Details: Released in 2017. About two hours and twenty minutes long. Stars Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright.
I didn’t read any reviews before watching this movie in order to avoid spoilers. After seeing the movie, I went and scavenged over all the reviews on the internet to see what other people thought. Generally, people love this movie. I’ve even heard it called a perfect superhero movie. Personally, I enjoyed the movie, but I think it is far, far away from a masterpiece. I also think there are many existing comic book movies that are easily superior to this one. No spoilers except a brief summary of the premise.
Wonder Woman the movie is largely based off the comic book story involving the same character. The story centers on Diana, the daughter of the Queen of the mythical Amazons, the ancient race of warrior women from Greek mythology. Though the Amazons have lived hidden away from the rest of the world for centuries on the island of Themyscira, a soldier from World War I crash lands on the island causing a chain of events requiring Diana to leave the island, explore the world of man and confront evils she has never known.
Generally, the story is fine. I am loosely familiar with Wonder Woman’s origin story from comic books and cartoons, so I had an idea what I was walking into. My biggest question walking into this movie is how exactly they wanted to tell this story? What was the statement they wanted to say? After about ten minutes into the movie, it was clear that they were going to make the same superhero statement that was made in Nolan’s Batman movies and in Superman IV, which is that though humanity is more evil than our protagonist thinks, it is still worth saving. It’s a classic superhero theme.
And they repeatedly make Wonder Woman’s dialogue express this idea… which leads to the biggest problem in this film. The biggest reason that this film falters for me and does not rise from a good movie to a great movie is Gal Gadot. Gal Gadot in this movie is as good an actress as Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling were dancers and singers in La La Land. That is to say, Gadot is adequate, but not that good. Admittedly, Gadot is one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever seen. She is a model first, actress second. She delivered so many lines in this movie that made me want to close my eyes and cringe. Lines about morality and love. Lines that could probably be delivered a lot more effectively by many other actresses.
I will say again, Gadot is adequate. She is not awful, she just isn’t a great actress and, if she wasn’t already featured in Batman V. Superman and already finished filming the Justice League movie, Wonder Woman would likely have been better with someone else cast in her stead. In fact, and this is just speculation, Gadot is such a not great actress that instead of changing her accent to something not Israeli, they instead changed the accents of all the other Amazon actresses to match the sound of her voice. They could’ve used an English accent, or Australian, or American, or even Greek, but they did not. Instead, Robin Wright is forced to make her best impression of an Israeli solider trying to speak English.
With that said, the supporting cast was great. The two actors who stood out to me was Chris Pine and Robin Wright. I’ve seen these two in lots of other things and I always enjoy their performances. They are usually great and they are great here.
Action scenes were generally great, but again, Gadot’s motions are often times awkward. Gadot is really thin for a warrior princess (but not for a model) and the poses she makes look weird a lot of the time. Luckily special effects and computer generated images fix a lot of this and substitute Gadot out for action scenes. In other words, despite a few awkward moments, the action scenes and special effect are mostly good and exciting.
Overall, I enjoyed the movie, but I don’t love it. I didn’t watch the movie thinking it was a grand advance in women’s suffrage and for those of you that did, I’d advise you to Google Edward Bernays and what he did for cigarettes. Don’t fall for the advertising, this is just another superhero movie trying to make money. In that context, this movie is good, but not better than a lot of already existing comic book movies. Is this better than The Dark Knight? Nope. Batman Begins? Nope. Donner’s Superman? Nope. Captain America: The Winter Soldier? Nope. Captain America: The First Avenger? Yes. Raimi’s Spider-Man 3? Close… better plot in Wonder Woman but the first action scene between Peter and Harry was better than any action scene in Wonder Woman (in my opinion). In other words, Wonder Woman is all right, not great, but all right.