Friday, June 9, 2017

Movie Review - Wonder Woman Makes Her Big Cinematic Debut

In Wonder Woman, the new smash-hit superhero movie, audiences see Gal Gadot as Diana, a valiant heroine, leaving on a journey away from the only home she's ever known, the idyllic and isolated all-female island of Themyscira heading toward the gritty, violent, and often confusing “world of man” in order to defeat the God of War, Ares as per her destiny.

I went to see the film myself on Thursday June 8, 2017 at 4:00p.m. (Admission price was $11.53).

Now, from my young adult, heterosexual male perspective and limited knowledge of Wonder Woman from the comics, all I can say is that I'm grateful that DC finally has Diana on the big screen. I think all of the great superheroes need their time to shine in the limelight. She's seldom made an appearance in mainstream media and this was a long overdue change of pace. I am aware of the television show and seen some of the animated features but there are so few that she usually ends up in cameo appearances to other more notable male counterparts that one can not say definitively who her antagonists are at the drop of a hat like one could for the others. Batman has the Joker and several other rogues (Bane, Scarecrow, the Penguin, the Riddler, etc.), Superman has Lex Luthor, Brainiac, Parasyte, Livewire, etc. What about Wonder Woman though? Her most portrayed antagonists that I could name easily would be Cheetah and Ares but I only know of this through the video games (Injustice series) and a few animated movies. It's a shame that she's been sidelined so many times.

From what I can gather, she symbolizes in many ways, the feminist movement and empowers women to be bold as she fights for equality & justice. That's not what I intend to focus on with this review. The political aspects are always a fun perspective to shed light upon, but I want to discuss my thoughts on how she was portrayed in this film and whether or not it had a strong plot.

Overall, I'm satisfied with a majority of the film, however, I wasn't content with certain scenes or director's choices in casting. Particularly, I felt that Ares should've been far more menacing and gruff in his appearance. David Thewlis was a questionable choice for Ares. He looks far too thin and not as muscular to me for some divine entity that is running such a complex operation. I suppose my expectations are a bit high considering that I'm gleaning mental imagery from Injustice: Gods Among Us and the 2009 film. The mustache just doesn't do it for me either. My expectation of a God of War is a ruthless, merciless, cold-hearted savage who has no place for honor in his heart. Thewlis looks like a goofy uncle.

I would've preferred that David Thewlis's form was a temporary one picked by Ares and that we as the audience would not have seen his face from beyond his helmet. Just glowing red eyes and his menacing presence. That's not to say that David Thewlis is a poor actor or anything, but merely that it might've been better for him to do the voiceover once the deception was revealed.

Some of the dialogue could've been better too, I feel, if, for example Steve had said "Evil triumphs when good men do nothing." rather than what was initially spoken. Also, Gal Gadot's performance upon leaving the island and speaking with her mother felt a bit flat on delivery and didn't seem to have the right pained expression one would typically expect leaving home. It might be nitpicking, but I would've expected more of an emotional impact in that short moment.

Another problematic aspect is the frustratingly incremental screentime that Etta Candy, Steve’s quippy secretary, has. She's delightfully humorous and it's a travesty that she did not have nearly the impact that she could have had on screen.

However, I enjoyed the innocence and dare I say, sense of "wonder" that Gal Gadot emulated with Diana as a character especially with the ice-cream scene as well as the slow dancing under snowfall. She even shows a motherly side with her delight in seeing babies. She is a beautiful and talented actress that portrays a strong yet approachable character very well. The movie at times made me tear up a bit. I won't deny that. However, it's by no means perfect. It needed some fine tuning. I would've liked to have learned what led Lady Poison to hate humanity so much that she turned to chemical warfare and development. Overall, a couple of missed opportunities, but a decent film nonetheless.

Overal Score:

8.5/10.0 B+ Great movie, but with some minor issues.