No, this isn’t a beauty-shaming post (although Gal Gadot’s beauty is almost criminal), it’s my unsolicited Wonder Woman movie review! Warning: contains spoilers.
Just to give you an in on how busy I was last week, I flew out of town into a nice city, called Puerto Princesa—you might have heard of El Nido and Coron, but Puerto Princesa is the capital of the popular Philippine vacation spot of Palawan province—and I stayed there on assignment for three days. Upon returning to Manila Wednesday night, our team went on another road trip Thursday, which served as a momentary escape (aka team building/company outing) for us sans work. We returned to Manila Friday afternoon, and although I was physically exhausted by that time, I felt a much-deserved Friday night out with a couple of my girlfriends was in order. As planned, we decided to watch the just-released Wonder Woman. The initial reviews had been quite positive, but here’s my personal take on the movie I’d been dying to watch since its 2013 announcement. Whew, time just went Pew! Pew!, didn’t it?
Despite it being presented as a superhero origin movie, I dare say Wonder Woman (2017) gave us more than just an introduction to pre-Wonder Woman Diana, the princess of the Amazons, portrayed excellently by Gal Gadot. Having been born and raised in the off-the-radar mythical island of Themyscira, by her mother Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen), Hippolyta’s sister General Antiope (Robin Wright), and the rest of the Amazons, Diana grew up knowing so much about the important role of their warrior-kind to the gods of Olympus, while knowing so little about the humans of the mortal Earth, the prey to Ares’ evil plan of ruling the world through endless war and conflict.
Diana inevitably comes into contact with a human being in latter stages of World War I in the form of Capt. Steve Trevor, a spy pilot (played by the lovable Chris “So Very” Pine), whom she develops romantic feelings for, yet continually butts heads with when it comes to mankind’s weakness, arguing whether or not they are still worth saving.
It’s a well-written, well-directed (yay, Patty Jenkins!) action-packed cinematic experience that has love at its very core and for that, Wonder Woman wins on so many levels to so many audiences. Of course, as someone who grew up reading several Wonder Woman comic books, that Friday movie night became more than just that for me. Seeing the charging Amazons on their horses, in slow motion, left my mouth agape in amazement and sheer happiness. And let’s not forget about that iconically badass of a soundtrack! I’m so thrilled that Wonder Woman’s world is finally being shared with everyone at a time when the world can use a small break from all the hate we’ve been seeing in the news. Her nature is pure and her intentions are selfless, and I give kudos to director Patty Jenkins and actor Gal Gadot for successfully translating Diana Prince/Wonder Woman into a film superhero.
Having said that, the movie isn’t entirely perfect. First, the purely CGI parts, when mixed with the live-action sequences, kind of ruins the fight scene, not that the fight scenes weren’t great—they’re actually my favorite parts and I wish they gave a little more airtime to the Amazons kicking soldiers’ asses. Overall, maybe it’s an aesthetic thing, like some residue of Zach Snyder’s left in the post-production. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ (Side note: Why did they have to kill Robin Wright’s character off, though?)
Next, Trevor’s comrades: Sameer, Charlie, and Chief, whom Trevor sought help from to finish his last mission against the German army. Okay, okay, they’re minor, but aren’t minor characters supposed to steal a moment or two in order to be memorable? They could’ve given us a better glimpse of how they remained loyal to Trevor, but I didn’t think they were able to establish that at all. I really was rooting for all three, but I think they all fell a bit short on their main duty as supporting roles. That said…
Etta Candy (Lucy Davis), Trevor’s secretary in the film (but is actually Wonder Woman’s assistant and best friend in the comic books). My one rant: there’s not enough of her in the movie! Even with only a few lines to work with, she was able to steal a few moments and complemented the main characters so well with her physical comedy and overall upbeat but no-nonsense demeanor. Perhaps it was intentional to give away only so little about her because she’d be back in the sequel. I mean she’d better be!
Finally, let’s talk about the elephant in the room—the biggest, though a still passable flaw in the movie—the main antagonists Sir Patrick/Ares (David Thewlis), Gen. Ludendorff, and Dr. Poison. I don’t know, maybe the movie could’ve used an extra 5-10 minutes to develop these characters, especially Ludendorff’s, whom I had the least care for, yet still had longer airtime than Dr. Poison’s despite. As for Sir Patrick being revealed as the Ares, knowing Thewlis as an actor who’s played both lead and villain roles in the past, I had a feeling he’d be the ultimate plot twist, but that’s already on me and my excessive film knowledge. He’s always great, though I saw it from a mile away.
Again, the movie isn’t perfect, which makes it better because there’s still room to grow for this already record-breaking smash hit. People keep saying it’s the best one DC Films has produced yet, but I must say Wonder Woman is shaping up to be one of the most attention-grabbing superhero films to have ever been released—yep, up there with Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Deadpool when they came out—one that will be talked about and looked back to for many years to come. And I think that’s wonderful.