I’m Supposed to be making my way through a comic book movie list at the moment, which I began a while before I started the blog. I knew Wonder Woman was coming out, but I thought I’d make it to “W” before watching it. I’m not even finished “A” yet and I finally caved in and watched it. My decision was probably influenced by having watched some pretty poor movies beginning with “A” recently (some gems among them though) and I wanted to see if this movie was as good as people are saying. The short answer is: it is, and I probably should have just watched it in the first place.
DC has had a mixed review to movies prior to this. Wonder Woman also wasn’t seen much in Batman Vs. Superman, at least enough to form a decent opinion. Patty Jenkins is also a newcomer to directing in this genre. I predicted this movie to get a mixed reception too. How wrong I was.
The story begins with Diana/Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) receiving the WW2 photograph that Bruce Wayne sent her. We then see a young Diana growing up in Themyscira, the home of the Amazons. We learn that the island was created by the gods to protect mankind, and that Ares (the god of war) was jealous of the humans, and slaughtered the other gods before Zeus defeated him, although Zeus sustained grave injuries in doing so. Just before his death, Zeus sent the Amazons a weapon called “Godkiller”, which we are shown is a sword, which was capable of killing Ares if he ever returned.
As she grows up on the island, Diana becomes more interested in learning how to be a fierce Amazonian warrior but her mother, Hippolyta (Connie Nelson) forbids it. Little does she know her sister, Antiope (Robin Wright), begins secretly training her daughter. After a while they are discovered but allowed to continue.
In 1918, a pilot called Steve Trevor (Chris Pine, also James Kirk in Star Trek) crashes in Themyscira and is rescued by Diana. He is closely pursued by Nazi’s, who the Amazons dispatch. When Steve mentions a “War to end all Wars”, Diana becomes convinced that Ares has returned after hearing about General Ludendorff’s (Danny Huston’s) plans. She arms herself with the sword and leaves with Steve to join the war. As for what happens after that, prepare to be thrilled with one of the best superhero movies for a long time.
The Film looks amazing throughout, and everything is paced really well. None of the scenes feel out of place, nor is too much time (or not enough) given to each part of the story. Ludendorff, played menacingly by Huston (no newcomer to the comic movie genre having been in 30 Days Of Night), is not just a disposable villain. The relationship dynamics between the main cast feels real. There is an awesome soundtrack to go with it. In fact, there isn’t a weak member of the cast. The ladies don’t just rule Themyscira, they rule this movie too. None more so than Gadot. I was one of the people who were disappointed in her being cast as I just didn’t see her as wonder woman. Now, it would be difficult to not see her as wonder woman. She not only totally owns the role, but she is one of those stars that allow their co-stars and supporting actors the room to shine through too, while still having a great screen presence. As I said, what a supporting cast it is. Robin Wright is a standout. And The Office star Lucy Davis is a great addition as Etta Candy. I always highly rated her in that program ( I thought she was one of the funniest cast members) and had no idea she was in this.
The plot itself is consistently good throughout. Yes, as pointed out, there are similarities between Wonder Woman and Captain America. But the thing is Wonder Woman takes those, develops them, and does them better. Both are set during WW2, but the difference is that the Marvel movie kind of ignores a lot of the brutality of it, whereas in Wonder Woman it is essential to the plot. Both have a team of sidekicks, but WW’s just seem more balanced and interesting. Both have a love interest. But Wonder Woman’s didn’t need their own TV show to show what real use they could be. The chemistry between Gadot and Pine is more believable and they are actually in the war side by side so there is much more scope for this relationship to be explored.
There are differences, too, that should be pointed out. This movie is much more willing to explore morality, and the final acts twists drive this right home. This is something DC really do excel in. You are not automatically a bad guy just because you are on one side, and vice versa, even if it seems to be the case at first. It makes for a way more interesting film. I’m in no way saying Captain America is bad and this is good, both are good, just in different ways, and in every way they are similar, Wonder Woman wins.
This movie is DC announcing that they are serious contenders finally. The problem they have now is how do they translate this self contained movie into the universe seeing as it is markedly different from any of the other movies. The source material has arguably got darker, yet the scenes draped in moody darkness have basically gone It has fun at the same time, proving that you can be serious and not depressingly so (DC), and you can have light moments without lessening the impact of the more serious parts (Marvel). This movie will hopefully up the game even more on both sides. The comic book movie genre is about to get a whole lot more interesting. Why didn’t I watch this sooner?
Movie info from Wikipedia:
|Directed by||Patty Jenkins|
|Screenplay by||Allan Heinberg|
|Based on||Wonder Woman
by William Moulton Marston
|Music by||Rupert Gregson-Williams|
|Edited by||Martin Walsh|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures|
|Running time||141 minutes|
|Box office||$769.7 million|