Well, it’s finally here. I think it’s safe to say that this is one of the more anticipated superhero releases of the last decade, which makes it all the more unfortunate that it had to play within the boundaries of the DC Extended Universe, of which it is the fourth entry. It should be stated up-front that while Wonder Woman is not quite good enough to affect the overall quality of the franchise in any meaningful way, it is certainly better than any of the three films preceding it. The DCEU is on a steady climb upwards; let’s hope they don’t plateau any time soon.
Our framing device sees the Amazing Amazon, in modern-day Paris, receive a photograph from Batman, along with a note asking to one day hear her story. This story begins with her childhood on the Amazonian island Themyscira (there actually is a cute little Paradise Island reference in there, too), her development into a warrior princess and her eventual meeting with the pilot Steve Trevor, who crash-lands into the ocean nearby. After hearing about the Great War, Diana determines that Ares must be behind it and resolves to return to the world of mankind with Trevor in order to vanquish the God of War.
The fish-out-of-water elements work greatly, not only in terms of the larger cities and groups of people but also in more intimate settings between Diana and Trevor. The clash of cultures is as thought-provoking as it is hilarious, and these scenes were a great way to let the audience catch a breath between action sequences without getting bored.
Because boring, this film is not. At times it can be frustrating, illogical, incoherent and just plain sloppy, but it’s never boring. An example of the sloppiness can be found when Trevor refers to the War as “The War to End All Wars”, before Diana and her mother exit the room and Diana says “You heard him, mother! He called it ‘A War Without End!’”. That’s just lazy.
The CGI isn’t great, and this is especially noticeable in a few scenes where someone falls or leaps from a great height. There’s one particularly glaring example where a character is shot in slow-motion, and it’s not at all convincing. The music was good, though I was a little disappointed that Wonder Woman’s main theme from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was used so sparingly. I actually thought that was a big highlight of that movie’s score, and was hoping to hear it play over the more badass moments (like when Wonder Woman fights a bunch of bad guys with her lasso; that was excellent!)
Where it all fell apart more for me was towards the end. Wonder Woman is sure that Ares is behind the Great War, while Trevor insists that mankind just sucks. Let it suffice to say that the filmmakers attempt to have it both ways, and the result makes little sense. There is also a stupidly pointless death that completely took me out of the film.
And so, while it’s not a bad movie, the DCEU is still yet to give us a good one. Wonder Woman is probably on par with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, the rival MCU’s latest film, so at this stage it appears that Fox’s Logan is, for now, still the best superhero film of the year. If the DCEU follows its current trend, though, November’s Justice League should be an enjoyable watch.
Oh, and Wonder Woman is also apparently telekinetic, now, stopping metal with her mind. Considering she already has her bracelets and shockwaves to accomplish the same feat, this felt out of place.
Wonder Woman is in cinemas now.