buffy Summers, Black Widow, Xena), but now we have a female director making a record breaking movie.  This is insanely important, and I'm so happy it happened with a superhero film.

I feel like had this movie had bombed the media would have gone on a tyraid about it like they did with that horrendous Ghostbusters remake, and it would firmly keep women as a "back up" to men in the profession.  Thankfully that did not happen.  What I hope is that women will be considered more for leading hero roles as well as in director roles moving forward.

Let's be honest there is nothing better than a strong female hero.  Women are badass, way more badass than men.  They have more depth, they have sexiness, they have so much more strength.  I prefer female heroes to men.  I always have and I always will.  Hence why I'm a huge fan of Joss Whedon.

Overall, this movie nailed it.  Great fights, great story, and a setup that leaves me wanting so much more from the DCEU.  Let's hope that Warner Bros is listening to what people are saying, and they can turn the sinking ship around.  I think this is a great first step, and I'm excited to see what else they turn out moving forward.

What did you all think?  Speak your mind in the comments!

1 comment:

  1. You nailed this review super well. While I still thought the movie was just meh, I felt you hit on all the points that made it "meh" for me instead of downright garbage like the rest of the DCMU films. You called it right, they all felt like cash grabs instead of concerning themselves with character and feeling.

    I didn't like the movie, but it was the best of the DCU so far.