This is the fourth film in what Warner Brothers is calling the “DC Extended Universe.” What has been met with an occasional mixed reaction and predominately disparaging comments, this series of movies pressed on giving us iconic characters like Batman, Superman, Lex Luthor and the Joker. We also received lesser known characters like Deadshot, Killer Croc and Harley Quinn. Curiously, it wasn’t until this year that we got a movie about (arguably) the most recognizable female hero of all time, Wonder Woman. So, was “Wonder Woman” able to defeat the consistently negative press and bolster expectations going forward for this DCEU? Let’s dive in and take a look at “Wonder Woman” in this review…
I wrote on social media just before walking into an early Thursday evening screening that I was experiencing medium expectations blended with high hopes and a side of curiosity. This DCEU started off with “Man of Steel” which I moderately enjoy. Next we got the train wreck that was “Batman V Superman” followed by the half terrible, half enjoyable “Suicide Squad.” In baseball terms, we got a runner on first with two outs, zero runs scored. I wasn’t sure what to expect because the films haven’t instilled any positive confidence. The early press buzz online was positive. The trailers looked great. I’m happy to report the movie is enjoyable beyond my expectations.
The film is a hero’s journey or coming of age tale. We meet “Princess Diana” when she is a little girl with the Amazons. From there we see her grow into a beautiful, lethal warrior whose heart guides her every move. She’s a selfless warrior who is passionate, deadly, intelligent and outspoken. I was pleased with Gal Gadot’s performance as Wonder Woman. She started off as an innocent minded young woman who saw the world only by what she had been taught and by the end of the movie she is mature, heart broken, experienced in war and aware of the atrocities humanity is capable of. Gal plays the emotions quite splendidly.
Enter Chris Pine who plays “Steve Trevor” the infamous love interest of Wonder Woman. The performance Pine gave was exactly the performance I expected him to give. For this, I was pleased. The onscreen chemistry between Pine and Gadot was an unexpected surprise. The band of fellows that Pine collaborates with was equally enjoyable and their on screen chemistry was another unexpected surprise. The biggest take away for me regarding the good guys was that at no point did I feel the men were being emasculated. This was a genuine concern I had walking into the theater. I didn’t want this film to feel like a feminist propaganda film that would limit the audience. It did not, at all. These guys were strong, capable men who complimented the story. It’s because of this, I feel that ladies and their fella’s will be enjoying this movie together for awhile. It at no point ever felt like a movie designed or geared for specifically just women. This isn’t a life time movie. It’s an action film that explores what humanity, with its history of violence and self destructive tendencies, deserves. I was elated with this aspect of the movie.
The villain, Aries (the god of war), was a twist in a twist for me. I knew that the character “Sir Patrick” was not what he seemed. I did not once assume that he would in fact turn out to be none other than Aries himself. I thought he might be working as a spy for Aries and that would be appropriate as Pine played a spy. So there would be a sort of spy vs spy thing happening. So, the big reveal was a twist in a twist. It was a fun revelation at the end of the film as well.
“Wonder Woman” is in theaters now! I’ve seen this movie twice already. I’ll be seeing it a third time. I definitely recommend you get over to your local theater and enjoy this summer blockbuster. It looks great on screen and the story is equally enjoyable. At its core, in my opinion, this is a movie that explores what it means to be part of a society that destroys itself, time and time again. What does humanity deserve? Should we be encouraged to kill, torture and destroy each other because it’s built into the fabric of our being? Should we chose love to quell the fires inside us to help our neighbors and stop the ravages of war? The movie is about growing up, seeing the world for what it is and then making a choice. The 3rd act is a mixture of action and philosophical debate. Aries isn’t trying to destroy humanity because he’s evil. He’s decided to show his father Zeus that he (Zeus) created something evil, man. He’s not a villain for the sake of being a bad guy. In the same way Wonder Woman isn’t a hero just because she’s destined to be a hero. The emotional journey this film goes on is delightful. It explores hope, love, tragedy, loss, duty and honor. I loved this film. I hope you will as well. Go see this movie!!