Wonder Woman starring Gal Gadot opened this weekend and you could say it was met with great anticipation. Now you COULD argue as to whether this was positive anticipation or whether it was coupled with extreme skepticism given D.C.’s underwhelming performance in years past. In the wake of two massive critical bombs last year, D.C. needed a kick-butt film powerful enough to not only shake off the cloud of mediocrity that was only maximized by Marvel’s titanic successes but also a film that would restore D.C. to relevance just in time for their biggest movie yet, Justice League set to be released in November.
It’s quite the tall order to fill and yes, you could say D.C. needed a hero–or should I say a heroine to bail them out.
Enter Wonder Woman played by Gal Gadot who entered the scene under some incredible pressure with no real support from her predecessors. Several of you will remember that after seeing the trailer I proceeded to attack the film with more ferocity than Ares the god of War. You can read the that particular diatribe here.
It’s fair to say that I made some bold calls on this one, but I was still determined to give it a fair review. So let’s dive in and talk D.C.’s latest attempt to fly. Let’s get the negatives out of the way.
Ok first let me premise this review by talking about an frustrating quandary that D.C. constantly finds itself in. When it comes to its characters–whether they be heroes, villains, and every one in between, D.C. struggles with developing characters in a way that is relevant, impactful, and concise. Character development is either attempted in one fell swoop by cramming a ton of backstories and lore into an hour and half like they did with Suicide Squad or they’ll really take their time with all the details and beat us over the head with all of their hype, and dogma like they did with Batman vs. Superman which had around five endings.
D.C. has always struggled with this. I think the main struggle comes with their duplicity in trying to please hardcore fans of the comics while keeping it relevant and relateable to casual moviegoers. This results in them diving into extremes on both sides of the spectrum–leaving those who appreciate good filmaking like myself just shaking their heads.
That being said let me say that I believe Wonder Woman definitely hit on one of those extremes of dragging us through the lore, detail, and burdensome dialogue that really stretched the film into a lengthy 141 minutes, twenty minutes of which I felt could have been easily cut.
There were so many sections of dialogue that were not only weighty and wordy but also chopped up the pacing to the point where it became reminiscent of driving into rush hour traffic on the interstate–a lot of stop and go bumper to bumper drudgery.
The main reason for this was the numerous transitions within the plot that did not smoothly blend into one another so the extra exposition was needed to help the audience transition from one state of mind to the next. Don’t get me wrong I’m all about dialogue that is used to advance the plot. But when the plot lacks in continuity, dialogue is forced into being used as a devise for exposé which is not the best use of it.
HERE’S THE SIMPLE VERSION OF WHAT I JUST SAID:
Basically since the plot was over the place extra dialogue was needed to help the audience follow along which bogged down the pacing.
While we’re on this line of thought let’s talk about the plot. To me, the entire premise was pretty ridiculous. No spoilers here but basically Wonder Woman goes to 20th century London accompanied by American spy Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) to find and kill the son of Zeus whom she thinks is responsible for turning mankind’s hearts towards war. She believes if she finds and kills Ares that WWI will end. At the end she finds that only love can truly end the evil in mans hearts.
Not only is that not true from a real world epistemological standpoint but it also makes for the cheesiest plot line that I’ve heard of in recent years. I mean talk about hippie city! It was just funny to me considering that the producers worked so hard to make the myth come to life by setting it in the real world only for fantastical and fairy tale ideologies to permeate it throughout. I mean were we really supposed to take it seriously? I don’t know.
While I personally found the movie to be pretty boring (I almost fell asleep more than once) it wasn’t bad or distasteful. Gal Gadot is pretty impressive. She’s also pretty. New celebrity crush, everyone! 😉 She’s a great face for the franchise and a good actress. She has just the right amount of charisma and mental toughness to stand out as a strong and complementary force in the D.C. cinematic universe and for that fans everyone can let out a timid sigh of relief. Chris Pine complimented her well and made for a good sidekick (I guess you could call it that) although the rest of the soldiers she teams up with (along with the other tertiary characters) will soon be forgotten. There were some good genuine moments in the film and while I had a hard time respecting or fearing the villain who finally reveals himself in the last fifteen minutes of the film, the last showdown is satisfying and has some echoes of Zack Snyder’s 300 style of choreography which I love.
What I’m trying to say is the last fifteen minutes make the movie worth seeing. So if you’re patient enough to wade through a lot of slush to get there, expecting to be rewarded!
In conclusion, Gal Gadot is this film’s saving grace. There were quite a few reasons to want to hate this film but her performance kept me engaged enough to where I was able to appreciate it and I look forward to seeing her in Justice League. That being said, as a film in general it’s a bit lackluster but if you’re a big D.C. fan or just looking for some mildly good entertainment go ahead and check it out. It won’t be the worst superhero movie you’ve seen, that’s for sure!
Daily Diatribe Rating 6.5/10