Wonder Woman Review (Spoiler Free)

Originally posted to Facebook on 6/4/17

First off, best DCEU (DC Extended Universe, Warner Bros’ answer to the Marvel Cinematic Universe) film to date. Period. Granted, that’s a pretty low bar, but with 3 straight films that were at best “meh”, DC and Warner Bros really needed to step it up to begin to get on the quality level of what Marvel (and even Fox with Marvel properties) has been putting out. And with Wonder Woman, I feel like they’ve achieved that goal. I’d say, for me, Wonder Woman sits nicely in the middle of all the MCU films, significantly outshining weaker entries such as Iron Man 2 and Thor: The Dark World, but not quite hitting the highs of Captain America: Winter Soldier or Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2.

In many ways the movie is easily compared to Captain America: The First Avenger, both in tone and structure (Wonder Woman sadly missing a jaunty musical number, however). Both Diana and Steve Rogers start out wishing they were stronger and eager to wade into battle. Once they get their strength they find that getting to the front lines is not as easy as they’d hoped. Then they go against what they’ve been told in order to do the right thing and enter the fight. They fight their way through their wars to challenge their equally powered foe who is using an airplane to unleash their masterstroke of destruction.

All that being said, the formula still worked, and more importantly Wonder Woman’s cast (especially the fantastic Gal Gadot) was likeable and interesting enough to keep us engaged the whole time, even if the story was a little familiar.

Gal Gadot was already the best part of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, and she continued to shine in her own film. Never once did I question Diana’s strength, capability, or determination. Even while playing a fish out of water she never let herself get overshadowed by those around her. Chris Pine played opposite her brilliantly, and his snarky responses to Diana’s adjustment to her new world kept the jokes going but not at Diana’s expense. Their chemistry was very believable and made it easy to not only care about these characters but really understand each of their viewpoints.

Patty Jenkins did a wonderful job directing. And while there are certainly nitpicks to be made overall (inconsistent use of other languages, minor pacing issues), nothing was deal-breaking, and the things she got right she got *very* right. If nothing else, this movie needs to be held up as proof (and a lesson) that female characters can be sexy without being sexualized. Gal Gadot (and the other Amazons) were beautiful, ass-kicking, warriors and were allowed to be so without it feeling like male fantasy. And even more to Jenkins’ credit, the female characters were made strong without resorting to making the male characters weak, an all-too-common method. The male characters were all capable and strong, but Diana was simply better, and it showed.

To that point, most of the action sequences in this film were absolutely awesome. Despite some occasionally wonky CGI, almost every fight had me just watching in jaw dropping excitement. Novel, interesting fight choreography that was shot in a way that every beat is clear and powerful.

And sure, I could complain about the final enemy, or that one of the characters was set up with no payoff, but I left that movie smiling and giddy in a way that no DCEU film has made me so far. I highly recommend it. And if you want to see more well done female-led superhero fare, then go support this movie with your dollars.