There’s been more than enough said about Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman already in regards to predominantly men for some reason getting up in arms about it. Or the somehow devaluation of a female director with a more humble film beginnings suddenly been given the reigns of a big franchise despite the fact that so many of the blockbusters of late have come from directors with indie sensibilities and smaller budgets. Or, well, a million other more examples of double standards in the mainstream reception of the movie business. What really matters now that the film is out is this: Is Wonder Woman (2017) a good movie?
It is indeed a good movie. A slight cut below great, but that is down to the ultimate construction and execution of a superhero genre film that also has the trappings of being an origin movie. We’ve seen this time and time again, and now it’s time to look at the extent Wonder Woman succeeds.
Wonder Woman has a lot going for it. Patty Jenkins, the director of 2003’s incredible Monster, helms the first big female-led comic book blockbuster in this current wave of superhero cinema. It’s already leaping ahead of your Supergirl, Tank Girl, Catwoman, and Elektras purely for the era it exists.
Allan Heinberg writes and he’s already had experience writing for the character in actual comic books, an advantage that works in so many ways including understanding arcs and visual storytelling.
He spins a tale of Wonder Woman and her entrance into the world that we live in where World War I is doing the best at what it does: Tragically killing so many people. Heinberg writes an intelligent and awesome superhero movie that includes a great foil in the character of Steve Trevor (a charismatic and fun Chris Pine) who, alongside those who we’ll all compare to the Howling Commandos in Captain America, helps Wonder Woman on her way to try and stop the war to end all wars.
The writing only suffers really when it comes to some scenes running on a bit too long, especially in regards to comical scenes. That, as well as the usual superhero movie problem where you have to come up with a big bang of a finale when you’ve essentially got a god as your hero.
Gal Godot, however, is Wonder Woman. A beauty of course, but more importantly a strong force to be reckoned with, Gal Godot creates a Wonder Woman you see on the big screen and think “Wow. Now that’s a hero little girls can call their own.” It’s very similar to the perfect moment in The Force Awakens when Rey ignites a lightsaber and you just can’t help but think there’s a generation of females who are being given more of a chance with strong heroic women.
It’s a nice step and it’s an important step and it just needs to continue in cinema. Wonder Woman is a movie that rightfully has had all-female screenings, and goddamn if you have kids take them to see this movie. With your supervision, of course. There’s some sex jokes and lots of killing. That’s me covering my back re: responsibility.
Godot projects a Wonder Woman who is keen on a goal and is driven to achieve it. She’s powerful and doesn’t back down from adversity. Given the time the film is set – World War I – its nice to see her throw her weight around and argue against men and their sensibilities. Wonder Woman is a film full of commentary of gender politics, war, violence, humanity, and all other sorts of themes. It’s deep and it’s complex and it still manages to have so much badassery.
Wonder Woman loves its slow-mo. It never feels too overbearing though. There’s a different style and pace to it than what we are used to, and coming from a universe of movies that’s already had too much Zack Synder in it, seeing things similar but done different is a refreshing change of pace. Women fly all through the air doing badass things like shooting arrows and swinging swords, Wonder Woman herself does all sorts of awesome with her bulletproof bracelets, sword, shield, and lasso of truth, the only real issue is when it comes to some of the special effects.
They can be a little janky. There are some notable eyebrow raises towards the end of the film where the final encounter…feels like quite the let down. With the way things unfold; some may be a bit detached from what’s happening. It’s nowhere near as bad as say, a Suicide Squad, but Wonder Woman sorta falls a bit short towards the end.
The film also takes a slight enjoyment hit in regards to the length of it. A constant problem with comic book movies of late are the runtime. At 141 minutes, Wonder Woman definitely lets you feel the length. Some scenes could be excised and less repetition could definitely happen, but mostly it’s when the comedy doesn’t quite hit or we’re in a location for too long when you may struggle.
Overall, however, Wonder Woman is a definite recommendation. It’s an important film in this timeline of superhero cinema we are in. We’ve moved into a place that follows the parody of Deadpool, the finality of Logan, and what looks to be an actual decent Thor movie. Only now we are getting our female-driven superhero movies, and it’s good to let the women have a turn. Because this is a damn fine first step. Bring us a sequel. And bring us Captain Marvel. And bring us more important heroes that girls can relate and get excited for.
And for gods sake make decent merchandise and toys for them. Girls have heroes too.