I have to admit, after her stiff performance in Batman vs. Superman, and the trailers for this movie (that have yet more Matrix style freeze frame/slow motion bullet scenes) — I wasn’t exactly waiting for Gadot. Yet as Wonder Woman, Gal Gardot does a terrific job. Unfortunately, it’s not a terrific movie. Director Patty Jenkins (Monster), who is getting attention for being a female directing a comic-book movie, seems to do just what the guys do. Rely on boring origin stories, CGI special effects and green screens, and fight sequences we’ve seen so many times before. This stuff just starts to get old. There are so many of these superhero movies and this feels like it’s just one big product placement for hyping Wonder Woman products and various sequels.
It’s 1918, and World War I is coming to an end. On the paradise island of Themyscira, there are beautiful waterfalls, and beautiful Amazon women. Yet they’re training non-stop. Kind of like how they did in the Batman movies. Diana (Wonder Woman) is a young girl begging her mom (Connie Nielson of Gladiator) to train as a warrior. She eventually gets to train with her aunt (Robin Wright), and she’s able to employ those skills when pilot/spy Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) crash lands into the ocean. Diana is convinced to go with Trevor to fight in the war. When she returns to England with him, it becomes a fish-out-of-water vibe, similar to Thor (although she has a bit more innocence, but no less butt-kicking capabilities). Another superhero movie you’ll think about while watching this is the much better Captain America [side note: like Captain America, the comic book origin has Wonder Woman starting during World War II, not WWI; I’m guessing only fanboys will have a problem with that].
Pine and Gadot have nice chemistry. There are also some nice comedic moments. There are also plenty of bland moments. That’s because Wonder Woman isn’t all that interesting. There was also a surprising amount of preachy moralising dialogue. So by the time it comes to the third act, the battle scene is just like what you’ve seen in every movie. Tanks being thrown, people flying through buildings, explosions, yadda yadda yadda. When a movie is asking you to stick around for 2 hours and 15 minutes, there needs to be a bit more originality.
Lucy Davis is fun as the secretary, often providing a few laughs. So does Scottish actor Ewen Bremner (Spud from Trainspotting). The others in this ragtag group helping Wonder Wonder and Trevor, include an Arab that wishes he was an actor, and a wise Native American.
The score was bizarre. It was guitar driven and at times sounded similar to the James Bond theme.
I also felt that we should’ve seen Wonder Woman missing her mom. The way she left her island and that whole interaction…just felt a bit cold.
The villains aren’t that interesting, although one could’ve been. Elena Anaya plays a German scientist who has a disfigured face. Perhaps giving her a bit more backstory would’ve helped. Instead it’s all hackneyed, cookie-cutter…making this something fanboys are going to love, but everyone else will just shrug their shoulders saying, “It was alright.”
My wife and I were both disappointed, but it had enough interesting elements to score 2 ½ stars out of 5.