DC’s latest entry into its developing universe is refreshingly well-made and powerful, to a misleading degree: “Wonder Woman” suffers from many the same issues that have plagued nearly all comic book movies from DC and Marvel, but veils them in powerful performances from Gal Gabot and Chris Pine, while delivering a relevant and – at times – moving story.
Patty Jenkin’s first entry into the DCEU (DC Extended Universe) proved pivotal. DC has struggled between “Man of Steel” and “Batman v Superman” to ignite public interest. Though prior to Marvel’s recent film venture, DC owned the two most popular superheroes, their development of a cinematic universe has felt forced and sloppy.
That is, until Wonder Woman.
To many, this film represents a shift. A movie that pays no mind to convoluting its plot with half-baked introductions and world building, Wonder Woman focuses more on a simplistic story of almost literal “good” and “evil.” Relevant in today’s world, the film discusses the nature of humanity and its redeeming qualities through the eyes of an outsider.
The plot is sold by a terrific performance by Gabot. She is charismatic and exhibits a wide range between the innocent fish-out-of-water type to kick-ass Amazonian. Her performance drives the film as the audience is watching her become shaped by the reality of the world and war she’s introduced to, by Pine. Also, the child who played little Wonder Woman is stupid cute. Stupid. Cute.
Through all of this, however, the movie is just another blockbuster: the same CGI battles blasted time and time again between “Thor” and “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Suicide Squad” and “Avengers,” and the list goes on. Though there is enough in character and story to carry the film, it can’t help but pile on the ugly CGI in seemingly needless moments and large climactic battles. There are moments that use more practical effects and those are chillingly awesome, but these are few and far between.
The villains also are lacking, and fall into the same “evil German” stereotype that’s been seen so often that the producers might have simply sliced in dialogue from any given movie with a German antagonist and I might not have noticed.
Ultimately, though by no means a bad movie, Wonder Woman is nothing new or incredible, outside of context. It stands as a success, not only for DC but also for women. The film might even mark the revival of the DCEU. However, it’s still the same old thing seen a dozen times. Fans of Marvel and other large franchises will find entertainment and fun, but not a whole lot else.