I’ve actually fallen way, way behind in doing movie reviews of late. It’s not that I haven’t wanted to, but there have been so many movies coming out, both the good and the bad variety, that I’ve completely lost track of what I have to do. So now that it’s hit Bluray, here’s my look at the 2017 Wonder Woman.
Now a lot of people seem to think that this has broken the DC curse, an actually good movie that goes far above garbage like Man of Steel, Batman vs. Superman and Suicide Squad. But is it really? Because I’m sure I’ll have an unpopular opinion. So let’s take a look.
Right off the bat, I will say this is a good movie. It has to be, compared to anything else DC has put out in the past decade or so. That’s kind of damning with faint praise though. And yes, I probably went into this with absurdly high expectations, considering the kind of reviews this thing got when it came out, but honestly, I am a little disappointed. Not greatly so, but it didn’t live up to the hype. I was expecting something truly amazing and what I got was a good movie. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course, but it should have been a great movie and it just wasn’t.
Because when I think of a great superhero movie, I think of things like the first Iron Man or the 1989 Michael Keaton Batman or the original 1978 Christopher Reeves Superman or lots of parts out of the first Avengers movie. Movies that are just game-changers in the genre. And this just wasn’t one. The action, when there was action, was great, but lots of parts were just slow. Far too much of the acting was just wooden. Ares’ costume was absurd looking. They had to shoehorn in a romance between Steve Trevor and Diana which really wasn’t necessary at all and came out of nowhere. And Steve Trevor’s death was completely unnecessary, he was flying the plane, he could have crashed it into the ocean and jumped out. Heck, I said to my wife “why doesn’t he ditch in the Arctic”? And she was saying “wrong Steve and wrong Chris”. There were so many other ways to do it and they didn’t even try.
That doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy the film because I did. It is, by far, the high-water mark of the cinematic DCU, but only because everything else is so terrible. That’s not really saying a lot, I’m afraid.
And for all of the feminist overtones the movie clearly has, and if you watch the special features, they talk about that a lot, the sad fact is that Wonder Woman and Diana Prince are still judged throughout the movie based more on her looks than on her abilities. Yes, it’s in a very sexist era, but more should have been made of it. Throughout the movie, it’s clear that Wonder Woman is only special because of the men in her life. Steve Trevor has to teach her all about the world and give her a modern sense of morality. All of her powers come from her father. All of the Amazons on Themyscira effectively get their asses kicked the second a couple of German men show up. These are warriors from birth, we see them being effective, but a couple of Germans with guns show up and they fall apart. There should have been a much better showing. Etta Candy is played for comedy because of her weight, which is pretty ridiculous for a left-leaning flick. They even have to say that she’s actually competent and in a DVD extra, she gets to show she has some physical chops, but why is that not in the movie? Yes, I know it’s in the comics, but they’re not doing a direct adaptation of the comics, so what gives? For a clearly feminist movie, these are not particularly strong women. All of them only matter because of the men in their lives.
Again, this was a good movie, but it wasn’t a great movie. It wasn’t what I was expecting because so many people gave it such high marks that I’m honestly a little disappointed. And I should have been because so many of these errors are easy to fix. Patty Jenkins should have seen them all in the editing room. I would have and I’m not even a filmmaker.