Hot Take: Wonder Woman is a wonderful film. It even overcomes comic film fatigue… and that’s saying a lot. Best film of the year (as of June 4) but 2017 still doesn’t have a 5 star movie yet.
The best part of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was the first appearance of Wonder Woman. At the time, seeing Gal Gadot don the tiara and knowing there was a future solo film was exciting. Add in the fact that 2017 has been particularly bereft of great films and Wonder Woman was primed for a turn in the spotlight. By weekend’s end, it looks like the origin story of this DCEU character is likely to top $100 million at the box office which will not only be considered a pretty big success for the film, it’s also the highest grossing opening weekend for a film directed by a female. The bigger question, though, is was Wonder Woman any good?
The answer is a resounding yes! Up until this point, I have been a pretty harsh critic of the DCEU. Last year’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad were both big disappointments. Although I wasn’t as down on both films as much as some others, they didn’t work for this viewer. However, Wonder Woman is a huge leap forward from those two films. Not only does it have all of the elements of a comic book film, it takes it one step further and adds in some real heart and humanity. While it isn’t as emotionally wrenching as Logan, it in many ways surpasses the film with a mixture of light and hope that balances the darker side of the film.
Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman is a home run. While she may have been a bit one dimensional in her appearance in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, at the time it was easy to pinpoint the cause being her lack of screen time combined with how overcrowded the film was. Gadot nails it in her solo feature and delivers a strong, well rounded performance and proves that she’s more than just a pretty face. As the character matures throughout this origin tale, so does Gadot’s performance. Chris Pine also works really well in his role opposite Gadot. The two have great chemistry and it’s electric whenever the two are on screen together.
Director Patty Jenkins deserves a lot of credit for putting together a film that feels tight despite it’s 141 minute run time. Never once did I feel the need to check the time as the mixture of story and action were nearly flawless. For the most part, the fight scenes were spectacular. The only criticism would be the overuse of CGI in the film’s climax. Not that there’s much of a choice there but the scene was not the best action sequence of the movie which is always disappointing when the final scene is topped by another less important, earlier sequence.
Even if you are suffering from comic book film fatigue, Wonder Woman has the ability to overcome most cases. The level of heart and humanity this film has in addition to the obligatory comic action and a female heroine that kicks a lot of ass makes this origin story a worthwhile endeavor. It’s only June but Wonder Woman is the queen of the summer and, in my opinion, the best film of 2017 to date.
“Spoiler Free” Pros
- Gadot Delivers
Hopes were high after she made a splash in last year’s critical dud Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. In the follow up performance, Gadot pays off the audience for their positive vibes and represents the legendary DC heroine exactly how we’d want it to be portrayed.
- Amazon Women on the Island
Diana’s home island of Themyscira is on full display and her fellow Amazons get to show off their impressive fight moves complete with gratuitous slow motion captured action as the women of Themyscira show they can kick ass and take names, too.
- From the Trenches
The scene of the film occurs in the second act when Diana emerges from the trenches on the battlefield and becomes the heroine she has always strived to be and shows off an impressive repertoire of moves.
“Spoiler Free” Cons
- That Poor Audience
We’ve been conditioned to stick around at the end of some films, especially comic book films, to see the mid-credit or post-credit scene. Having googled “Does Wonder Woman have a post-credit scene?” prior to arriving, it was easy for me to duck out as the credits rolled. Unfortunately, most of the rest of the audience didn’t get the memo as they sat waiting for something more. I guess that’s a good sign though because, at least this time, the DCEU left them wanting more.