This movie has a lot riding on it. It’s the first female-led superhero film, the third time for DC to get their minds right, and it’s the third superhero film of the year out of 6. Can this be proof that third time is truly the charm?
Wonder Woman is the third film in the DC Cinematic Universe, and the third superhero film released in 2017. This action fest stars Gal Gadot, reprising his role as Princess Diana of Themyscira, who goes on a quest to World War I era London to stop the war to end all wars. Along with her on her journey to prove herself is the dashing pilot/spy Steven Trevor, played by Star Trek’s Chris Pine. The film also stars Danny Huston, Connie Nielsen, David Thewlis, and Elena Anaya. As previously stated, there’s a lot riding on Wonder Woman. But is it any good? To put in layman’s terms: yes.
First off, Gal Gadot proves that she is more than just “good” as Princess Diana. From the get-go, she has that spunky fighting spirit while also being kind and gentle when she needs to be. What’s also great is that although she’s a great warrior and a competent person, there’s also a sweet naivety to her, where she doesn’t know everything and wants to know more. Chris Pine is also great as Steve Trevor. He’s attractive, obviously. However, besides his looks, Pine is a great contrast to Diana and is a great mentor for Diana into the world of man. Connie Nielsen passes off as Queen Hippolyta very well. She’s not in the movie for much, but when she is, she’s a passable mother-figure that helps lead Diana on her epic quest of epic proportions. The supporting cast was decent enough that it added an extra comedic flair to the film while not detracting from it as a whole.
The action sequences in the film are among the best the DC Extended Universe has offered. While both Man of Steel and Batman v Superman had the visual spectacle that hungry comic book fans want, Wonder Woman has that with the added bonus of emotional weight. Every battle has a meaning, unlike the more divisive Batman v Superman. The scene in the trenches, as seen in the trailer, is probably the best scene in the entire movie and that is saying a lot. Each action sequence was well-lit, exciting and is a perfect example of how to make a female superhero film well. For decades, Hollywood has been having problems with female comic book movies. Elektra, Catwoman and even the forgotten Supergirl film all failed in attempts to give credibility to solo superhero films. While Black Widow and Scarlet Witch have helped fill the void, there wasn’t any solo films to give credibility and show Hollywood that movies with female superhero leads can take off.
But with all of the praises I can give to Wonder Woman, everything wasn’t fantastic. For instance, the villain situation in the film felt a bit too predictable. It had a hint of Iron Man 3 going about it, with a “swerve” at the end. But the way they executed it seemed very rushed and it still fell into the superhero movie trap of destroying the main villain because of something “stronger than any power”. In this case, it’s love. It’s a fine enough message, but it still felt like a cookie cutter third act of a superhero film. Granted, Danny Huston and David Thewlis did the best they could, but the entire situation itself felt un-original and bland, despite the visual spectacle. Also, the scenes with the Amazons felt very short and, in the end, very pointless. The beginning part and her training scene felt necessary, but the departure felt a bit ham-fisted. Connie Nielsen was brilliant in the minutes she was featured, but this scene felt like it didn’t really mean anything. We never see the repercussions of Diana’s decision. They just fade into the background only to reappear as key figures in Justice League. It’s sort of like “Ayesha” syndrome: a character/characters that seemed to be pivotal to the main hero end up being completely unnecessary and are there to be part of something bigger.
At the end of everything, Wonder Woman set the bar high for female superhero films and films in general. A great lead, a fun and charismatic supporting cast and blistering action made up for the villain situation, the cookie cutter third act and some out-of-place and unnecessary subplots. It’s not on par with Logan, but it’s another hit for the superhero film genre. We truly live in the golden age of superhero films, and it doesn’t look like we’re slowing down any time soon.