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REVIEW: Wonder Woman

 

 
Overview
 

Directed by: Patty Jenkins
 
Produced by: Warner Bros Pictures
 
Written By: Allan Heinberg, Zack Snyder and Jason Fuchs
 
Starring: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Connie Nielsen
 
MTRCB Rating: PG
 
Genre: , ,
 
FG RATING
9.0
9/ 10


User Rating
9 total ratings

 

Raves


It is the best DC Comics film yet. Full of heart, zest, and hope unseen in other DCEU films.

Rants


Some issues in terms of the CG, but this is mere nitpicking.


Truth be told, the DC Extended Universe is at the throes of polarized fan feedback. Its first foray in the form of Man of Steel cast a shadow of division amongst fans of Superman. Moreso, its follow-up film, Batman v Superman didn’t do much either to cease the growing polarized perception towards the budding movie […]

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Posted June 3, 2017 by

 
FULL REVIEW
 
 

Truth be told, the DC Extended Universe is at the throes of polarized fan feedback. Its first foray in the form of Man of Steel cast a shadow of division amongst fans of Superman. Moreso, its follow-up film, Batman v Superman didn’t do much either to cease the growing polarized perception towards the budding movie universe. Things came to head, unfortunately with Suicide Squad, as it proved to be a cinematic mess.

That said, what would it take to revitalize the DCEU and bring it atop the radar of everyone?

Enter, Wonder Woman.

WONDER WOMAN

Of Simpler Wonders

Set in World War 1, the film depicts the humble origin of the then-naive Diana of Themyscira, who embarked on a mission to end the war following the sudden arrival of pilot Steve Trevor on their island. Faced with enemies from both sides, Diana’s journey will help her understand the nature of mankind, as well as the real meaning of becoming a heroine.

Unlike previous DCEU entries, Wonder Woman clings to a more linear approach, in contrast to the over-arching style the series became known for. The plot is smoothly woven, and it flawlessly drove to a resolution. In addition, it is lighter and even in terms of story, making it inclusive for everyone. Wonder Woman focuses on the horrors of war, the pleasures of camaraderie, and plain, old-fashioned superheroics. The DCEU’s Batman tortures criminals and tries to murder Superman, while Superman himself accidentally destroys cities, and is forced to murder villains. Wonder Woman simply fights injustice and saves lives. It is, frankly, a relief.

The film would also not require research of the titular character. Think of it as your entry point to the expansive world of superheroes. You can just jump in inside the cinema, finish the film, and be amazed by it.

A Wonder Like No Other

The impressive thing about the series’s latest installment isn’t that it abandons this approach. It’s that it embraces and redefines it, making it clear that it’s possible to wallow in the emotional troubles that have defined DCEU movies, and still have fun.

Wonder Woman has a lightness and wryness that none of its DC predecessors could claim, but it’s still about philosophical crisis and a hero trying to find an identity. It’s still exploring the DCEU’s favorite themes: whether mankind truly deserves heroes, and whether it’s possible for one person to justly wield immense power. Director Patty Jenkins (Monster) and screenwriter Allan Heinberg explore those themes with a humanity that the franchise’s previous films were lacking. They take their protagonist’s natural superiority for granted, making it a joy instead of a heavy burden. In their hands, Wonder Woman questions her place in the world, but not her inherent identity. And it makes all the difference to the story.

WONDER WOMAN

Taking inspiration from Richard Donner’s first Superman film, the movie represents a number of delicate balancing acts: between humor and gravitas; angst and adventure; full-blown, unvarnished superhero fantasy and the DCEU’s usual unpacking of what those fantasies mean. But its most impressive balancing routine may be the one that plays out between Steve and Diana over whether the Ares myth is real, and whether the histories of gods, Amazons, and magical hidden islands have any place in the modern world. The movie’s opening act on Themyscira is outsized and mythic, but once the story returns to Steve’s familiar, grubby world, Wonder Woman seems like a surreal figure, a children’s story brought to life.

And yet there are no heroes yet in their world, so the characters have a strong urge to treat Diana as just another strikingly beautiful woman — in other words, to protect her, sideline her, and politely diminish her. And without making a fuss about it, she is in no way willing to be diminished. She’s a fish out of water in 1918 London, which gives Wonder Woman a fair number of comedy pegs and opportunities for banter — and also its strongest feminist leanings, as Steve tries to control and contain Diana, and she shrugs him off and does whatever makes sense to her instead. But she’s also the ultimate home-schooled kid, confidently operating under assumptions that have never come up against real-world facts. Wonder Woman gets its philosophical bent from the conflict between her pure, untested idealism and the actual gruesome realities of war, and it finds rich ground in the gap between them.

WONDER WOMAN

The final big action sequence, as now seems always to be the case, is a messy and overwrought CGI extravaganza. But at least the movie that precedes it involves actual characters—likeable ones, even!—exhibiting recognizable human emotions. Here’s hoping that DC and Warner Bros. have registered the value of such straightforward pleasures in time for Snyder’s upcoming Justice League. If even he can learn such a lesson, perhaps there’s hope for the human race after all.

No One-Hit Wonder

Indeed, Wonder Woman cements Gal Gadot as no mere one-hit wonder. Who would’ve thought that she can portray the character very well in all of its layers?

Gadot is a complete delight as Diana: supremely capable yet utterly innocent, a big fish who has left her little pond and now finds herself out of water altogether. As her guide to the ways of the masculine world—which consist principally of lying and pointless fighting—Pine’s Steve is equal parts incredulous and enraptured toward Diana. Their chemistry is a well-bonded mesh of characters and acting styles, one that will surely reverberate towards the moviegoers’ heads.

WONDER WOMAN

But so much of Wonder Woman finds the potential the DC movies have always had in their heroes. The action is crisp and thrilling, but more importantly, it’s meaningful. It’s carried out in support of a cause the audience can appreciate, by someone trying to protect civilians instead of ignoring them. For once, the DCEU has a hero who’s expressing an ethos instead of fuming and suffering over it. In fierceness and sheer badass fighting prowess, Wonder Woman is a match for the other heroes in her franchise. But in courage and certainty, she tops all of them. She represents the direction her cinematic series should be taking. She isn’t leaving behind existential questions. She’s just playing out a story where those questions can be meaningfully addressed, not just with rage and suffering, but with courage, conviction, and even humor. Batman, Superman, and the Suicide Squad asked the questions about what heroism means. Wonder Woman finally answers those questions definitively, and it’s a tremendous win for a franchise that desperately needed one.

A Rising Wonder

Wonder Woman is definitely the best DC Comics-based movie to date. Taking inspiration from Richard Donner’s classics, it is full of heart, thrills, and a shade of light unseen in previous DCEU entries. It is a must watch for everyone.

This review is powered by Warner Bros Pictures. Wonder Woman is now playing in a theater near you.


Yuri Mangahas

 
Yuri is magnanimously juggling between two managerial jobs: A technical manager position for an advertising/copy-writing company, and an associate editorial position for a fashion and lifestyle magazine. Nevertheless, he still finds time taking photos and seeking for geek nirvana.


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