Wonder Woman may be the film that finally earns WB respect in the superhero genre, though it must be stated, they earned that privilege a long time ago. But if this is where the world of online film criticism is going: let’s just get it out of the way. There are a bunch of sell outs and faux-intellectuals who get off on beating up others, and let’s just call it for what it is: fascism.
But at least WB had the balls to produce a film that at least shows a woman who wants to be with a man probably more than fight evil, because I swear, this film is about a romance, and action that is basically window dressing for a classic romance between Chris Pine’s [insert name] and Gal Gadot’s lucious Wonder woman.
But if we’re going to start calling films for what they are, then let’s just nail this one correctly. This is a romance with a struggling heart, trying to find room for characters to develop while struggling to conform from the confines that the superhero genre can be reduced to: a fistfight.
Diana, our heroine, is a princess forbidden from being trained as a warrior. And like all strong female leads, she faces discrimination early in her career. With much reluctance, Hippolyta, her mother, agrees to let Antiope train Diana. While the first 20 minutes are taken up with this rather cliched setup, at least there is some cool action and narratio that give the film a visual pop longing from most marvel drivel. Bias mine.
Jump forward a few years via our very Ridley Scott-ish training montage: Diana, now a young woman, rescues American pilot Captain Steve Trevor when his plane crashes off the Themysciran coast. The island is soon invaded by a German soldiers that had been pursuing Trevor. The Amazons kill the crew, but Antiope sacrifices herself to save Diana. Steve is interrogated with the Lasso of Hestia and reveals that a great war is consuming the outside world and that he is an Allied spy. He has stolen a notebook of the chief chemist Dr. Isabel Maru, who is attempting to engineer a deadlier form of mustard gas under the orders of General Erich Ludendorff from a weapon facility in the Ottoman Empire. Believing Ares to be responsible for the war, Diana arms herself with the “Godkiller” sword, the lasso, and armor before leaving Themyscira with Steve to locate and stop Ares for good.
It’s here where the film takes a comedic turn, ala Harry Potter, with a wonderful performance by [insert name later]. She adds a dose of humor that really grounds the film in a familiar tone that WB has become quite known for in their fanbase. But kuds must go to Chris Pine as well, who while taking a backseat to our beautiful Gal Gadot, really nails the comedic pitch that he’s become quite adept at. To say he’s a favorite of ours is to undermine the score that Danny Elfman most definitely had a hand in. His notes are sublty buried in the theme, though credit must go to the composer for buring it in the subtext.
But getting back to the plot. In London, our heroes deliver Maru’s notebook to the Supreme War Council, where Sir Patrick Morgan is trying to negotiate an armistice with Germany. Diana translates Maru’s notes and reveals that the Germans plan to release the deadly gas at the Western Front. Although forbidden by his commander to act, Steve, with secret funding from Sir Patrick, recruits spy Sameer, marksman Charlie, and smuggler Chief to help prevent the gas from being released. The team reaches the front in Belgium. Diana goes alone through No Man’s Land and captures the enemy trench, allowing the Allied forces to help her liberate the village of Veld. The team briefly celebrates, while Diana and Steve grow closer romantically.
I’ll admit, there are explosions and some cool CGI effects, but the reality is the plot is lost on me. Wiki is a great source for summaries, but this movie deserves a novel treatment and perhaps a paperback to be found by some newbie critic in a trashcan. But save that for a later day.
I enjoyed the film, and yeah, I love Zac Snyder. Call me an apologist. His style is written all over this work of art, and while the speed-ramping is quite up to his snuff, the audience erupted into applause at least 3 times while watching this. But then again, maybe WB deserves just a little of the credit as well. Just don’t ask us what the film is about.
And yes, it is a romance. Even if the bad guy gets defeated.