Movie Review: "Wonder Woman"(2017)
I'll start with the obvious: this is the best movie from the DC Universe so far. It's a runaway; not even a close race. "Man of Steel" had tonal issues. "Batman v. Superman" hit some high notes but was at least half an hour too long and.....jumbled. "Suicide Squad" was one I actually liked, but it was essentially a Harley Quinn standalone with minor Joker stuff and the Squad was a bit throwaway.
One of the things that hit me the hardest about director Patty Jenkins ("Monster") foray into the world of superheroes and superheroines is how strangely grounded it is in fully related themes, considering it centers on a literal god. Diana is a starry-eyed optimist who believes in the essential goodness of humanity (as told to her by her Queen Mother in the fairy tales of her childhood). She doesn't understand the brutal truth of mankind, the essential balance of the great possibility of goodness and the depths of evil and savagery we're ALL capable of. She has to learn that lesson the hard way, & it changes her inexorably. She'll never be the same.
That's the beauty of this story: we all have that moment in our lives when we realize how simultaneously noble and shitty people are. It's the definition of bittersweet.
I have to say that men and women alike will fall in love hard with Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. Her innocence is as heartbreaking and endearing as her growth and resolve are, in equal measure. And (let's get it out of the way) she is easily one of the most beautiful women on the planet. The trailers we saw leading up to this do not do justice to the ethereal beauty of this Isreali-born star. She's genuinely breathtaking.
Give credit to Chris Pine (Captain Kirk, "Star Trek") for his all-American charm and great timing. He and Gadot have great chemistry and they do sizzle together. There's an innocence (there's that word again) that allows the love story between them to blossom naturally. It's fun to watch and is something that the DC efforts have frankly been missing so far.
The storyline is nothing groundbreaking, but it's simple and effective for the standalone debut of this pivotal DC name. Diana is the "chosen one" of her Amazon race and the savior of mankind. When pilot Steve Trevor crashes on her island paradise at the tail-end of World War I, Diana is thrust into her role and sets out to defeat Ares, the God of War. She's compelled to stop the needless suffering of humanity and end all war.
It's a timely theme in it's relevance to the world we live in today and the utter unreality of it all. We all know there is no stopping human nature, but we want to try anyways. That grounding makes the superheroine aspect of this film mere window dressing to a human story.
You have to try and do the right thing. It's the only way to learn the lesson that needs to be learned. It's the only way to grow. This is Diana's opening chapter and her growth period that is essential to her becoming Wonder Woman. Hell, she doesn't really become Wonder Woman until the ending. That's as it should be, really.
IMDB gives this an 8.1/10 average rating. Rotten Tomatoes has it a stellar 92% on the old Tomatometer. I'm giving it a solid 8.5/10, simply because I have a pet peeve about too much slo-mo action.....my only real complaint.
In short, believe the hype and see it on the big screen. It's a big-screen kind of deal.