In Our final review of the DCEU before the release of Justice League, we take a look at what is publicly accepted as the best DC movie to date, Wonder Woman. Is this accurate though? Does this movie deserve the title of highest grossing origin movie of all time? Short answer, Yes, but read on anyway.
**SPOILERS, as always**
The film opens up in the modern day, with Diana, played by Gal Gadot, being visited by some of Bruce Wayne’s employees handing her a brief case. She opens it to find a photo of her standing with a small group of soldiers. This then leads into the rest of the movie being in flashback. I really enjoyed this aspect of the film as it was a great way to build the world without jumping around from year to year. We then get to see how Diana grew up, from watching the other amazons fight, to being taught how to fight herself and being told a very expositional story of the Amazons’ origin and the movies villain, Ares. While the CGI at this part did fall down at times, obviously rendering a girl falling down a ledge is impossible, the story and character development was enjoyable to watch. The ‘origin’ sequence is concluded with the introduction of the movies male lead, Steve Trevor played by Chris Pine, and the first fight battle scene from the movie. Seeing the amazons fighting German soldiers on Themyscira was very enjoyable. It was great to see how strong and powerful the amazons were, rather than just being told.
After the battle, and the losses felt by the amazons, we see some great chemistry between Gal and Chris’ characters. Gal’s acting really helps illustrate that seeing a man was genuinely new to her. The hot tub scene didn’t feel gimmicky or forced, and because of this, the humor really shined through. While I do understand that they needed a reason for Diana to leave the safety of the island, I felt that it was a bit forced that they had her do it as an almost escape. Having her character want to help the world during the World War helped show who her character was but the fact the Amazons wanted to keep Chris’ character as an almost prisoner didn’t work for me.
The moments of Diana interacting with the human world for the first time was another great aspect of the film. Patty Jenkins didn’t make her feel like a fish out of water, but rather a confident woman simply trying to find out more about the world around her. This was very refreshing to see. Her interactions with the generals also helped develop her character even further and really helped solidify her as someone who wanted to help others, rather than someone who just wanted to fight.
While Diana was trying to familiarise herself with the world, the villain of the film, David Huston’s Ludendorff, is trying to create super weapons for the German army, with the assistance of Dr Maru, played by Elena Anaya. While their story did feel very ‘Red Skull’ from Captain America, it worked and fitted with the movie. I think the only complaint I would have about their performances would be during a scene where they are showing off their toxic gas. They trap German generals in a room and proceed to laugh to each other like cartoon villains. This did take away from the grounded feeling their characters had before that.
We join back with Diana and her quest to stop Ludendorff and his plans. She assembles a team of misfit soldiers to help her get to the front line and help her succeed. These characters, while fun, do feel a bit generic and forced. Even after watching it, I still couldn’t tell you their names. They are helped by David Thewlis’ character. When he showed up at the bar to help Diana get to the front line, it felt earned because he was the only one at the generals meeting that wanted to help Diana but couldn’t.
Once Diana gets to the front line, we are treated to what is undoubtedly the best part of the movie, Diana walking across no mans land and taking out the soldiers. I’m not going to lie, When I saw her fully suited up with the Wonder Woman music playing, I got goose bumps. She makes her way through warehouses and streets with again more ass kicking and great fight sequences. During these sequences we get to see a bit of character development for the other side characters, this was also done well and didn’t feel forced. The chemistry between Diana and Steve during this time is also shown and it adds even more layers to her character. Having her save him was a great way to see how strong she was.
The movie then goes onto what is believed to be the final battle between Diana and Ludendorff, who we believe to be Ares. Wonder Woman, using the stolen god killer weapon left by Zeus for the amazons, kills Ludendorff. After this nothing happens. We are left to question who actually was Ares. In a plot twist which I did not seeing coming, David Thewlis character actually turns out to be Ares! He had been manipulating Ludendorff and Dr Maru into the development of their weapons. This kicks off the actual final battle scene of the movie. This is where the move falls short. While the twist was nice, this final battle scene seemed very generic and not earned. We had been shown the villainous ways of Ludendorff and Dr Maru, so having Wonder woman fight a villain we had only met for the first time properly moments ago felt rushed. It is during this battle where we find out that the sword Diana used wasn’t actually the God Killer Zeus left, it was Diana herself. She uses her new found god killing abilities to destroy Area in a very firey/Smokey/ Third Act DC way. While this is going on, Chris’ Character is trying to stop a plane containing bombs created by Ludendorff, he flies the plane into the sky and sacrifices himself by blowing it up, saving the world in the process. This was another part of the film that felt very Captain America, but during the movie it did not take away from the feeling of loss and sadness you feel for Diana. Their relationship was another highlight of the movie so seeing it come to an end was sad to watch.
Verdict: Inpatient Care
This is what everyone had hoped the DC movie universe would be from the beginning a grounded, well rounded world with great characters and great relationships. The movie was great not only because it had a strong female lead but because it had great writing and great directing. While the final battle did feel generic, the relationship between Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor was great and Diana’s desire for helping is what the DC universe needed (I’m looking at you, Superman). With my excitement for Justice League amplified after watching BVS, this movie definitely helped solidify it.