Wonder Woman Review – Painfully Average

What sucks about Wonder Woman has nothing to do with the quality of the movie itself but with the expectations that have surrounded it. As a female-led action film, it wasn’t predicted by its studio to be especially profitable, and in the years before, there was doubt about whether a Wonder Woman film would even get made. But now that it’s out there, the movie seems to be suffering from a different problem. Don’t be a fool to the raving critics and the high review-aggregate scores, Wonder Woman is quite mediocre as a product on its own—an average superhero movie. But with all the hype surrounding it, I couldn’t help but feel as if it were almost worse than standard. 

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The movie follows the general Wonder Woman origin story. That is, the tale of an Amazonian princess deciding to leave her mythical home of Themyscira to defend man’s world from annihilation. In this case, Diana Prince is off to fight in the first World War, a setting that is rarely explored in popular media and a breath of fresh air in terms of aesthetics. However, for all the true potential the film had with its WW1 setting, Wonder Woman hints at something great but does little.

The thematic through-line of the movie concerns the morally ambiguous nature of war and mankind. Initially, this moral is set up rather well, with Diana, someone of black and white principles, going into a conflict that is quite grey. But unfortunately, the film’s promises fall flat throughout its bloated runtime. Indeed, there are very clear heroes and villains in this story. Germans, for example, are only ever referred to as being ‘bad guys,’ and the main villains are stereotypically evil. The ‘horrors of war’ that the film tries to depict are only ever shown from one side. Never was there a moment where Diana realised that all the soldiers she killed were just normal people following orders. 

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The plot itself is fairly straightforward, perhaps the antithesis of DC movies in the last few years. It’s an origin that remains truthful to the comics without delving too deeply into lore and mythos, staying on track to deliver a more human story. I don’t know whether to commend or criticise it on being so moderate. At times, the story and its twists are almost too predictable, but with previous DC films being so convoluted and overly complex, Wonder Woman at least gives fans a satisfying experience

On the hero side of things, the cast is diverse in personalities and backgrounds, with most characters being well acted. The leads of Diana Prince and Steve Trevor are also good, and there is a decent amount of chemistry and believability in this human/god romance. But when it comes to the aspect of villains, Wonder Woman is messy. As I stated before, I probably would’ve enjoyed the movie more had it had no concrete villains, but the fact that it does is not at all a downside. However, the ones that are here do nothing other than offer a vehicle for the plot, and the final villain’s ultimate scene is more like a mindless boss battle than a consolidation of the narrative’s momentum. That last battle, though, is not indicative of all the action scenes in the film. 

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For the most part, Wonder Woman’s action is crafted expertly in both the sword fighting between Amazons and the soldiers’ trench warfare. The titular character herself remains tough yet vulnerable in these scenes; unlike the Man Of Steel, Diana is not completely detached from the destruction around her. Her speed and ferocity is completely believable as are her fighting skills, even if at times the special effects make her seem rubbery and weightless during the action. There’s an issue that may be entirely subjective, but to me, there was just too much use of slow motion. Rarely did a fight go down without a slow-mo close-up of Wonder Woman. While it is pleasing to the eye, the use of slow motion only served to dull action scenes, making it appear as if the director wanted to linger on every cool shot. 

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There is a lot Wonder Woman can be compared to, from the Marvel origin movies of phase one to DC’s latest efforts to replicate their competitor’s success. However, the aptest comparison for Wonder Woman is probably 2002’s Spider-Man, as both are delightfully cheesy and work well at introducing audiences to a character. But in 2017, that doesn’t exactly warrant being called ‘groundbreaking.’ At worst, the film is mediocre, and at best, it is merely good

Wonder Woman Is A Competent Movie

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One thought on “Wonder Woman Review – Painfully Average

  1. I do want to see this, but given that it’s a DC movie, I’ve resigned to the notion that it probably won’t be groundbreaking in any way. Hell, the Marvel movies as of late are feeling tired in execution… It’s getting to the point where I can’t keep myself from groaning audibly in the theater when I see a superhero movie trailer these days.

    Liked by 1 person

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