Finally got round to re-watching and reviewing Wonder Woman so it can finally be retroactively fitted into my series of DCEU film reviews, completing the series. It’s about time!
RELEASED: June 2nd 2017
DIRECTED BY: Patty Jenkins
WRITTEN BY: Allan Heinberg, Jason Fuchs & Zack Snyder
PRODUCED BY: Charles Roven, Richard Suckle, Deborah Snyder & Zack Snyder
MUSIC BY: Rupert Gregson-Williams
STARRING: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, Connie Nielsen, Elena Anaya, Saïd Taghmaoui, Ewen Brimmer, Eugene Brave Rock & Lucy Davis
Commonly known as the bright spot amongst the sea of messy, bleak superhero movies that make up the DCEU, Wonder Woman sees Diana retell the story of how she came to the world of man; meeting her first love Steve Trevor and becoming embroiled in World War I in her hunt for the Greek God of War, Ares – who she believes has corrupted humanity.
The result is a film that clearly fits within the set-up of the DCEU as we know it, but with numerous factors that make it stand out amongst the rest. Because while I love Man of Steel, I must admit that it can be bleak at times, and the two follow-up films, Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad, are thoroughly depressing, in terms of content and quality, respectively. Wonder Woman, however, is a film that provides hope. It preaches about the power of love and presents an empowering lead character who grows and develops in a meaningful way that actually, unlike her peers *cough*Batman*cough*, makes sense.
It’s a well written, well-paced adventure that some have compared to Captain America: The First Avenger, due to its war-time setting. However, unlike The First Avenger, Wonder Woman, for the most part, strives to take things more seriously, lingering in the horrors of war, as both the audience and Wonder Woman herself are forced to confront the fact that superheroes can’t save everyone. In this way, it’s quite an intelligent film compared to other superhero blockbusters, and towards the end, Wonder Woman and her love-interest, Steve Trevor, have an especially poignant conversation about the nature of evil.
Unfortunately, it’s around this time that the film undoes a lot of its hard work. After a great first act that presents a strong dynamic between the central characters and sets up the story excellently, and a second act that really hammers down why Wonder Woman is so great through heartwarming dialogue and excellently choreographed action sequences, towards the end, the film seems to lose some of its magic. There’s a tonal shift that doesn’t seem to be in keeping with the rest of the film, and it leads to yet another ‘superhero fights a hulking grey supervillain amidst the smoke and rubble’ action sequence that plague most of the DC films to some degree.
Not only that, but the fight itself undercuts the strong message that has been prevalent throughout the film and that is so vital to Diana’s growth as a character. Steve Trevor even highlights this point quite bluntly in that aforementioned conversation on evil, and yet straight after, the film conjures up a supervillain who is behind all the woes of World War I, and suggests that despite the fact the whole film has been about how human beings can be good or bad without a corrupting factor, beating said villain will end the war.
It’s a bit disappointing, to be honest, but doesn’t detract from the fact that the first two acts are very solid; the second one, in particular, being one of the better things to come out of superhero cinema in recent memory.
All-in-all, I give it: