Overall: 20/20 – A
**Minimum of spoilers*
I’m not going to lie. I’ve been putting off writing up this particular movie even though I saw it on opening night. The fact is, I’m not sure I can’t say anything that hasn’t been said before. For the last two weeks I have watched every Facebook post, tweet, and news article come across with positively glowing reviews. And not a single one of them was wrong. I don’t think I’ve come across anyone yet who has had a bad thing to say about this movie from any standpoint (update: I found one – but I don’t think they like superhero movies period – so they don’t count).
Perhaps the reason it has been so difficult to write this particular piece is that it’s easy to rail against a horrible movie. It’s easy to nitpick and find faults in a bad movie. It’s easy to identify which parts make a “meh” movie. And yet, for some reason, it’s incredibly hard to write when you have nothing but good things to say. You find yourself saying or using the same words over and over again: great! amazing! awesome! spectacular! And then your reader is left saying “yes, yes I get it. You liked the movie.” That’s not the kind of review I want to write. Mostly because I’ve seen dozens of reviews that say the exact same thing so mine has no reason to stand out from the masses. But again. They aren’t wrong.
Even if you are not a DC fan, you should see this movie. I am sadly, one of those people who is not a DC fan. In fact, MB gave me homework before we even went to go see it. There were youtube videos I watched and comics I had to familiarize myself with. I even broke down and watched Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, the extended cut no less. That’s 3 hours of my life I wasn’t expecting to devote to angry superheroes fighting each other. Not even Captain America: Civil War lasted that long. And yet I did, mostly because I wanted to make sure that I was able to understand Wonder Woman to the best of my abilities. Even then, I still had to confer with MB after the movie in order to make sure I had understood some of the finer plot points that only those who had read the comics would be able to explain.
If you’ve been living under a particularly large rock, or perhaps on Themyscira itself (for those of you who are of the female persuasion – or lucky enough to be Chris Pine), then you know that this movie centers around Diana, an Amazon who decides to journey outside her safe, hidden island into the very heart of WWI itself in order to destroy the ultimate evil. Raised as a fighter against the wishes of her mother, the queen, Diana is restless and chomping at the bit to fight injustice which is hard to find on the hidden island known as Themyscira. This island is the peaceful home of the Greek warriors created to fight against Ares, the God of War, who they defeated hundreds of years ago but at great cost. Safe in her haven, Diana has no experience with modern life, actual war, or even men. All is changed when an American spy working with British Intelligence by impersonating a German pilot, crashes through their protective shields, bringing World War I with him. Together, Steve Trevor and Diana race against time, and bureaucrats, and the Germans to defeat evil and save the world.
A great deal of care has been taken with this particular script and it is noticeable throughout. Having gone through many renditions, it is director Patty Jenkins who finally brings it all together. With the perfect balance between humor, heart-felt discussions, the grittiness of war and the inevitable breath of fresh air at the end, Wonder Woman literally has it all.
Clearly, Gal Gadot is the stand-out of the film as Diana, the beautiful, quirky, and extremely talented Amazon. There are plenty of reviews that delve into both her and the Chris Pine’s performances, so I won’t bore you with a repeat here, other than to say that all the kudos are well deserved. Rather than focus on them, let’s focus instead on two more minor characters that actual steal the show. The first person who is an unexpected, yet pleasant surprise is the incomparable David Thewlis. Not everyone knows his true name, but more than one fan who sees his face will be able to point and shout “Remus Lupin.” While he has many more credits to his name, David Thewlis is indeed of Harry Potter fame and his appearance is a welcome addition as Sir Patrick. If you have seen the movie then you know of his importance. If you haven’t, then he’s definitely one to watch. Another interesting addition is the underused but often hilarious Lucy Davis. Her character, Etta, is the always cheerful English secretary who actually manages to sneak her boss and his girl into one of the most dangerous areas on Earth, No Man’s Land.
Visually, this is a great movie to go and see in the theater. Slo-mo battle scenes are amazing. If you liked how some of the scenes were shot in Avengers: Age of Ultron, than you will like the comic book pop-out scenes of Wonder Woman. As everyone has said, the scene where Diana steps out into the middle of No Man’s Land is one of the most visually stunning scenes of the movie followed closely by her battle with Ares at the end. I don’t know why it’s a requirement that movies shot about WWI have to be done in cool color palettes but at least it makes Diana stand out more than usual with her slightly tweaked traditional costume.
If you’ve read my blog you know that I’m a sucker for a good soundtrack. If I could, I would have my own soundtrack for my life. As it is, since I can’t, I borrow the great ones from the movie to play at home, at work, and definitely on long drives. This soundtrack is one that is definitely worth borrowing. Rupert Gregson-Williams continues his tradition of creating a sweeping score that highlights the best parts of the movie. When you can listen to a soundtrack and pinpoint specific parts of a movie purely based on the score, then you know you have a truly spectacular piece of music. The music in particular stands out in two separate parts, Diana’s decision to step out into No Man’s Land alone and when she battles to save the small village from their oppressors (appropriately named “Wonder Woman’s Wrath”).
Awesome visuals, spectacular cast, amazing music, and a great plot all come together for one stellar movie.
Adults: Just go see it if you haven’t already. You will thank me.
Children: Will possibly like it if you like superheroes. You may not understand everything that’s happening on screen but it’ll still be cool.