Movie Review: Wonder Woman
By Steven Slater
June 7, 2017
What a twist of fate that the best superhero movie of the year stars a woman with an accent. I won’t stretch the metaphor too far comparing this film to modern times, and leave the rest to individual’s imaginations.
We have all been there: waiting in line, anticipating seeing a DC comic book film, knowing it has some of our favorite superheroes, maybe our favorite villains. And then…two hours of our life we never get back. Of course, Christopher Nolan’s trilogy stands alone, as do the classic Batman and Superman films, but recently Marvel and a slew of previously unknown characters have taken center stage. When I saw the trailer for Wonder Woman, I had a fairly negative reaction to it, although I know this never guarantees a film’s actual merit. But upon hearing the buzz build throughout the past month, I knew I had to see the film. After all, in my opinion, when DC and Warner Bros. create a good comic book film, they tend to knock it out of the park. They are not anywhere near as consistent as Marvel, but tend to achieve higher results when they succeed. Luckily, this is one of those films.
Patty Jenkins and Gal Gadot are the primary forces behind this film, which is an extension of the new DC universe that began with Man of Steel in 2012. After briefly appearing in Batman v. Superman, Wonder Woman has her own origin story fleshed out here. She is a young girl, Diana, raised with the Amazons on a magically secluded island. The Amazons are beings created by the gods (Greek, in this case) imbued with the purpose of protecting humanity, or at least trying to show them how not to kill each other all the time. After defeating Ares, the god of war, long ago, a peace has settled and made the Amazons complacent. But Diana and others sense that Ares is not gone forever, and train for his eventual return and the war that will ensue. That war does return, as Chris Pine’s Steve Trevor crash lands near the secret island after escaping the clutches of World War I. Diana rescues him, but the breach between worlds forces her to return with him to the front lines to end this new war.
Almost all of the people and creative ideas behind Wonder Woman succeed, and the sum of the parts creates a great spectacle of a film. Patty Jenkins, directing her first feature since 2003’s Monster, is a very capable filmmaker. Action, exposition, emotion and plot are all handled extremely well, and balanced throughout the film. I am actually shocked how well she handles the set pieces, considering how poorly others named “action directors” usually deliver the goods. She easily overtakes Zack Snyder, and I would say Wonder Woman has better action scenes than much of Nolan’s trilogy, if not the same sense of scale. The special effects and editing really sell the punches, and only rarely does it look like CG rag dolls are flying around the screen.