Wonder Woman – 4/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

Wonder Woman – 4/5 – With comic book films, Marvel reigns supreme.  They have blended storytelling and genre greatly within the expansive world of the MCU.  When it comes to DC, it is (so far) not as successful.  They have been trying to create their own universe with mixed results (Man of Steel, BvS and Suicide Squad).  Wonder Woman comes to the fray with high expectations.  With a mixture of different themes in a comic book tale, it delivers.  Even when the third act stumbles, Wonder Woman is the one DC fans have been hoping for.  This is the first real comic book blockbuster experience for the DCEU.

Premise: In a world at War, one princess of the Amazon heads to Europe to stop the true evil behind it all.  As she comes to understand the world’s flaws, will Wonder Woman find the strength to succeed where others have failed.

In the iconic role as Diana/Wonder Woman is Gal Gadot.  She provides decent quality to create a standout character from the comic books.  A script written with subtle reactions, she delivers on that naive but pure personality of a person learning about the real world (for the first time).  She hits the core essentials of a strong warrior, one that compliments the themes and other characters in the film.  Her brevity, innocence and fear helps add to her gradual growth.  The rest of the cast can be viewed on the film’s IMDb page.  In short, the secondary/ancillary characters (on the good side) do a great job providing background and depth for the world around Diana.  There is a unique draw to their personalities.  This helps create a distinct purpose for the story.  The stand out supporting role is Chris Pine, who plays Steven Trevor.  His interactions with Gadot is pure and flawed.  Their chemistry is on point, creating a relationship that is riveting and emotional.  When it comes to the ‘villains’, they are terrible.  They stand out for all the wrong reasons; not pushing pass the common clichés you have witnessed in bad films.  They are just ‘place holders’ for Diana to fight on the big screen.  Even if it is a basic archetype, there is a necessity for the actors/actresses to provide that strength to bring out the role.  They fail on every aspect of basic acting.

The direction mimics the outline of most comic book films, but stands out within its own personal touch.  You see that the director (Patty Jenkins) mixes many different themes on a linear path.  This helps provide a centralized approach to the expansive world of Diana’s home island, England and WWI.  It additionally provides a genuine look to secondary plotlines without diverting from the core story.  What you have is each act focused on the following:

First act (Character introductions within an Origin Tale)

Second act (Fish out of water scenario within a Period Piece)

Third act (A Hero’s tale within a ‘good vs. evil’ scenario)

With the central focus on Diana/Wonder Woman and how she came to be, the other threads are given enough screen time for parallel development.  You are not force fed material but given an approach where progress/explanation comes through subtle exposition and general interaction.  Starting with the first act, we are introduced to a young Diana.  We watch as she grows up within the world of the Amazons.  As the years pass, we are slowly introduced to each character that has ‘purpose’ to the film (including the basic villains).  From here, it is a mixture of allusion, expositional dialogue and hand-to-hand combat/action.  After the origin tale is complete, Diane has a desire to help the outside world.  She leaves with Steve Trevor and travels to England.  With the world at war (WWI), she sees it as her destiny to stop the real evil behind it all (Ares).  In the second act, we see her trying to adjust to life in England.  Placed against the basic ‘fish out of water’ scenario, we are given further depth with the molding of this concept within the ‘period piece’ setting.  It is awe inspiring but gut wrenching for Diana to normalize the situations that are encountered.  What this does is bring out a personal touch to the ‘comic book’ aspect.  It is a layer of emotional and ideal characterization that is unexpected but welcomed.  It brings to the forefront a lot of ‘grey’ areas to war.  Here, you become enthralled by the action, engrossed by the story and moved by the characterization of Diana.  Once Diana comes to certain conclusions, we head into the third act, where all the great elements come to a screeching halt.  It becomes a disappointment to see the film’s story brought down to generic clichés of the ‘good vs bad’ approach.  The final act turns into a display of ‘style over substance’, leaving all the wonderful things of the story, characters and world (in general) behind.  Even when this happens, there’s some slight thrills.  Once you get to the climax, it is ironically moving but becomes that predictable ‘hero’s tale’ in the end.  Once you get to the epilogue, it is a soothing sensation to see it all end on a high note.

The visuals are amazing.  From the creation of the Amazon’s island to contrasting aspect Of WWI (The Western Front, England and France), you feel a sensationalized depiction of the world within this film.  It is truly imaginative and grounded.  There is a seamless transition between the two worlds, one that you believe could exist together.  The score is a mixture of common ‘action’ sounds with the distinctly created Wonder Woman Soundtrack. The music never adds or takes away from the enjoyment of the film.

Wonder Woman is a DC film that succeeds at most it is trying to accomplish.  Expanding the DCEU a bit further, it adds hope that there is a glimmering light for better stories to be had in this comic book world.  If you’re a fan of blockbusters, action, comic book films or DC as a whole, this is one for you.  It is worth the full price of admission at the theaters.

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