There are a million and one Wonder Woman reviews out there already and more will surely follow, but I couldn’t call myself a superhero movie fan if I didn’t take the time to talk about it. The Jack and the Geekstalk team discuss the movie on our latest Geeks Talk Podcast episode but I want to just discuss a few specifics.
First of all, I’m not going to review the film in extreme detail, picking it apart and analysing every little piece. I just want to talk about certain things that occurred to me while watching the film, but let’s do a mini review now.
I enjoyed the film, that is certain. It is not a perfect film by any stretch but I had a good time watching it. It’s not a stretch to say that this is the best DCEU film released so far and while I still prefer Man of Steel (possibly an unpopular opinion), I acknowledge Wonder Woman to be the better film. The story was solid, the acting (for the most part) was good, the score was engaging and fit the visual tone and the action set pieces, bar one sequence were very entertaining. There will be countless comparisons to Marvel’s Captain America: The First Avenger which are hard to argue against, particularly the last act (it’s almost a carbon copy) but I like that film too so I didn’t mind it.
Gal Gadot was incredible. I loved her in Batman v Superman and she has now had the chance to build on that performance. We see her grow from a naive, sheltered young woman to a confident, empathic woman who will stop at nothing to protect those in need. Her arc is clear and her emotional development is in the forefront as she experiences the world of men. She looks amazing at all times during the film and while a lot of the time it looks like she’s posing for a photoshoot she looks great.
Chris Pine was good too but played exactly the same character as he usually does. He’s basically Kirk in World War 1. The relationship between Steve Trevor and Diana was believable if a little forced towards the end of the film, the back and forth in the jacuzzi chamber and on the boat leaving Themyscira was brilliantly funny.
It’s the supporting cast and the effects where the film falls down. The rag-tag group Steve brings together are instantly forgettable, something which I’ll talk more about in a minute. The bad guys varied from comical to unbelievable and I think some of the casting was off. Some of the digital effects were very weak, especially considering there are films out now like Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 which rely heavily on CGI effects that looks incredible. There are times when it is very clear actors of suspended from wires and other times when the characters look so different from the real actors that it pulls you out of the film. Also, the third act falls into a very common superhero film trope of having a big CGI bad guy with the actors flying around a green screen stage, but not done very well. At least they didn’t have a big beam in the sky, they almost did but not quite!
Before I spoil everything let’s issue that warning. From here on out there will be HUGE SPOILERS. If you don’t want to know more about the film then leave now, watch the film and come back. You back yet? Okay, let’s go.
You haven’t asked for it but here’s my musings on DC/WB’s latest offering…What did I ‘wonder’ about Wonder Woman?
- Bruce Wayne spends an awful lot of money to transport a single photograph to Diana.
- The sequence explaining the downfall of the Gods and the last battle of the Amazons was beautifully done and looked like an ancient form of the pin-art displays employed by the Kryptonians.
- Robin Wright was incredible as Diana’s aunt Antiope. Wonderfully badass!
- It is never explained or even mentioned where the battle armour Diana steals comes from. We are at least made to believe the sword is the God Killer and the lasso is explained but not this.
- Talking of the lasso of truth, I am so happy they brought in the comic aspect of the tool. We had seen it in action in BvS but seeing it draw the truth out of someone was great.
- How long does it take for Diana to discover she has super strength, in excess of the other Amazonians?!
- As soon as Queen Hypollita says Diana isn’t like the other Amazonians, it was clear to be she was the weapon given by Zeus.
- Diana’s reaction to seeing the death of other Amazonians was heartbreaking. She had never experienced something like this before.
- Where is Themyscira? Steve is able to fly there from Turkey but he and Diana are also able to sail from there to London in a day?
- The dick jokes when Diana sees Steve naked were hilarious.
- Etta Candy (Lucy Davis) was not nearly as annoying as I thought she was going to be. Her comic timing was great and both Diana and Steve bounced off her well. I would actually like to see more of her.
- Steve and Diana are ambushed by some of the worst German hitmen in the alley, not subtle at all. The homage to Christopher Reeve’s Superman in the alley fight was great and started to show how badass Diana can be.
- Danny Huston‘s General Ludendorf and Elena Anaya‘s Dr Poison were interesting villains that varied from intense and evil to comical. The scene where they trap other generals in a gas filled room was made ridiculous with their comedy evil laughter.
- The group of misfits Steve brings together had absolutely no development. Ewen Bremner‘s Charlie obviously had some level of PTSD preventing him from firing his sniper rifle but this is never dealt with. I was expecting a redemption scene where he shows off his skills but nope, nothing. Eugene Brace Rock as The Chief was a strange addition to the group. I know the character exists in the comics but he didn’t fit with the group. He says in the war for profit yet we see him refusing money and gifts from the people they help, so why is he there? Said Taghmaoui‘s Sameer was not interesting at all.
- The trench battle scene was incredible. I could watch that again and again. After the BvS Batman warehouse scene that is probably my favourite DCEU fight.
- The liberation of the town of Veld was impressive and the fighting was great. Picking up the tank, corralling troops with the lasso and destroying the bell tower were entertaining but this scene is where the digital effects start to get a bit ropey. Sometimes the characters looked very rubbery and there was far too much slow mo!
- Chris Pine‘s German accent was actually pretty good when he was trying to chat up Dr Poison. When entering the castle it was ridiculous.
- Hiding her sword down the back of a dress would have been very uncomfortable and Ludendorf would have felt it when dancing with her. Does this also mean she left a naked German woman in the woods? Throwing the dress off while she rides suggests she was wearing her battle armour underneath the dress, there was no room for that!
- MAJOR SPOILER: As soon as David Thewlis‘ Sir Patrick gave Steve Trevor the funds to carry out his mission I had an inkling he was Ares. He wanted Diana to see the devastation of war to push her over the edge.
- There is a short sequence just after Diana has killed Ludendorf. Ares appears to her and reveals himself, she realises her sword is still stuck in the roof of the tower they are on. We cut away to Steve doing some fighting then it cuts back to Diana having retrieved her sword and ready to fight Ares. What?! He let her arm himself and just stood there waiting for her? I laughed out loud at that bit!
- Speaking of Ares, I was hoping his transformation would be impressive but as part of the big CGI battle at the end of the movie, having Thewlis in a horned helmet with digital armour didn’t look or sound right. Why does Ares become Magneto? Drawing metal from the surrounding environment around him to fight with.
- Ares appears to hold back his full strength throughout the entire battle. He can instantly teleport, shoot lightning and has incredible strength yet he uses each of these abilities very little.
- It was a little corny to use love to defeat Ares. Apparently her realisation of this enables her to disintegrate projectiles without even touching them, creating a barrier around her.
- The ending fight was a CGI mess, though Diana fighting through flames was impressive.
- Diana is willing to kill nameless German soldiers but refuses to end a mass murdering serial killer in the form of Dr Poison?
- It is unavoidable to compare the last act to The First Avenger. The bad guys plan was to use a big plane to drop death onto areas of the world and a man called Steve sacrifices himself to stop it. Coincidentally, both films don’t show the actual death of the character and we know one Steve came back, so could the other?
- What the hell is Diana leaping at at the end of the film? She heard a noise, gears up and jumps into action. There’s not even a tall building or anything for her to land on!!
- Lastly, we still don’t know if Diana can fly!!! It was teased in BvS and she does a lot of huge leaping in this film but it is never confirmed if she can actually fly!!! Just tell us!!!!!
Phew…..you made it to the end of my mindless ramblings. This is just a taste of the way my mind works, most of which I am unable to articulate. These are some of the things I thought when watching the film but I’m sure more will come to me soon. The film was good, not great but definitely enjoyable. I can’t wait to see more Wonder Woman in Justice League later in the year and am so happy a sequel is already being talked about.
What did you think of the film? Do you agree with my list? Did anything occur to you during the movie? Let us know in the comments below.