“Oh, I really like her!”
The Digital Crack crew saw Wonder Woman over the weekend. Three of them decided to write their impressions of the movie from three different perspectives. Cousin Jose is the DC expert; he speaks from the point of view of a hardcore DC fan. Uncle Willy is a Marvel guy but still enjoys DC books; he writes from the perspective of a more casual fan. Meanwhile, Punisher can’t tell Hal Jordan from HAL 9000; he gives his take as a comic neophyte. Oh, and watch out for spoilers from Punisher. He has no chill with regards to that.
Uncle Willy (Editor-in-Chief/Writer/Podcast Personality)
I’ve literally been waiting decades for a live-action Wonder Woman movie. I may have only a casual familiarity with the DC universe, but I know about the big three. She is my favorite DC character and the only member of DC’s trinity of superhero icons not to receive the feature film treatment. I’ve also wanted to see a strong, female-led superhero movie for quite a while. After duds like Catwoman, Elektra, and Tank Girl, things were looking bleak.
Worse, I was depending on Warner Bros to make it happen. You know, the brain trust that made Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad. Those two movies hurt my soul. In the end, I decided to call them out. To me, this was do-or-die. I hitched my cart to Wonder Woman and practically DARED Warner Bros. to screw the movie up.
So what did I think of it? It was flawed, but I feel Diana of Themyscira has finally received the treatment she deserved.
First and foremost, no Wonder Woman movie would fly in my eyes if they didn’t get the titular Amazon right. I’m happy to say Gal Gadot absolutely nailed the role. Admittedly, I was one of the many idiots who didn’t originally approve of Gadot’s casting. Like said idiots, I felt she was not Amazon enough for the role. I was wrong. She may not be as buff as I envisioned Diana being, but she owned the role as surely as the late Christopher Reeve owned the role of Superman. And I’m glad I was wrong. I’ll eat my crow merrily, thank you very much.
More importantly, Gadot and the writing team led by Allan Heinberg got the weight of being Wonder Woman right. All the beats were present: Diana was loving and compassionate, but she knew how to throw down. Her fish-out-of-water naiveté in London and on the front did not diminish her focus. And she refused to be cowed by any person or situation, fighting back against anyone who tried to dissuade her from following through on her mission to defeat Ares. This was the way Wonder Woman was supposed to be portrayed.
Chris Pine was equally excellent as Steve Trevor, the American pilot who crash lands in Themyscira and sets everything in motion. Trevor and Diana have great chemistry, making even trivial conversations hugely entertaining. He’s the more pragmatic of the two, having accepted the brutality of war and realizing that not everyone can be saved. This leads to more than a few disagreements with Diana, who wants to save everyone. These moments, as well as the lighter scenes when trying on clothes or discussing more intimate subjects, sell us on Trevor and Diana as a thing.
The other supporting characters are excellent as well. More importantly, the movie makes you care about them all. You feel for Diana’s mother, Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen), who wants to protect her. At the same time, you want to side with Hippolyta’s sister, Antiope (Robin Wright), who wants to train Diana to be a proper Amazon. Once on the front, you develop an interest in the band of misfits that get Trevor and Diana to the front lines. Whether it’s the smooth talker Sameer (Said Taghmaoui), the affable but troubled sniper Charlie (Ewen Bremner), or stoic tracker The Chief (Eugene Brave Rock), you’re rooting for all of them.
Extra kudos have to be given to director Patty Jenkins. Wonder Woman has much more focus as a movie than the other three DCEU movies. It may still sport the dour gray haze emblematic of the DCEU through large swaths of the movie, but it’s more purposeful now. This takes place during World War I, and I’m pretty sure the front was not covered in blue skies and rainbows. The scenes in Themyscira, however, are absolutely gorgeous, truly befitting a land known as Paradise Island. The comedic bits seem genuine, not just fluff for fluff’s sake. And the action scenes pack some serious punch, showing off just how overpowering Wonder Woman can be when she’s in battle.
It’s in some of these action scenes, however, where the flaws start to kick in. While the CG work was pretty awesome through most of the movie, there were moments where my suspension of disbelief was dinged. In one particular fight scene, Wonder Woman is tossing enemies around with her lasso. The CG work on this particular scene took me out of the movie, giving me vibes of the Burly Brawl from Matrix Reloaded. It was pretty jarring, but fortunately, it didn’t ruin the scene.
The suspect CG work was also present in the final battle, which was the culmination of this movie’s biggest flaw in my eyes: weak villains. Early on, we’re introduced to General Ludendorff (Danny Huston) and his mad genius chemist, Doctor Poison (Elena Anaya). Ludendorff is the typical genocidal evil general, bent on murdering as many innocents as possible in order to win the war. Doctor Poison, meanwhile, is meek and spineless; only her genius in concocting deadly gases separates her from any other sniveling lackey. Neither of them command any sort of real threat and seem to be in the movie just to cackle and make evil noises from their talk holes.
Worse still is the movie’s ultimate baddie, Ares. He’s talked up in the entire movie as a master manipulator and the cause of all evil acts in the world. He’s the Greek god of war, and there just happens to be a major war going on, so he’s in his element. When he is finally revealed, however, he ends up being nothing more than a two-legged exposition speaker, low on actual godlike power and high on banter. And his transformation is a pretty silly one, with his face really clowning his intended menace.
Are all these flaws nitpicks? I’ll concede that the complaints about the CG work could be a bit nitpicky. But the weakness of the villains is a major flaw in my eyes. As far as superhero movies go, I’d rank this movie’s villainous troika below Guardians of the Galaxy’s Ronan the Accuser on the menace scale. As awesome as Wonder Woman is, her main foil doesn’t seem up to the task of seriously challenging her.
Despite those complaints, I feel Wonder Woman is a very good movie. It’s the first movie in the DCEU that I want to see again for enjoyment. Thankfully, Warner Bros. didn’t screw the movie up. Now let’s see if they can keep this going with Justice League. I may love DC superheroes, but I ain’t ready to forgive WB for their past boneheadedness just yet.
Cousin Jose (DC Comics Expert/Writer)
It has been over 38 years since we last had a live-action Wonder Woman on the screen, even though it was the small screen. On March 20, 2016, we got our first glimpse of Wonder Woman on the big screen, even if her part in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was small. She still made a big impact. One year later, the dream of Diana, princess of Themyscira, actually having her own movie came to be, and I was pleased.
As a fan of DC comics, I did enjoy three out of the four DCEU movies that came out. I think it’s because I see them in a different perspective and know some of the sources that have been used. Man of Steel until now was the better of the series, followed by Suicide Squad which I did enjoy. I just felt if certain things could have changed, then it would have been better. Batman v Superman, let’s just say I was not pleased until I saw Batman and Wonder Woman there. Now after many years of waiting and hoping that WB and DC don’t royally screw up the first female lead within the new DCEU, Wonder Woman is here.
I was worried until I saw the movie. There were a couple of things I did call about before watching the movie that I guessed correctly: the origin story and the main villain. All of that was after watching two trailers.
The movie starts during the present day just to take us back to the origin story of Diana. We get to see Themyscira for the first time, and the scenery is beautiful. The movie does stick to the comics up to a certain point as Hollywood does have to change a couple of things. The changes were not bad. The settings of World War I actually helped the character development and the way that Gal Gadot and Chris Pine played off each other felt very natural. This movie knew when to be serious, when to involve comedy, and when to drop in the full blown action. And oh man, did we get some badassery in the action department.
My issue with the movie mostly is Ares, I felt that he wasn’t as fearful and a major badass villain that the God of War should be. The CGI, even though it was used a lot, didn’t bug me as much as I thought it would. The tint that was used once in London and during the War scene didn’t bother me either as it felt like it belonged within that era. This is a comic book/war movie; this is a period piece and it was done right.
Gal Gadot brought my hopes up and convinced me that she is the right woman for this role. As much as I hate to admit it, I was originally worried about her acting skills. In my mind, she wasn’t the right person. I am glad that I was wrong.
This movie isn’t perfect, but it is the best that the DCEU has brought out and I am willing to watch it again. There is more that I want to say about certain scenes, but that would lead us into spoiler territory, and that wouldn’t bring justice to the movie. This movie did justice to Wonder Woman, but of course there were things that if changed could have made the movie a lot better. I do want to give props to Patty Jenkins and her writing team as without them this movie would not be what it was.
Punisher (Podcast Personality)
I’m someone that doesn’t follow DC comic books, but after seeing Bats v Supes, I was worried about Wonder Woman. But this movie was directed by someone else, and it’s safe to say it was a pretty good movie. Not the best but it was enjoyable to see.
When this movie starts, it’s really nice and bright with such vivid colors. We see a young Diana with the other ladies on that island. We have her mother always keeping her under her skirt, not wanting her to know the truth about her powers, father, etc. etc. Her mother also does not want her to train to fight, because there has not been a war in ages (cliché!) until Diana disobeys her mom’s orders and goes to train to fight. When she’s a little older, her mom catches her training and pretty much said fuck it and to train her harder than any woman on that island.
Now she’s a woman and we see her kicking ass with her training. She goes to a cliff and see a German plane crashes in the water. Of course, she goes to save that person. While saving the man, Steve Trevor, the Germans discover the island and start attacking. People die, including Antiope, the Amazon trainer who trained Diana.
Moving forward, we leave the island, then you get the dark gritty colors like in Bats v Supes. It kind of felt like Captain America: the First Avenger, but you can see past it and still enjoy the movie. During the second act of this move, you get some comedy because you know Wonder Woman has no clue about the real world. Again, this kind of goes back to Captain America, but it’s ok. But by the third act, I get a little upset. We get a very weak boss fight where Uncle Willy and I agreed. If Zeus, who is a fucking God, was having a hard time with Ares aka the god of war, how does Wonder Woman ends up killing him? All because Diana pulled a Super Saiyan 2 after Steve Trevor dies? I would’ve thought being the God of War, Ares would’ve brought more into to the fight. I mean come on! Not even one Destructo Disc???
Overall, Wonder Woman is a good entry for the DCEU. It was good to watch and a movie that I can recommend. Just don’t say I did not warn you about the ending.