Wonder Woman (2017)

Wonder Woman (2017) Cover

Wonder Woman is the best movie to come out of the DC comic book universe since The Dark Knight Rises. Director Patty Jenkins has built something exceptionally good out of the story by Zach Snyder. While it has both great acting and well paced action, it was what Wonder Woman has to say that hit hardest. A few issues mar it, though, holding it from being a classic.

The pacing of the action steers away from that of previous DC films such as Man of Steel and Suicide Squad. It was very refreshing to have the fight sequences delivered in smaller chunks. Every action scene gets built up so that by the time it happens you are really craving it. When you finally hear that heart pounding theme music, your blood rushes and you are ready for it. I wouldn’t have minded a little more of this. Given the overuse of action in previous DC disasters, the restraint is preferable. While the length of the action scenes are more bite-sized, the action itself is over the top. Diana (Wonder Woman’s name) smashes into buildings like a human ballistic missile, scales walls with her bare hands, and uses attacks that leave building sized craters in the earth.

In contrast to the previous DC films, Wonder Woman successfully tells a cohesive story. More than that, it tells a good story that has something to say. Set during World War I, Diana sets out from the island isolating the Amazons from the world of men. She begins her journey believing that gods of myth are responsible for the worldwide conflict. The film works the best when it plays with our expectations for this relatively normal setup. It goes so far as to suggest that people don’t need super villains to cause our problems. Even more cool, it suggests that violent conflict can’t solve the worst of those problems.

Unfortunately, the narrative feels just a little long. I was a bit anxious for everything to wrap up by the time the end was approaching. Additionally, after the turn in the final act, the movie goes on to resolve its issues with a fist fight. It doesn’t feel bad at the time because everything else works, but it didn’t feel like the right resolution. I wish the close of the story had been more in keeping with the smarter themes.

Something that helps keep the movie feeling fresh and fun is Gal Gadot’s performance as Diana. She is like a cool breeze on a hot day, and every time she’s on screen it feels good. I honestly can’t tell though if she’s a great actress, or just perfect for the role. It’s hard to tell given the role itself and the direction. I can say for certain, though, that I’m excited to see her more often and am very much looking forward to finding out. I hope it’s more than just the role.

Other standouts include Danny Huston as Ludendorff and David Thewlis as Sir Patrick. Danny clearly has a ton of fun with the role of the primary villain, and David lends the end a believable weight. Chris Pine is even getting more likeable for me. Between Star Trek: Beyond and Wonder Woman, he’s starting to grow on me. It may just be me, but it is feeling like he is starting to add personality to his roles.

A secondary villain, Doctor Poison (played by Elena Anaya), feels underused. It feels like there should have either been more of her, or less. Given the minor feeling of being over long, I lean toward less of her. That said, she has a few interesting moments that make me wish we could see a story where she is more important.

Overall, Wonder Woman ranks with some of the best superhero movies in recent years. It sets a great tone for the future of the DC universe and makes me just a little excited for the Justice League movie. That’s a film I’ve been dreading up until now. Filled with cool plays on your expectations, fun acting, and held together with a well told story, Wonder Woman is a fantastic watch that I highly recommend.

Final Verdict:Wonder Woman is well made and fun movie that upsets the super hero formula a bit, and is definitely worth watching.