At its release, Wonder Woman got a lot of praise for numerous things. It was deemed to be the best superhero movie ever by some and others even thought that it had a chance at being nominated for an Oscar. Let’s just say that my expectations were quite high going into this film. Due to all of this praise, I was expecting to see an excellent film, filled with awesome moments, great storytelling and interesting characters, while in reality, I’ve just watched an average superhero movie that for once had a message for kids. It’s really nothing special, it’s even terrible in quite a lot of aspects, which is what I’ll be trying to explain in this review.
There are multiple ways a superhero film can be done badly, but there’s one thing that’s done badly in nearly every superhero film, and that is the villain aspect. There’ve only been a handful of memorable villains in the pile of superhero movies that have been delivered to us in the past decade. There’s The Joker in The Dark Knight and Loki n The Avengers, but those are practically it. Thus, going in, I knew that the villains in Wonder Woman would be lackluster, but even to my surprise, they really outdid their selves. The villains were performed finely, but the writing for them was truly awful. For one, they were bad just to be bad. There’s a scene where two of the main bad guys gas a bunch of people and add a sadistic element to the mix, after which the two of them close the door and start to laugh maniacally– yes, it’s that cliché at times. They weren’t set up properly at all; one quite literally just fell from the sky, though it was masked as a “twist”. Sure, it was a twist, but not a welcome one, and most certainly not a good one. The pieces of dialogue the villain yells at the end were more laughable than intimidating and the way he looked surely didn’t help at creating a menacing, badass villain either. Again, this wasn’t the actors’ fault; it’s just the writing that made them bad.
The cinematography was also something that was lackluster at times. It could either be really pretty, or awfully bad. It was really nice to look at when it wasn’t cluttered with badly crafted CGI backdrops and effects, but unfortunately, the majority of the film was. For a film with a budget of more than 100 million dollars, the special effects looked extremely fake. The overreliance on green screen and special effects were at times immersion breaking, which is a shame, because every time the film steps away from that, the cinematography’s quite beautiful, with a nice arrange of colors. The film also has quite the variety of goodness in each different act. The first act was fine, the second great and the third was pretty bad and messily made. Also, they tried to add a scene at the beginning and ending in there, to connect it to the other films in the franchise, though it felt completely out of place and unnecessary. Let’s shortly break down the three acts.
At the beginning of the film, we meet young Diana, a girl who desperately wants to become a warrior, just like all of the other women on the island, unfortunately for her, her mother doesn’t allow her to become one. This act wasn’t anything special, as it was mostly boring throughout. Here, we’re left with Diana, who’s not really an interesting character, and also a bunch of expositional dialogue. Diana’s the perfect woman, so there’s anything dynamic about her. Yes, she’s got a goal, but as she’s perfect, there isn’t anything to grasp to care for her. Gal Gadot was able to save the character, by giving a charismatic performance, which made her more lovable. She’s quite a flat and monotonous character to begin with, so we’re in need of an interesting person, who can spice things up, which ultimately happens in the second act. Here we meet Chris Pine’s character and it’s from this moment on that Wonder Woman becomes better. During this act, we see Dina’s story unfold into a fish out of water type scenario, as Chris Pine guides her through WOI era London. Chris Pine really stole the show and gave an awesome performance as the likable side character that had to be Diana’s mentor in this new world. The both of them had really great chemistry and the film dragged when they weren’t together, but when they were, it’s a real joy to watch. The fish out of water element that they added to Diana’s character was a nice addition, as it gave her some more depth, even though they at times overplay that aspect, but it brings out some fun dynamics between her and Pine. When things really start to kick into gear, cool action sequences started to appear that were accompanied by a well-made soundtrack. These scenes were intense, vivid and well directed. They made you feel like you were there and gave you a sense of empowerment. It’s those action scenes to look out for, except for the last one, because that’s when the film turns terrible again. During the middle section, we get to see a lot of fun scenes involving Pine and Gadot playing off each other and while doing so also developing their characters. It’s also during this time that you start to gain hope that the film’s going to end on a high note, but once the third act starts, everything that the film was building up to, crumbles together and it’s then when it becomes a total CGI mess. Luckily, it ends with a message worth spreading.
In the end, I don’t think Wonder Woman is as good as people make it out to be. It surely has some good aspects, like Gal Gadot and Chris Pine’s chemistry and their respective performances, the action sequences, the message and practically everything out of the second act. But that doesn’t mean you can’t ignore the film’s flaws, like a relatively boring first act, a bunch of badly set up villains, a terrible twist, and pretty bad special effects. It’s not terrible, just because the third act is terrible, and neither is it good, just because the second act is good. It’s not the worst superhero to ever be created, but it most certainly isn’t the best. It’s just slightly above average.