Wonder Woman Movie Review
Wonder Woman is the movie DC fans deserve. After last year, which punished audiences with the highly disappointing BvS and the downright bad Suicide Squad, director Patti Jenkins brings to life the first-female-superhero-to-headline-a-movie and establishes she knows exactly what she’s doing.
The origin story of Diana Prince is not perfect, nor is it great. But it’s quite good and very entertaining, which means it’s the film both we and Warner Bros. desperately needed to prove that yes, this DC Extended Universe can actually pump out a good movie here and there (admittedly, I’m a big fan of Man of Steel).
Gal Gadot serves as a fine headliner, though she spends most of the movie playing an innocent, even naive, fish out of water so it’s hard to say exactly what her modern-day Wonder Woman will be save for the glimpses of her we got in BvS and the unnecessary bookends Jenkins (or more likely, Warner Bros.) forced into this film to tie Wonder Woman to the broader Justice League franchise.
Frankly, more memorable is Chris Pine, who once again proves he has the talent, look and charisma of a leading man (“I’m above average,” his character admits when Diana asks if he’s a standard example of a man, for he is the first man she has ever met). Pine and Gadot have solid chemistry together.
Wonder Woman plods through the requisite backstory of how Diana came to be and eventually lands the character in the middle of World War I. The story won’t win any awards, but had Jenkins tightened her film from an overly long two-and-a-half-hours to a solid two, the movie could have easily started to come within reach of the “great” category. The movie is never boring, but there are a few stretches that simply feel unnecessary or too drawn out.
The action is pretty good throughout but rarely amazing; Wonder Woman could have benefited from at least one truly kick-ass sequence. The movie again comes close a few times, but never quite gets there. The visual effects are a limiting factor; the moments where a CGI Wonder Woman lunging through the sky don’t look fully baked, a good reminder that real stunts are still better than computer graphics.
Despite its flaws, Wonder Woman is simpler, more coherent, funnier and more fun than any of the other DCEU movies to date. Tighter editing and one or two truly mindblowing action scenes would have elevated it into the upper echelon of comic book adaptations, but as is, it’s still a solid adventure that proves--if it ever really needed proving--that yes, female superheroes can have their own movie, and yes, female directors can make blockbusters.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.