3 v. 3: Wonder Woman
AT LAST! The DCEU has a breakout hit!
Both critically and at the box office, Wonder Woman is an absolute SMASH! With a mid-90's RT score, some have put it in the top tier of a growing pantheon of comic book movie masterpieces.
We discuss three areas the film shines and put those up against three of the worst parts of Wonder Woman.
It’s 3 👍 v. 3 👎 time! You decide which comes out the winner in this battle. Your opinion is the one that matters.
The Good 👍
The Woman, The Warrior
Wonder Woman doesn’t often compromise its title character's power. The film absolutely hits on the core center of Wonder Woman. She is a brazen, powerful and unyielding in her convictions. Wonder Woman controls her character's movement driving the action forward. She doesn’t take a backseat to the men in the movie, and that makes a powerful statement in the movie and for the character. She even rivals a certain caped hero in red and blue currently absent in the DCEU. Wonder Woman is powerful and the film truly does her justice. She is the most true, honest portrayal of her comic counterpart in the fledgling DC cinematic universe.
Wonder Woman is quite the accomplishment. Other female led superheroes movies have tried but failed to capture a woman playing the role of the powerful hero. This is something the even the wildly successful MCU has not yet to attempt. For the first time on the big screen since The Dark Knight, Marvel is following in DC’s footsteps. As fans, we're excited at the possibilities.
The action was epic and Gal Gadot was good. She shines during several of the action pieces, most notably the conclusion. Her breakout scene is the now iconic, incredibly empowering and inspiring “no man’s land” scene.
Wonderous Story Execution
This story was a simple origin story with an effective and layered twist at the end. Where other DC movies have stumbled greatly, Wonder Woman most notably finished strong.
The movie took its time building a mythos and introducing us to another world. It made it grounded enough for us to stay engaged. The adventure moved into the real world and gave us a textured, deep group of characters in Wonder Woman, Steve Trevor, and their team of castaways. Yet, it didn’t subjugate Wonder Woman in this new world. She stood out as a fish out of water, but became more the hero in the face of the world of men rather than less.
When Wonder Woman steps out in No Man’s Land of her own momentum and power, we see this iconic hero illuminate the big screen as few other heroes have on-screen. The movies final act masterfully delivered the story, the conflict, and featured the biggest action moments. The story and characters were able to take center stage. Coming on the heels of two much larger and more anticipated tentpole films, Wonder Woman didn’t take sacrifice any ambition. It succeeds wildly.
Good films most often need a good villain. Wonder Woman was boldly patient in a universe populated with films that reveal their plots in trailers or collapse under the weight of poor storytelling. The villain in Wonder Woman isn’t an iconic mainstay like The Joker or Lex Luthor. Instead, Ares is a well-crafted and especially effective villain.
The final act revealed to us a patiently crafted, well thought out, and successful villain. Ares completes Diana’s journey from amazonian warrior to Wonder Woman. The film could have easily given us a cookie cutter God of War bent on conquering and punishing humanity with simple motives and left it at that. That would have worked ok. Ares final form was visually spectacular as well as being true to the larger than life villains in the comics.
Yet, the film doesn't stop there. The story doesn’t take the easy road other DC films have to date. The real reveal behind Ares wasn’t the secret of his identity, it was his hidden perspective as the god of truth that showed us the real verity of Wonder Woman, the god of love.
Minor CGI Moments
There were moments when the CGI didn’t live up to the quality we have seen so often display in big time summer movies. It certainly didn't match the quality of this movie. Perhaps they got a little too far from practical effects in places or the budget wasn’t there to really fine tune all of it, but there were moments when the CGI took us out of the film. Wonder Woman had stand out CGI moments with Wonder Woman herself, such as the “no man’s land” scene and the finally with Ares. The lasso of truth was especially impressive visually as were the movements of Wonder Woman and the final look of Ares.
BAD CGI Moment Highlight: Queen Hippolyta dismount and slash took us right out of the movie. It felt like the actress was replaced with a cartoon. It wasn’t that bad but it was close to cringeworthy.
Put this up against the 3-D environment movement in slow motion during Wonder Woman's various attacks. You can see moments where the visual effects were top notch, even groundbreaking. It is the scattered few moments where the effects were disappointing that make our bad list.
Wonder Woman was funny. Some of the humor was odd. In our first viewing, we laughed not only becuase it was funny but because it was so odd. We weren’t even sure they were making the jokes they were, and then...yeah, wow they really are making that joke.
The ice cream bit before Diana sees the horrors of war for the first time was great. The conversation on the boat was hilarious if a little awkward. The scene with Steve Trevor getting out of the water was an interesting juxtaposition, but that scene was especially odd. Humor is so subjective, but these moments caught us as a little strange.
Gal Gadot Moments
Again, overall - great! The action was done especially well. We're still amazed at the final product of Gal Gadot's action scenes as Wonder Woman. She was impressive. She looked powerful and not frail. Her motion and strength felt real and not just CGI on top of an awkward actor.
Yet, there were some "acting" moments in conversation where Gal’s acting felt odd and her accent was slightly distracting. It mixed with several different accents of the Amazon’s that seemed generic and hard to place. Queen Hippolyta, Antiope, and Diana all had slightly different, awkward accents. When Wonder Woman would scold Steve Trevor from time to time, she seemed a little less powerful than during other more climactic moments.
Gadot delivered when it counted in the climactic final act. The “no man’s land” scene is absolute class so this is a small complaint, admittedly. Still, looking back, it was kind of like Gal Gadot cringed her eyebrows together for the entire movie. Like Bale's Batman voice in The Dark Knight, these are small complaints in an otherwise brilliant film.
So far, 2017 has seen BOTH comic franchises at the top of their game. That is an encouraging thought. It is all thanks to Wonder Woman.
What did you think about Wonder Woman?