Hey you. I wrote this Review Just for You because I like you.I also like pizza.
2013- Man of Steel opens. It’s not bad. I like Russell Crowe and Amy Adams in their roles. I never even minded the comic book carnage of the climax because I never took it seriously anyway. It seemed a promising start to the revamped DCU and possibly a tonic to the risk-averse weightless Marvel movies.
2016- Batman V Superman- I liked it okay the first time I saw it. It does not hold up a second time. Everything that’s bad about it is worse (“MARTHA!!!”, Jesse Eisenberg) and everything good about it (The Batmobile chase, Wonder Woman in it for no reason) makes you realize how few and far between the good scenes are. If you saw BVS in theaters you at least had a glimmer of hope for Suicide Squad, as the trailers for it looked relatively promising.
And then you saw Suicide Squad…
2016- Suicide Squad- Yeah. Maybe in retrospect it wasn’t a smart move to make a group of “villains” a bunch of whiny p*ssies whom you realize aren’t really that evil to begin with. Maybe not have Cara Delevigne and her lack-ting skills be the milquetoast “villain” when you had, Oh, I don’t know, the Joker. Maybe you…never mind. If only I could delete this movie from my memory.
Those limp entries into the DCU made one wary of anything else DC had to offer.
Whenever I saw the trailers for Wonder Woman, I dismissed them because…DC. I almost didn’t go see Wonder Woman because…DC.
Having written all that, Wonder Woman is, by far, the best film of the current DCU. Not that the bar was set particularly high. WW is a generic origin story, but it’s skillfully, artfully, and stylishly directed by Patty Jenkins (Monster, one of my favorite movies of the aughties) with a badass lead performance by Gal Gadot.
Wonder Woman opens in the labia-laden Island of Themyscira. Queen Hippolyta (Gladiator’s Connie Nielsen) runs it, and her sister, General Antiope (Robin Wright, as far from Princess Buttercup or Jenny as you can get) trains the Amazon warriors into as lethal an army you can have, considering all they have are swords and bow and arrows. We know if all you have is a bow and arrow, you’re pretty useless.
Hippolyta also has a daughter Diana (Gal Gadot), who watches her Aunt and sisters fight and wants to join in. She seems to have natural (or preternatural) skill. Hippolyta does not want her daughter to join in any reindeer games. This won’t stand for long, and through the power of a training montage, Diana grows up and is 80% legs.
Hippolyta is still against Diana fighting because of a deep dark secret. But that’s not going to matter much because of a white man that crashes onto their previously idyllic island.
White people: always ruining everything.
That white guy is named Steve Trevor (Chris Pine, literally holding his penis). He’s an American spy for British intelligence and he crashed in Themyscira and brought the German army along after him. It’s been a long time since the Amazons have seen men, and now they’re going to see a bunch of old ones.
Old White Men: Always ruining everything.
The Germans crash the beach. There’s a battle. People die.
Steve knows he must get back to London because WW1 is still going on and he has a McGuffin he must show British intelligence. Diana wants to go.
Hippolyta still doesn’t want Diana to go anywhere because of a deep dark secret but knows she can’t stop her come hell or high water.
Now Diana is on a boat. She’s on boat. Take a good hard look at the motherfluffin’ boat. She’s off to fight the Germans, and possibly someone a lot more sinister. It makes you wonder who it’s going to be.
What Works With Wonder Woman Wisely Without Whaling Water
- Waiting for Gadot – Gal Gadot is now a star. The strongest thing about her performance is that there isn’t a moment you don’t believe her, whether her naïve worldview or beating down Germans or realizing her part in the Justice League. Her presence makes the draggier parts of WW more bearable. Her “Hero” moment (you’ll know it when you see it) is the best thing the current DCU has ever done.
- Too bad all Marvel has for a female presence is useless Black Widow
- Patty Jenkins – for bringing a win to DC by directing the world’s most famous female superhero and not making it a slog. 2.5 hours breeze by for the most part. There’s an excellent balance of appropriate humor amidst the action that help you gloss over the fact that the story itself (screenplay by Allan Heinberg) is pretty basic.
- The battle on Themyscira is the best action sequence in a film with pretty good action sequences. It’s girls vs. boys with fatal consequences.
- (Spoiler) Unlike Marvel movies, characters actually die so there’s something at stake. When was the last time you were in genuine suspense from anything Marvel did? Yeah, I can’t remember either.
- And don’t say the “climax” of Captain America Civil War with the world’s most revealing videotape.
What Doesn’t Work With Wonder Woman
- While it’s not as bad as Cara Delevigne in Suicide Squad or Doomsday in BVS, the villain(s) in WW never quite match up on any real level with Diana and you never feel like she’s ever really threatened.
- The climax is too FX laden and hollow and too reminiscent of BVS to feel like anything more Diana is fighting the big boss in a video game. The audience has about as much emotional involvement.
To reiterate, Wonder Woman is the best film of the DCU and an outstanding piece of summer entertainment. It’s the best comic book movie since, um, Logan.
Here’s hoping Chris Pine got 80 cents on the dollar less than Gal Gadot. Seems only fair.