I admit that I wrinkle my nose at more DC movies. The problem is twofold 1) they are rushing to copy the Marvel template by building a universe – Marvel has a nine or ten movie headstart and DC is at three and absolutely trying to shove everything in there – it’s not working 2) I mentioned this in my Wonder post but I’ll say it again, people are exhausted. The world is grim and terrifying at the moment and no-one wants to go to a movie and have this confirmed in fiction for another two hours, the stylised grey palette of the previous DC movies (with sad, put-upon heroes) is also working against them.
So when the reviews started to come out that Wonder Woman was doing amazing things at the box office, I had simultaneously high and low expectations. I wasn’t expecting much and yet I hoped that I would be wrong.
Here it is: it’s a really fun movie, it’s very likeable but it’s not great.
The basic story is our girl Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), partners with Chris Pine (the 3rd best Chris in the world), to try and stop World War 1 by killing the god Ares. You’ll need to bring some suspension of disbelief, you always do with comic movies.
Gal Gadot saves the day:
Gal Gadot carries the entire movie on the strength of her charisma, and at the expense of sounding like a complete douchebro, I couldn’t stop looking at her face. Gal Gadot has a perfect face. I am remiss to tell you whether she can actually act, she and the Rock are similar in that way, you don’t know if they’re actually any good, you just want to keep watching them. They have that thing you cannot name (it’s charisma).
Chris Pine is positively charming:
Chris Pine has never done it for me before. But he is really delightful in this. And I love that Steve Trevor wasn’t written as a condescending tool, he never talks down to WW/Diana Prince, it’s just a respectful relationship between two adults. It’s really bloody refreshing.
Everyone else is filler:
Here’s how I know that DC/Warner had no faith in the project and they were once again trying to stuff everything in there: I had no idea why there are sidekicks/ side-characters in this movie – were they trying to up the headcount? Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) brings along a rag-tag team of a smuggler, a translator and a marksman in this movie. For all they do, they may as well not have been in the movie at all (carried a door, sent a smoke signal). The marksman is a 4th-rate Simon Pegg archetype, why couldn’t they actually have gotten Simon Pegg? Is he busy?
As for the bad guys, they’re evil for the sake of being evil. There was a barely sketched out motivation about creating a sh!t ton of gas bombs to impress the fuhrer, even Dr Evil wanted a million dollars. Come on guys.
When it’s great, it’s great. When it’s bad, it’s meh:
Hand over my heart, there are several scenes that put tears in my eyes because they were so good (particularly the fight scene in the French village), and several scenes that were so meh, I know that I wouldn’t haven’t accepted them in any other movie (the final showdown is eye-rolling). It’s very uneven. I don’t know if the unevenness is due to Patty Jenkins writing over Zack Snyder but it falls apart into a CG mess by the end. The husband and I had conflicting opinions on whether the lasso or the arm shields needed the most work (definitely the arm shields)
Should I go watch it?
Chances are, you’ve already seen it so it’s probably a moot point. Go see it for Gal Gadot and Chris Pine and some amazing fight scenes. Leave your expectations at the door for a really fun experience. Fingers crossed that we get more Wonder Woman movies in the future (sidekicks not included).