It’s no secret that the DCEU has had some trouble gaining critical success from their movies, and many have looked to ‘Wonder Woman’ as the savior. I had the honor of attending an early fan screening, and I’m happy to say that the fan’s prayers have been answered!
‘Wonder Woman’ focuses on the story of Diana Prince and her introduction to the world during World War I where she fights along side her newfound ally, Steve Trevor, to take down the Germans.
I think Patty Jenkins has found a great tone for DCEU with this movie. ‘Wonder Woman’ has a great balance of serious and humorous moments. The humor was also more situational and didn’t come from straight up jokes and one liners.
The movie has something which I think has been missing from the DCEU thus far: HOPE! Wonder Woman is seen as a hero to all the people she saves and even to the audience. She makes it her first priority to help people, despite what might be at stake (take notes Superman). I think it will be a huge change for the better if this is the direction all DC films are heading.
The story is good, nothing groundbreaking, but what really holds the movie together is the characters. All of the actors do a phenomenal job in their respective role, and (almost) all the characters have clear intentions and great development. The main protagonists of the story are the ones featured in the photograph from ‘Batman v Superman.’ The three men that join Steve and Diana are Sameer, Chief, and Charlie. Sameer and Charlie are very well rounded and serve a purpose to the story. I really felt connected to them, and I could get behind their reasons for fighting. Chief, on the other hand, felt more contrived than the other two. He had no real reason for being in the story and his statements contradicted his actions. Chief was given the least amount of screen time. He’s a cool character, so it’s a shame that he was underutilized.
Let’s talk about the stars though, Steve and Diana. Chris Pine garners the biggest laughs in the movie with his dry humor, but his character is still serious and the most determined about his role in the war, other than Diana. Before watching the movie, I was a little skeptical about Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. I’ve never really seen her in anything, and her role in ‘Batman v Superman’ was too minor for me to gain a grasp of her acting abilities. Thankfully, though, she does a tremendous job playing the titular star. It really shows when she reacts to all the things of the new world she is introduced to. These were my favorite moments because Gal Gadot did a great job making it believable. Not only did these two actors play their roles great independently, but their chemistry was unmatched. Right from their first encounter, you feel the connection which is existent the whole movie. None of the characters ever act as a “person in distress” that the other has to save. Each character serves their own purpose and brings their own strength to the table.
The villains are pretty good. Dr. Poison was very odd, but I grew to enjoy her character. I like how she didn’t play a huge villainous role and was working more from behind the scenes. General Ludendorff was also good, but parts of his character didn’t really pay off or make sense in the way I thought they should have. It’s no secret that Ares makes an appearance in the movie. He was good overall, but I was a bit disappointed in him, mostly due to him being another cliche villain. That’s all I can really say about him without spoiling anything though.
The cinematography is amazing, of course. There are so many beautiful shots in this film, especially of Themyscira. The first time Wonder Woman is shown in full costume gave me chills, and seeing her running into battle was iconic.
Those battle scenes though… WOW! That’s literally what I wrote in my notes while watching the movie. There are a few great action scenes, but my favorite one was by far the one where Diana infiltrates a German occupied village, which is featured in the trailer. Everyone in the audience was cheering by the end of it. I’d say this scene is on par with the Batman warehouse fight scene from ‘Batman v Superman.’
The lasso of truth is awesome, and it’s utilized perfectly. Seeing people try to resist it gives a good laugh, but it also helps further the plot.
The special effects are great. There was never really a time where anything appeared fake, except maybe in the third act a little bit.
There are only a few things I disliked about this movie. The villains aren’t anything special, and they are sometimes cliche. The third act also gets a little cliche and goes the way of most superhero movies. The character ‘Chief’ doesn’t serve any purpose. The first half of the film has some slow moments which drag on a little bit, but they are necessary to build the world and develop the characters. One thing that kind of bothered me was that no one really asks questions about Diana. She is seen with her sword and shield in public a few times and no one bats an eye. Steve’s secretary doesn’t even question when she sees Diana performing superhuman abilities. Some of these are minor complains, though, and they’re not really anything that take you out of the movie.
Wonder Woman is, without a doubt, the best DCEU movie so far. So many things in this movie work so well. From the cinematography to the story, and especially to the characters, Wonder Woman is an all around great film that has some minor problems with weak villains and a weak third act. I am looking forward to the future of the DCEU if this is an indication of the new direction they’re heading.
So far this year has been 3/3 on its superhero movies! Let’s hope ‘Spider-man: Homecoming’ continues that trend when it comes out in July.
(Side note: There were no after credit scenes at my screening, but it’s not uncommon for studios to withhold them for early screenings.)
‘Wonder Woman’ releases in theaters on June 2.
Before she was Wonder Woman she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, trained warrior. When a pilot crashes and tells of conflict in the outside world, she leaves home to fight a war to end all wars, discovering her full powers and true destiny.