For the first time in years, I haven’t left a DC film feeling like I needed a refund and additional compensation for wasted time. This is the best one in years.
Anyone familiar with my former movie critic ways knows how much I crapped all over Batman vs. Superman. In fact, it’s the one thing I’ve ever received the most hate mail for, and I stand by it because it’s a fact: that movie was a piece of garbage.
So it was fitting I went into Wonder Woman with the lowest of expectations – any lower, and I’d be having lunch with Hades.
I had planned to skip it completely, but a few things piqued my interest: Zack Snyder was not directing (Patty Jenkins did; she directed the Academy Award winning Monster starring Charlize Theron) leaving Snyder instead to serve as a writer for this film. Also – I wanted to see if Gal Gadot could hold her own. I’d argue she was under utilized in Batman vs. Superman, (which led to my skepticism of her taking on the Wonder Woman role) so I wanted to give her one more chance.
This film explains Diana’s origins, and how she became a hero among the bombs and bullets of the First World War. A spy, Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) washes up on the shores of Diana’s home, Themyscira – and lo, she is exposed for the first time to man. When he tells her and The Amazons there is a war outside of their borders, Diana is compelled to leave home and find the war god, Ares, whom she believes is responsible for the bloodshed.
Let’s get the bad stuff out of the way: there are definitely fan service shots of our heroine, which do get annoying. The CGI is laughable. The Lasso of Truth looks ridiculous (I mean, it has in the past, but this might be record-setting for ridiculous) and some of the fight scenes go to computer generated places that let’s just say should almost be outlawed. And yes, some of the plot is predictable – but here’s the thing: this time, unlike Batman vs. Superman, there is actually some decent, clear writing and moving plot. WOW.
Gadot’s acting isn’t Oscar-worthy, but she is likable. She mostly comes across as comically innocent, which makes for some interesting moments. If you’ve seen all of the trailers, you’ll have seen most of the funny bits, but there are still some down-to-earth surprises sprinkled through the film. What I think elevates this film in comparison to other DC titles is the juxtaposition between Diana’s innocence and her will to fight: it’s the crux of what makes it an interesting origin story. It’s also refreshing to see so many women kicking butt and taking charge.
A big bonus for this film was pacing. This actually didn’t feel like a two-and-a-half hour movie. This film was action first, long, unnecessary dialogue later (or really, never). The characters would say in their way what they were going to do, and then you got to watch them do it. There was no lamenting, no tired extended cliches, no drawn out scenes we’ve seen before (I already know what happened to Bruce Wayne’s parents, Zack Snyder – didn’t need the twenty minute opening for Batman vs. Superman, thanks). We’re getting fresh writing that shows some appreciation for the heroine’s roots – and we’re just having a good time.
Here’s what I suggest if you’re thinking about going to see it: you don’t really need to see it in 3D. I did, and it didn’t really impact my experience positively or negatively. Ergo, save yourself a few dollars if you like and axe the 3D glasses. However, I wouldn’t leave it to a cheapie Tuesday. While the film is over the 90 per cent mark on Rotten Tomatoes, I expect it to pick up steam through word-of-mouth, and it’ll likely become a popular choice for a date night or a night out with friends (or, if you’re like me, going to the theatre alone to watch). Put it on your list to check out: it’s worth seeing in theatres. I will definitely go see it again.
4.5 out of 5 from me.
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