The Cambridge Geek

Wonder Woman (2017)
Wonder Woman

I'm going to try and avoid major spoilers here. Reader beware though.

Okay. First things first, elephant in the room. DC are massively behind the superhero film curve compared to Marvel. They have had things ticking along for a couple of decades, but never really worked out how to make it grab an audience in the same way Marvel have managed and are desperately struggling to catch up. The Nolan Batman series was pretty impressive, but didn't turn into a franchise the way they were possibly hoping. Wonder Woman is the first film that DC have done during the real resurgence of the genre that feels like it can stand reasonably well against the Marvel ones.

Which is why it's a shame that it feels so much like a retread of Captain America: The First Avenger. (That's still one of my favourites of the Marvel canon. It did a lot of things well, and didn't feel overwhelmed by the bigger universe by that point.) Granted, we're looking at different wars, and the bad guys are generally less super-powered (though Ludendorff has a nice little kick) but we've still got a ragtag team put together to invade enemy territory and deal with a particular threat. And yes, I know Dirty Dozen more or less set that trend (with a fair bit more death than we get here) but it still resonates a bit too closely to Steve Roger's first outing. If this film had come out six years ago, I would have been much more impressed. Does suggest that DC might be figuring it out however. Kind of hoping for more of their more obscure characters to get a little retwist.

Though speaking of the superpowers, there's an odd little section in the second act, where we see Diana take on a village of simple human soldiers. And it honestly feels a bit mean. Yes, boo, the Germans, but it did rather put into stark (no pun intended) relief the fact that if you have a superhero beating up non-powered people, you rather lose the sense of threat. Also, bit too much slow motion involved.

Right, that's the rant done. Excellent bits. Gal Gadot does an amazing combination of emotionally mature but culturally naive. Her reactions to joining the human race are perfect. Not a bit of it had me groaning or rolling my eyes. Theoretically some of it should have been a bit silly (how many costume change scenes have I watched now?) but honestly it was just enjoyable. It was rather nicely enhanced by the presence of Etta Candy, who acted as an excellent foil as the sensible, down to earth secretary. She was rather good throughout, though possibly a little underused. Would have been nice to see her in a more serious moment.

Wonder Woman (2017)
Revolving doors! My one weakness!

Fight scenes were gloriously over the top (I would swear I heard a Xena throat yell in the background at one point). I'm not complaining about this. It might not necessarily be the best strategic move to shoot a bow while backflipping off a horse, but it does look quite impressive. And it also doesn't automatically beat a gun, which I thought was a nice touch of realism. And the lasso was great. It was a really neat focus point and tended to give a nice spark when brought into play. Also, it's a little different than the usual. The Girl did think Gadot didn't quite look powerful enough though. Much preferred herself a beefy Amazon.

And Chris Pine did a serviceable job of playing Chris Pine. I don't know if he technically has a range, but as long as they keep casting him to play Chris Pine I don't think that will be a problem. He nicely balanced the more sedate Wonder Woman and the growing friendship between them was believable.

I'd say see it, but it's been out a couple of weeks and the box office suggests you might already have done.

Highly recommended.

Tagged: Film Superhero DC Fiction Cinema