“I know it’s a misleading title but hold your horses if you’re a DC fanboy and want to rain down upon me a slew of abuses. Hear me out first.”
Oh DCEU, you keep churning out mediocre movies and boast of box office returns as a reason to shove down more mediocrity down our throats. Although I loved Man Of Steel (coz I am sucker for Supes) we need to digest the fact that mediocrity in movies and encouraging and supporting them has only made DCEU to not push any envelope. Its no news that Marvel, despite their kiddy-friendly, formulaic movies, is at the top of their game and catching up to them is a feat for DC. If they really want to do that they would have to invest time in fleshing out characters in solo movies than dump a ton in one movie trying to get ahead of the race.
I stopped rooting for DCEU after the third strike that was: Suicide Squad, it was a serviceable movie but has only disappointed me further after the ambitious yet disastrous Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. And this made me genuinely skeptic going in for Wonder Woman. Going against all odds, Wonder Woman had a gargantuan task on its shoulders to come out as at least ‘amply entertaining’. Suffice to say, despite its weak screenplay and a flashy 3rd act, Wonder Woman is a winner and much more than being just ‘entertaining’.
Directed by Patty Jenkins, Wonder Woman soars above all the other DCEU movies. It was a low bar to clear when it comes to DC movies but its a superbly cast, well directed comicbook movie staying almost true to its roots. Jenkins had to fight to make the movie the way she wanted it to be made. Being an origin movie and one which was never on celluloid format before, Wonder Woman does it just right. Tonally, it feels very different from the other DC movies we’ve seen so far when it came to composition, color balance, and the inclusion of Diana-centric battle scenes like the iconic No Man’s Land scene. It’s indeed a feat since the studio had been breathing down the creator’s necks, strangling their creative liberty. Did I mention that Wonder Woman also has humour? Yes, you heard it right, a DCEU movie with chuckle-worthy, non-corny moments which isn’t forced as well. I am going to give a blind eye to whomever compares it to Captain America The First Avenger. Apart from the genre and the war setting, there isn’t much similarities between the two. Apples & Oranges, people! I’d be treading on spoiler territory so I won’t tell what they’ve done, but DC had the balls to do what Marvel never did (you’ll know it when you’re done with the movie).
Despite my initial skepticism, Gal Gadot embodies Wonder Woman almost flawlessly or at least appearance-wise. Its hard to take your eyes off her when she’s onscreen. She shined in her fish-outta-water sequences in London and she nailed it in the well choreographed action sequences on the frontline. Like Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark or Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, its tough to imagine anybody else but Gal in Wonder Woman’s shoes for a while. I am sold on Gal playing Wonder Woman. Chris Pine still proves that he’s still the best Chris in the industry. I had my doubts on his Steve Trevor character before watching the movie, but he proves to be the best addition that actually lends a lot of heart to the movie Like they say, “behind every successful woman there is a…wait, wasn’t it the other way around…my bad! And its no surprise that Robin Wright aced it as Diana’s Amazonian badass aunt, Antiope. Both Elena Anaya and Danny Houston might have shared a little more than 20 minutes screen time with decent performances from both but it wouldn’t have hurt to flesh out their characters more, especially Elena’s Dr. Poison.
As for the cons, among loose threads aplenty, it is still a ‘save-the-world’ narrative that we have seen a million times before. Yes, they’ve got the Wonder Woman character ‘almost’ right but that doesn’t essentially make a great movie. Gal Gadot is indeed a breath of fresh air, a sight for sore eyes but the same cant be said about her acting chops. Agreed, she’s new to all of this but she has a long way to go. Another major flaw is something that had also been haunting Marvel movies since day one: weak antagonists. Its tough to raise major stakes when its a superhero movie and although the antagonists in Wonder Woman tries hard to make a kebab outta the world, the lead villain is not even mildly intimidating whom still doesn’t look like a menace Wonder Woman cant handle. Also that 3rd act was very reminiscent of Batman Vs Superman’s loud and flashy finale, which was another weak point strikingly in contrast with a very colorful Thermyscra-based first act and a grim yet exciting battle-heavy second act.
Movie scores are something I have grown listening to and humming to all my life. Sadly, Rupert Gregson William’s Wonder Woman score doesn’t live up to the movie’s visuals. I’d say its ridden with the same flaw as Marvel’s score, its sounded generic. The only bits that was exciting was when the movie used Hans Zimmer’s original Wonder Woman theme from Batman Vs Superman and that definitely gave me goosebumps.
I’ll be frank, I havent read much Wonder Woman comics and like many, I was seasoned to macho-superheroes. I loved her in the Justice League tv show, 2009’s animated movie (which is brilliant) and Batman Vs Superman yet I was someone who preferred wearing Superman/Batman tees to Wonder Woman tees. Today, I am glad that Wonder Woman is not just an epic win for DC it is also the first female-directed, female lead superhero movie that every comicbook fan had been waiting for aeons. It’s success marks the confidence of female-lead movies in a skeptic, masculine-lead Hollywood. It also ups the ante for superhero ‘solo’ movies. Whether it was planned or not, just like the post’s banner says “Justice Begins With Her”, Wonder Woman proves to be the one who should lead the upcoming Justice League movie. Warner Bros might want to put their merchandize-selling, flying rodent-suited mascot on the back burner for their next outing.
All said and done, I hope DC and WB doesn’t become all smug with one blockbuster in the pockets and continue its race with Marvel. So yea, let’s trash DC if they follow this good movie up with more loud, mediocre, CGI-heavy movies.
“Marvel…We want to know what exactly happened in Budapest. Can we have that Black Widow solo movie now?”