“Wait a minute, Rawle,” I hear you saying. “After what you wrote in that last post, you saw the movie?”
Yes I did, because my local theater did not have a woman-only showing, and the studio itself didn’t promote these showings, as far as I know. The Alamo Drafthouse did not produce the movie. Anyway, on to the review — which, by the way, marks my 100th post on this blog.
On the hidden island of Themyscira, the Amazons train for a coming battle against Ares, the god of war. Diana, a child sculpted out of clay, practices combat under the tutelage of Antiope, one of the Amazons’ best warriors. However, when American pilot Steve Trevor crash-lands on Themyscira, the trouble starts; the Germans tailing him show up with him, and though they are defeated, the Amazons take several casualties in the process. Steve tells them of a war raging in the outside world (World War I), and Diana concludes that Ares is behind it, so she and Steve escape Themyscira and head off to end the terrible conflict.
The movie itself was entertaining. Because it focused on a single hero as opposed to an ensemble, it avoided the mistakes of Batman v. Superman and Suicide Squad, both of which suffered from overcrowding. Wondie didn’t brood or whine (neither did Steve, for that matter), so even throughout the gray and smoky setting, the film had a tone of optimism. The heroes were sure they were doing the right thing, even when others tried to hold them back; there wasn’t any trace of cynicism anywhere. You walk out of that movie feeling like you can conquer the world.
Wondie’s ignorance of the outside world is used for far more than fish-out-of-water humor — it is rolled into a general naivety that sometimes gets her into trouble. She wants to jump into a situation, but Steve sometimes has to hold her back because she doesn’t fully understand the situation. None of this, however, diminishes her as a hero; it shows that despite her naive way of thinking, she is mature enough to know when to take action.
Also, the men in the movie are not useless appendages. While Wondie is definitely the star of the show, Steve has heroic moments himself, as does his squad. Wondie even points this out when she and Steve’s merry men save a French town; “We did it,” she said when Steve praised her for her grand physical feats.
Lastly, the Themyscira scenes in particular stood out to me. Let’s not mince words or lie about the appeal — They. Looked. Hot. The opening greets the viewer with enough skimpy outfits and panty shots to satisfy any man, and the Amazons’ athleticism only adds to the effect. Once we get to the outside world, Wondie still shows out in a nice-looking leotard and leather miniskirt. “Practical armor” can die in a fire — Wonder Woman is a superhero, and superheroes should look bold, expressive, and yes, even sexy. In a movie landscape where all the girls wear ugly-ass trousers, Wonder Woman is a breath of fresh air.
However, no movie is without its flaws, and this one has a few, though they’re not deal-breakers. For one, the movie follows the “Hero’s Journey” template too closely, making it feel somewhat formulaic. Second, the character of Dr. Poison, a chemical weapons expert, was made too sympathetic; there was no implication that the bad guys forced her to experiment on people. Lastly, the villain was a bit lackluster, though his influence was felt throughout the film. Don’t let any of this stop you from enjoying the show, though.
This movie pleasantly surprised me. I braced myself for a garbage fire and got a clean-burning log instead. And the funniest thing? This movie succeeded everywhere The Force Awakens failed! The only sad thing is that this is likeky to be a one-off, since DC plans to do another ensemble film with Justice League. But in the meantime, go see Wonder Woman — you won’t regret it.