Josh and Violet share their spoiler-free male vs. female perspective reviews of Wonder Woman, directed by Patty Jenkins, and starring Gal Gadot and Chris Pine!
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Violet’s Movie Review of
Wonder Woman, directed by Patty Jenkins, opened to a domestic debut of over $103 million this past weekend — the highest ever opening for a female directed film. The film is the fourth installment in the DCEU (DC Extended Universe) and stars Gal Gadot as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman, Chris Pine as Steve Trevor, Connie Nielsen as Diana’s mother, Hippolyta, and Robin Wright as Diana’s aunt, Antiope.
The DCEU has had a rocky road thus far, with each of its three previous films not faring very well with critics and audiences alike. It seemed that the future of the DCEU hinged on Wonder Woman‘s performance. Not only that, but since this was the first female-led superhero film in recent history (we still have to wait almost 2 years until we get Captain Marvel from the MCU [Marvel Cinematic Universe], despite Marvel already having released 15 other films to date), the future of superhero films featuring a female as the lead also seemed to rest on Wonder Woman‘s shoulders. Well, step aside men, this was a job that only a woman could do. With Patty Jenkins at the helm, and Gal Gadot as the film’s lead, Wonder Woman was not only a box office success, but also a success with critics, being certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes with 93%. Compare that to the next highest DCEU movie rating, Man of Steel, of 55%!
Although this is not the first time that we’ve met Gal Gadot’s Diana Prince, Wonder Woman gives us a whole different perspective on this character. Indeed, the vast majority of the movie takes place in the past, rather than the present, as we learn about Wonder Woman’s origin story. The film briefly begins in the present, with Diana reminiscing about her life, and we are transported back to when she was a child growing up on the solely female populated island of Themyscira. Diana is the only child on the island, and is a princess, the daughter of Queen Hippolyta. She is eager to learn to fight, which is what the women on Themyscira, the Amazons, spend their time doing, training to fight. We soon see that Diana becomes the best warrior on Themyscira. But there’s something that her mother and the others are hiding from her — though what it is, we don’t find out until later. Then along comes Steve Trevor, an American soldier acting as a spy in World War I, whose plane crashes in the water near the island. Diana saves Steve, and upon finding out about the war, she ends up going back with Steve to the modern world on a mission to find and kill Ares, the god of war, so as to end the war. Together, the two embark on a journey that will change both of their lives forever.
One of the most charming things about the movie is the way that Diana comes to terms with how the outside world is different from where she is from — and how she doesn’t put up with that and instead takes things into her own hands and does what she feels is right, even if it goes against societal norms. Gal Gadot portrays Diana perfectly, with just the right blend of innocence and ferocity. With the focus being on her in this movie, she was really given the chance to shine, and shine she did in this role.
One might think that with a female lead, there might not be as much action or fight scenes as there are in other superhero films. However, that cannot be further from the truth, and in fact, Wonder Woman had some of the best and most memorable fight scenes that I’ve ever seen in a superhero film. Yes, some of the style of the fight scenes was borrowed from Zack Snyder’s 300 (and yes, Snyder was an executive producer and one of the writers of Wonder Woman), but it worked really well for these specific scenes, and highlighted just how awesome the Amazons and Diana are.
Although Gal Gadot stole the show (and rightfully so, since she was in the title role), hers was not the only noteworthy performance. Chris Pine’s portrayal of Steve Trevor was the perfect complement to Gadot’s Diana, and the two had great chemistry together.
While the film has a lot to praise, it is not without its flaws. There were a few parts that were a bit slow and kind of dragged, and felt like the 2 hour and 21 minute film could have benefited from being just a bit shorter. But I think my biggest complaint is that the final showdown with the villain felt somewhat out of place in context with the rest of the film, and took me out of the movie just a little.
However, overall, Wonder Woman was a very enjoyable film with a good balance of humor, action, and drama, and finally gave us the DCEU hero that we deserve. Now that the bar has been set, I hope that future DC movies can live up to Wonder Woman.
My rating: 8.5/10
Josh’s Movie Review of
Wonder Woman came out, which was the follow up to the terrible Batman V Superman movie, which came out in 2016 (Batman V Superman here, although my opinion of the film has dropped significantly since the writing of that review). There were plenty of concerns going into this film for me, given how much trouble the DCEU has had with getting its own movies started. Man of Steel, while I adore this film, was a very polarizing film for Superman fans. And the most recent film Suicide Squad (reviewed here by Violet and myself) was critical panned as well. No one knew what to expect for this film. It turns out, Wonder Woman did a pretty good job of getting people excited for the DCEU again, and it looks like director Patty Jenkins deserves a lot of the praise for that.
Wonder Woman takes place back in 1918 roughly, at the tail end of World War I. We see Diana growing up on the mythical homeworld island of Themyscira, and eventually through events caused by Steven Trevor, winds up fighting in World War I. This film does well in portraying not just Wonder Woman, but all of the Amazonians as tough, strong women, who do not need men to be powerful. The film also highlights how a male dominated society has thwarted women’s rights in history, by Wonder Woman coming to the “real world” and seeing how differently her life is compared to women who live in Europe in the early 20th century. Wonder Woman and Patty Jenkins do an excellent job of showing how Diana is a fish out of water in Wonder Woman, while at the same time showing how sometimes it takes an outsider to point out what is wrong with the way things “always have been.”
As for the performances in Wonder Woman, most were very good. Chris Pine played Steve Trevor quite perfectly, and I think that Chris Pine should try more dramatic, serious movies, as I think he could definitely do well in them. As for Gal Gadot, she was pretty “hit and miss” for me. At times, I think her performance is pretty good, but there are some scenes I just could not take seriously. I think another actress would have been a better choice for the movie, but I think that thanks to Patty Jenkins, the film was directed in a way that mostly played to Gal Gadot’s strengths.
As for the supporting cast, I found their performances good as well. I don’t think anything was stellar in terms of acting, but nothing certainly stood out as bad, or awful.
The major villain of Wonder Woman, which I will remain vague about, was probably my biggest disappointment in the film. His storyline for myself was pretty obvious, and a pretty unremarkable character. I also did not like the way he looked, finding it pretty cheesy overall. The last fight scene for the film was a lot of explosions, and chaos, but it was relatively uneventful.
There are a couple story points that kind of bothered me, which treads very lightly into spoiler territory, but I have to talk about them some. Towards the beginning of the film, when Diana is a kid, Queen Hippolyta, Wonder Woman’s mom, forbids her from training with the other Amazonians. Diana sneaks away anyway and Antiope, the military leader of the Amazonians, seems fine with training her. Once Hippolyta finds out, she chews Antiope out, but then after some chit-chat tells Antiope to train her ten times harder than she normally would. I think I understand a little why she says this, but it does come off kind of strange.
The movie looked great though—from costuming, to special effects, there was a lot to look at in this film. I would be hard pressed to find visuals in the film that weren’t great outside of the final villain, which I already griped about.
Overall, I think the movie was the second best DCEU film yet (I am a stalwart defender of Man of Steel, for another review plug, you can read my review of that movie here). I think this movie deserves a solid 8 out of 10. I think there were some improvements that could be made, but overall I am very happy with what feels like the actual beginning of the DCEU. Wonder Woman has been the best part of it since Batman V Superman, as I thought she was one of the best parts of that movie as well. I am glad that has carried over to this film, and hopefully Patty Jenkins sticks around for the sequel, as it looks like as of the time of this writing, she has not signed on yet.