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Reviews Film / Wonder Woman 2017

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11/25/2017 23:33:56 •••

Decent But Disappointing

Let's get this out of the way; Wonder Woman is definitely the best live-action DC film in a very long time, albeit this is a bit like being the most sympathetic child-murderer, or the most intelligent Brexit voter. It's not like there was fierce competition.

The opening of the film is bad. It's nothing but exposition about Diana, as a child, living in Themyscira, and it doesn't stop being exposition until she grows up and leaves the island, which luckily doesn't take too long. But it's really bad while it lasts; like someone read the Wikipedia page for Wonder Woman's background and decided to make that, and only that. There's nothing except the vital elements of the Wonder Woman backstory. No childhood friends. No personality or development or conversations that weren't written in stone by the Gods thousands of years ago. I hate to compare it to Marvel straight off the bat, but James Gunn introduced us to a talking raccoon and a tree by just having them be in a scene and talk to each other. And the tree couldn't even talk! And it was better than this stilted 'Diana, backstory, weapons, male co-lead, now piss off' shtick.

But then the positives start to appear. Wonder Woman joins Steve Trevor and his Ragtag Bunch of Misfits, including a Scottish man with an appallingly accurate accent, and they venture off into World War I, which is... hit and miss. It doesn't really work as a combination of Superhero Origin Story and Tragic 'War Is Hell' Story, but it's admirable that they tried, and it doesn't entirely fail. It's interesting watching Wonder Woman go after one guy with the understanding that he must be Ares and therefore responsible for the whole war, but when she finally kills him, it turns out that he was just some dickhead, and the war will continue... and then that shocking development goes absolutely nowhere because Ares does show up a minute and a half later and the idea that you can't solve every conflict by killing one particularly high-ranking bad guy is promptly discarded.

Actual positives; the action scenes were quite good, especially the alleyway scene. Supporting cast are nice, with Steve's secretary and the Scottish sniper getting some small but genuine character moments. Gal Gadot makes a good Wonder Woman. And while DC still haven't figured out that it's okay to put genuinely funny parts into your movie, instead of the occasional sarcastic one-liner followed by another 15 minutes of broody angst, there are a few giggles. Also, lots of British characters, so I felt well-represented, although you're not really appealing to a British audience until you relentlessly take the piss out of Croydon.

I don't want to be too harsh though; this is a good-ish film. And it's fantastic that DC have finally found the key to making films that are decent. It's just a shame that at their best, DC are still producing films that just manage to reach the same quality as Ant-Man and the second Thor movie.

11/25/2017 00:00:00

Oh geez I forgot to mention this one line.

Diana: It\'s not about what you deserve. It\'s about what you believe. And I believe in love.

I would\'ve included this in the review but I was too busy projectile vomiting.

11/25/2017 00:00:00

I think the film\'s biggest problem is that Diana is basically Dumb Muscle. She kicks a lot of ass physically, sure, but apart from that she spends most of her screentime either running around oblivious to how human culture works, chasing after someone who to the audience is clearly a Red Herring, or self-righteously wagging her finger at the human characters for supposedly being cowardly and inept when the main reason she can afford to be on her high horse is because she has powers they simply don\'t. The Dramatic Irony is just a slog to sit through, especially since Steve and his team feel like more compelling characters; they\'re going up against greater odds and fighting their own inner conflicts at the same time.

And there\'s something about the film\'s aesthetics that seems inconsistent; it feels like it\'s a better war movie than a comic book movie (even Ares\' first few scenes before he goes full Sauron have a touch of psychological horror to them). Diana\'s Golden Age costume sticks out like a sore thumb next to the dingy hues of the trenches and villages, and Ares, Dr. Poison, and General Ludendorff are jarringly over the top.

I would rather have had Antiope fight in Europe, or at least stick around longer to play more of a mentor role to counteract Diana\'s naivety; she had a much better understanding of how war worked, even if her tactics were outdated, and she had a much more grounded, if pessimistic, view of humanity.

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