There's this movie about Wonder Woman in theaters. You may have heard about it.
Now for my review. Wow, it lived up to the hype and I was starting to get higher expectations the last few weeks. The optimistic reviews were on point for a lot of aspects, and some of the stuff which sounded hokey was executed superbly even if it was predictable and other films had done similar creative venues before. The DCEU took the idea of Thor,
and The First Avenger
blend together and meshed them with WW to make a fantastic movie. The pacing was greatly improved from the previous DCEU films, this is no Suicide Squad
and the flashbacks weren't annoyingly put in there instead they were plot points that made sense rather than jarring. The MCU influence was heavily felt, at times it feels like watching an MCU movie - slot Wonder Woman in WWI and it fits right in there regarding the tone and style.
Not a weak link in the cast. Everyone did a super job, the screenplay by Allen Heinberg (who had a mediocre WW run in the past) was smart and witty while Patty Jenkins knocked every shot out of the park to make one of the best films of the year. The lady deserves awards for this effort. Give her Captain Marvel now,
Gal Gadot was excellent as a lead, she was the weakest link on paper. She blows away her acting from the F & F
movies. She's improved tremendously here, sharing the spotlight with Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Connie Neilsen and David Thewlis. Diana starts off as a spitfire with so much innocent and sweetness, without being irritating. Reminded me of Evans' Cap in The First Avenger
, high praise indeed.
If you know of WW's origins they stay mostly on task, Diana saves Steve Trevor from Nazi's
the Germans and not long after a small group of boats pursuing him he stole a book vital to creating the new generation of bombs by Dr. Poison so they get into a beach fight with the Amazons, and the fight is specular. While the Amazons put up an impressive show natural physics takes over when they come head to head against bullets, culminating in Diana's mentor, Antiope, sacrificing her life for Diana. This gets the ball rolling with the plot, forcing Diana to take Steve Rogers
back to the war and stop Ares. They do subvert things, Diana herself is the God Killer, not the sword.
It's disappointing how they had Ares kill off the Greek pantheon entirely off-screen, that was one of the IP's intriguing aspects that differentiated her from super-heroes like Batman and Superman. However, their influence and Ares is felt, as they were made to take him on but Zeus created and cloaked Themyscira with his last breath (as well as creating the God Killer). The exposition for Themscira's and the Amazons is brief and direct, they had to condense a lot of WW's mythology - it would have been neat had Hephaestus made the sword (it's Zeus, he takes over the roles from Aphrodite, Artemis, Hestia etc). Oh well.
Diana slowly grows into WW through the movie, though the process is like Rogers' she doesn't have a solid Clark Kent type secret identity and everyone in her close circle knows who she is because she works with them to stop Ares. Maybe not Etta, I don't know if she found out I doubt she'd be shocked at the revelation.
Wright's Antiope is a delight the instant she's on the screen, for the brief screen time she's there she's magnificent. They really hammer home that she's the Amazons' best warrior and proves it with every move when she's in combat. It's a pity she's killed off, I'd watch a film about her. She loves Diana as much as Hypolyta and they are very close, yet they do have arguments over Diana and protecting the world/Themscira from Ares eventually return. She doesn't believe Zeus finished him off. She's right, of course. Among the Amazosn she makes the biggest impression.
Neilsen's Hypolyta is very faithful to the comics. She is very royal, strict yet fair. Wants to protect Diana above all else. In the centuries since the Greek gods perished, she's grown lax and wants the Amazons to stay away from mankind even when Ares' influence comes. The farewell she gives to Diana is emotional touching. That said, she isn't given much to do and is over shadowed by Diana and Antiope.
Chris Pine is wonderful in this movie. The best performance I've seen from him to boot. Immensely charismatic, smart, pragmatic, complicated and adjusting to the revelations about the Amazons and the weird shit like a normal person. The majority of the movie he doesn't believe Ares exists, that WWI won't end after she vanquished him it's all on man. He's ultimately proven wrong, ironically. Regularly gets into arguments with Diana, trying to hold her back because she is very opinionated about things and barely keeps her from disrupting everything - including the generals at London command almost immediately! What I thought was insightful and brave (for DC) is that they sleep together after their first mission, the two do love each other. This is a relief since for a long, long time DC was obsessed with making her a virgin because they didn't think fans could handle her having a boyfriend. One part they're sailing to London and they talk about sex, how Diana knows all about it - she's read some Amazonian Karma Sutra and how the Amazons only need men to reproduction (they don't actually confirm anything about getting men to do this, it's merely a technical detail) and that they don't need men for pleasure.
The villains are actually quite entertaining. Far better than the standard super-hero villains, they actually made Doctor Poison interesting for once. Danny Huston's General Ludendorff is magnificent scenery chewer, if a bit one note. His relationship with Dr. Poison is a nice one, you can tell they respect and care about each other and that they enjoy being super-villains. That said, we're not told or shown his relationship to Ares or why he has a specific gas which makes him super strong
- should have made him the Duke of Deception.
Ares himself ends up being David Thewlis, who is a high ranking British military leader or politician. While their final encounter he goes full power mad and CGI monster they make him a genuine threat which has power beyond what Zod had. Telekinesis, flight, teleportion, telepathic influence and plenty others. A true god. This Ares is actually an interesting portrayal since he absolutely hates mankind and wishes to remake Earth without them to start anew, very Lucifer. He doesn't even want to fight WW, instead he wants her to be rule with him and has fascinating arguments for why she should be his ally and that humanity deserves to rot. Best DC villain by far. Did not expect that much depth, it's what Zod should have been. As a physical threat he rocks WW hard, nearly kills or injures her a few times. He's not easy to beat. She only is able to beat him by getting a second wind after Steve Trevor sacrifices himself.