To be honest, I wasn’t really sold on Gal Gadot as the initial choice for this role and I still wasn’t convinced in Batman v. Superman. I wasn’t getting a sense of an interesting personality from her and the action scenes were more of a CGI fest than the hand-to-hand fight choreography I’ve grown to love with films like Captain America. I liked Gadot in Fast and the Furious, but I wanted to see what an actual martial arts actor could bring to the table for Wonder Woman. That’s why I was more on the Gina Carano hype train when she was getting buzz for this role. But even with my reservations, I was willing to give the standalone film a shot because this is where they have to flesh out the character.
This is an origins story of how Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) came to be, from her beginnings as Diana, Amazonian princess, to fierce warrior. Diana meets American spy, Steven Trevor (Chris Pine), who opens her eyes to the war that’s befallen the outside world. Diana believes she can help and finally leaves her home for the first time; it’s in the real world where she awakens her full powers and discovers her true destiny.
What I liked:
We were treated to a Justice League trailer.
The film is entertaining. I wasn’t super overwhelmed by the trailers (though they looked solid), but the finished product exceeded those expectations. Overall this was definitely a better entry than Batman v. Superman. Quite honestly, it is the best DCEU film around save for The Dark Knight, though it’s still not at that level for me even slightly. However, it is a refreshing entry in the comic book cinematic universe. And let’s be real, DC was due for a good one that didn’t have Christian Bale attached to it.
Chris Pine is one of my favorite actors so I’m glad to see him have a chance to shine in this genre. Steve and Diana play off each other very well and I enjoyed their interactions. He was the source of much of the comic relief throughout the film and I really liked his character. I thought the supporting cast was great and each character had something to offer in the story.
What I didn’t like:
It started out a little weaker for me, though the pace picks up and it gets better.
While Gal portrayed a better Diana here than in BvS, her range still comes off as somewhat limited. Based on her past performances in other roles, she brought no surprises to the character for me. And honestly, I thought the one that stood out the most was Pine and that’s purely based on his acting skills. While their characters have good chemistry, the difference in acting ability was very apparent to me. I think the fish-out-of-water shtick helped endear me to Diana the most.
The story wasn’t that great. I didn’t find the script particularly thought-provoking or edgy. The film kept my attention but I would have preferred more action to the fairly generic story line we had. And if not, then a more gripping story would have been even better. The villains were unfortunately one-dimensional and I could spot who they would be from a mile away, so that made the plot a little too predictable for my tastes.
The action scenes were good, but my personal preference is not the 300 slow motion style. This is not Sparta. Of course that doesn’t mean others won’t really enjoy it if they like that style.
Is this one of the best superhero films? I’d put it in a tier below that. But it’s not like a sequel couldn’t achieve that. The Winter Soldier is probably my favorite comic book film ever and it was miles better than the first Cap movie. So there’s definitely potential. And there are some similarities in that this is also period origins story while the future films will be present day. In fact, I would say I enjoyed this more than the original Captain America film so that’s even more promising. My only reservation is one of the main parts of this film that could help the sequel be great won’t be there.
That said, Wonder Woman is a good character, a great role model, and she was way overdue for her own film (I mean, she is in the Mount Rushmore of superheroes, c’mon!) so it’s plus to see her relevance revived for the masses in spectacular fashion.
Rating: 4 out of 5