When I first heard of the casting of Gal Gadot as Wonder Women I had mixed feelings. Part of me thought that DC was just casting a beautiful woman to counteract the amount of testosterone in the Justice League but thankfully Gal Gadot calmed my fear by adding heart to the character. There were some shaky moments, to begin with, but by the end, Gal Gadot affirmed herself as generation’s Wonder Women. She’s charming and has great comic timing but when needs be, she brings the emotion and fierceness that fans will recognise as classic Wonder Woman traits. I myself am more familiar with animated versions of Wonder Woman (and I’m included video game versions of the character) and everything I loved about those incarnations of the character is portrayed in Gadot’s adaptation.
For those of us who binge watched Justice League, Justice League Unlimited, Young Justice and just about any other DC animated property we’ve come to love and respect Wonder Women as a powerhouse deserving her place alongside Batman and Superman. Though we got a taste of this in BVS (some people even claiming her extended cameo as being the best part of the movie) seeing her full backstory was necessary as it is relatively unknown to those outside the comic book world. Because we see them so often, origin stories can be hard but Heinberg and Jenkins did fantastic work grounding the over-the-top story in some semblance of reality by being able to poke fun at some elements of the story whilst remaining faithful to the source material.
As expected Chris Pine was an excellent choice for Steve Trevor. Many of us will be used to Firefly actor Nathan Fillion voicing the character but Pine manages to bring the same charm to the character whilst also giving him a level of groundedness (which ironic since he’s a pilot). It’s interesting that the writers and make-up artists decided to make Steve Trevor slightly older than he has been previously, the grey hairs suggesting that Trevor has seen some things and he’s not just the generic reckless young man the naive girl can’t help but fall for. Chris Pine, in turn, continues to show that he’s not just your average pretty boy actor and can add real weight and depth to a character with just the smallest of expressions and I will miss his and Diana’s relationship in the upcoming films as their moments were the best parts of the film save only for those amazing action sequences.
Wonder Woman is badass. The action in the movie is superb. I’ve seen some criticism that at times the movie was a bit CGI heavy and I partly agree. It’s not so much that the CGI was too much but that it seemed some effects weren’t completely finished especially those scenes involving Wonder Woman herself. The effects with the whip were so clearly CGI it did take me out of the film, mainly because I’ve seen better CGI on the DC’s ‘The Flash’ which as a TV show should not have better CGI than big budget movies like Wonder Woman. I wonder whether it would’ve been better to have just a CGI whip and to train Gal Gadot or the stunt double in gymnastics just so that they don’t have to rely so heavily on editing the entire scene. Saying this though the fight against Ares was amazing and the CGI didn’t bother me at all. I was totally invested in her actions, I cared whether the main character and supporting characters survived and I was in awe with the comic-book-ness of the set pieces.
There is quite a bit of slow-motion in the film and it could be quite hit and miss. Some pieces worked really well, like the WW1 set piece in Act 2 with moments like the one shown in the trailer where Diana breaks a gun behind her back. The constant change of speed during such fight scenes seemed inspired by the fighting style in the recent Batman video games and created some awesome visuals. However, other moments like when Diana goes back into the French village and finds the people there dead, the drawn-out slow motion did make the scene a bit cringeworthy and took away slightly from Gadot’s performance.
This movie was riddled with clichés so much so that at certain points myself and my brother couldn’t help but groan at the obvious story beats that were unfolding but that’s to be expected in a comic book film. One of the more annoying ones was Dr Maru’s dialogue. To be fair to the screenwriters, I haven’t seen the script so I don’t know if the characters way of speaking was down to the actress or writing, but Dr Morrow’s use of pauses almost drove me up the wall. You can get away with a once but after a couple of times I kinda just wanted the character to stop speaking and just be the menacing Doctor.
Some cliché moments, though cheesy, were enjoyable. For instance when Ares literally says “Then I will destroy you” I laughed with glee. I think that this worked for me because unlike other generic characters Ares is literally the God of War and his goal is to get the human race to destroy itself in war and there’s nothing he likes more than trying to destroy other people. There is no complicated, convoluted plan to take over the world, just the actual God of War doing his thing.
Villains are difficult to get right (just ask Marvel) and this movie has three. From the outset, it’s established that Ares, the God of War, is the big bad and this gives the film a definite direction and gives our hero a specific goal we, as an audience, can get behind. But the backdrop of World War One adds another villain; us. We see a huge character arc when Diana finally realises that she cannot save everyone in the war and that the evil and cruelty in people isn’t because Ares has the German’s under his control. Credit had to go to Gadot’s performance who sold the moment when Diana considers joining Ares and letting us destroy each other.
No, I’m not going to make the joke that this movie is ‘wonderful’ of that Gal Gadot is the ‘Wonderful Woman’ but this movie is great and you should go see it. 3D viewing is not necessary (mainly because it is expensive) but it doesn’t hurt the movie at all. I saw the movie in lowly 2D and it still blew me away.