Wonder Woman - Review
Wonder Woman checked a lot of long overdue boxes. This was the first female led superhero directed by a woman. It is the first female superhero movie in any of the "shared universes" being established, and it is the first one that looked promising. (Catwoman and Elektra looked terrible before they came out.) So keep on reading if you want to know if Wonder Woman lived up to that promise.
Short answer - yes it did. This was an absolutely sensational movie. The DCEU - which started with Man of Steel and has Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad in it - desperately needed a win. Patty Jenkins was able to get DC and WB that win.
Movies within established shared universes always come with baggage. It is just the way it is. The trick is how to deal with that baggage - use it to your advantage, or let it drag you down. The DCEU had a lot of baggage. But like the strong positive protagonist of this movie, Patty Jenkins took everything that was thrown at her and turned it into an opportunity.
The result of that opportunity produced a wonderful well written, well casted and smooth flowing fun movie. We had seen Gal's Wonder Woman in Batman v Superman before. She was the bright spot in that dark garbled mess. So I was very excited for her solo outing that would have minimal involvement from the people who gave Batman v Superman all of its problems.
Most successful films - in any genre, but the super hero one in particular - need three things: humor, heart and spectacle. There was more humor and heart in the first twenty minutes of this movie than there was in anything in this universe that came before it combined.
It gained that momentum and never let up. The chemistry between Gal Gadot and Chris Pine was incredible. I would watch a Netflix sitcom of those two characters navigating everyday life. The casting was perfect, there wasn't a weak member of the supporting cast, and everyone brought something new and fresh to the table.
If I were to have any criticisms, it is that the set up of Diana as a little girl happened too quickly. I can imagine another edit somewhere getting to take its time. There was also a bit of a villain problem. But as proven by almost every Marvel movie ever made, that won't stop it from being an insanely entertaining and fun movie.
I don't have much credence to say this, but I can see how inspiring this movie is to women. I have heard reactions from many women and that seems to be the sentiment, which is wonderful. There is finally a strong female headliner that is never the damsel in distress nor the pure sex object. She is treated similar to a male in their own super hero movie, yet is still distinctly female which is very refreshing to see. Usually tough strong women are very masculine, or they're doing something for a man or....some other bullshit like that. Men never get story arcs like that, and hopefully now, women can start getting bigger and better stories told (in front of and behind the camera!)
As far as the technical aspects go, the color grading was incredible. It wasn't dark and flat like Man of Steel and Batman v Superman, yet it wasn't completely over the top like (the overcompensating) Suicide Squad. The score was incredible as well and when they use her theme which was introduced in Batman v Superman it feels earned. The "No Man's Land" sequence is easily in the upper echelon of super hero moments in the history of movies. I actually got emotional. I can't imagine how a woman who waited her whole life to see this on screen would have felt during that scene. It is truly incredible and that sequence is worth the price of admission alone.
The film was paced very well, it slowed down when it needed to have a character moment or two, and sped up when it started to feel sluggish. Neither felt forced. It felt like every quiet moment and every action scene were absolutely earned. The movie is almost two and a half hours long, and it really didn't feel like it. I wanted more as it ended, in fact, I knew there was no post-credit scene, but my group along with the entire theater stayed until the very end of the credits anyway because we desperately didn't want it to end.
Look at this picture. This is why movies are made. This is why they are important. This is why representation in movies are important. That girl might like Batman or Captain America, but they don't resonate with her like Wonder Woman. This is a culturally important movie (as Black Panther will be next year) and should have existed long before this. Don't ever underestimate the power of cinema and what it can do for somebody. Every movie is that for somebody, but Wonder Woman is that for a great many people.
If DC and WB had to get one right, I am sure glad it was this one.
Wonder Woman is in theaters now and you should absolutely go experience it.