A Completely Biased Wonder Woman Review
I have to start with a pile of disclaimers. I’ve said many of them before, so if you aren’t new, bare with me. But for the new amongst us, these will all come as a huge shock.
I am a fullon geek that hates, despises, abhors, super hero movies on the whole. I mean, watching gods slam into each other for 100 minutes and save the world, over, and over, and over again? No thanks. Now, obviously Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy is an entirely different thing all together. But, yeah, no thanks. Bombastic, loud and unthinking in the extreme. Super powers in my mind are a McGuffin in search of a McGuffin to McGuffin that allow screenplay writers to be all kinds of lazy in the extreme.
Modern Super Hero movies are literally video games that you can’t control. So why even bother? Why not buy the latest Lego super hero video game and run around as Spiderman destroying cities and saving hapless citizens? Might as well. It’s more interesting anyway.
Which brings me to Wonder Woman. Ok, so I have to say that as far as comics go, I grew up feasting on large swaths of Batman and Superman. I would venture to bet that 50% of my income as a teen went towards comic books. Just unhealthy levels of spending. And all of it was within the DC universe. (Well. That and anything drawn by Todd McFarlane.) So I have a weakness for the Justice League, Batman, and the super heroes within this space. But I still can’t stand poorly written bombastic laziness. Regardless of where it is coming from.
But then comes the Wonder Woman movie. I wasn’t even going to go. But a bunch of friends were in from out of town and were like, let’s go. So picture it… 5 or 6 guys heading out to see Wonder Woman. Hahah. And you know what? I liked it. There was the normal World War I Bad guy with a passion for murdering everyone that was tiresome. But Diana, Princess of Themyscira, Daughter of Hippolyta, also operated on an entirely other level that I didn’t see coming.
Spoiler alert – this next section is a fairly detailed walk through of the movie.
Quick Wonder Woman Overview
The movie starts at the end – way way at the end. With Diana at the Louvre working as a historian with rare documents etc. And Bruce Wayne has sent her a plate photo from the Great War with her in it. And then the movie jumps backwards in time to Themiscyra, where the Amazonians live. The emphasis during our time here is 100% about training and getting battle ready, just in case. (In case of flipping what?!? Exactly.)
Well, Diana the toddler grows up finally and convinces her Aunt to train her (trust me, you don’t need to know more about the politics of Themiscyra.) And in a crazy moment she does a cool block maneuver with her wrist bands of steal and ends up knocking everyone back a hundred yards. And apparently, everyone knows that Diana is special. But no one wants to tell her why. Get that bit? She’s special. But she doesn’t know she’s special. (Which at first I thought was thoroughly trying.)
Eventually, Steve Trevor is chased onto the island through the protective cloak that guards the island. The Amazonians go full tilt and kill off the Great War invaders, and Steve Trevor supports the women against the Germans. After, Steve tells Diana about the war raging outside their safe little haven and it causes her to think. Her whole life Diana had been told that the women were to challenge Ares, the God of War one day. And now she finds that outside their island a war is raging? Then obviously she must go and defeat him and release the humans from his bonds. So she takes the God Killer sword and heads out to sea with Steve Trevor.
Leaping ahead to the front of the war, Steve and Diana have assembled a small group of vagabonds to support their effort to destroy a chemical factory hellbent on killing anyone and everything. Capable of even burning through gas masks, etc. (Yes, this is the McGuffin that drives the arcade portion of this movie.) So when Diana arrives she decides this trench warfare business is ridiculous. And out she goes under a barrage of machine gun fire and sniper bullets. Eventually the Allies follow her out and push out to a town … where Wonder Woman destroys a sniper nest and saves the town.
There is a scene where Steve and Diana head to a German gala celebrating… I have no idea what. Steve heads in to find where the warehouse of munitions is. And Diana follows him in. After a dance with the bad guy (who’s name I can’t even be bothered to look up… oh alright, I’ll look it up!… with Ludendorff), and a conversation between Steve and the mad scientist (oh ALRIGHT! Dr. Maru) they realize that Ludendorff and Maru are going to test their latest concoction on the nearest town. Diana heads into the town and is angered with Steve for not doing anything, not killing Ludendorff. And so Wonder Woman is done. No more. Finished.
But having found the location, Steve Trevor and his rag tag group of vagabonds, head to the base to try and destroy the weapons cache without her. Obviously it goes fairly poorly. Wonder Woman has a change of heart, comes back to the battle, and has it out with Ludendorff. She impales Ludendorff with the God killer after a battle between the two. And now that Ares was dead, Wonder Woman assumed that all humans would be released from the strangle hold of evil. That they would voluntarily walk away from the war and all in the world would be righted again.
Nothing of the sort happens because – surprise! – Sir Patrick is Ares. Not Ludendorff. And while Steve is struggling to get the plane and all the munitions, Wonder Woman starts round two with Sir Patrick/Ares. Eventually Ares is beaten because Diana, we find, is actually a god herself. The God Killer is just a ruse, and is nothing at all. But Diana is the God Killer. Phew. At the same time Steve pilots the plane away, far into the sky and detonates the plane at a safe remove.
Thoughts on the Conclusion of Wonder Woman
Wonder Woman was decidedly an origin story. They don’t leave the island til 45 minutes in. And we don’t even see Wonder Woman in full regalia til something like an hour and ten minutes? Something like that? There is so much back story, I was curious how this movie could fit in any sort of
While I generally can’t stand gods hammering each other for 100 minutes, Wonder Woman had no idea she was a god throughout. Didn’t realize the powers that she had. Which made the movie much more vulnerable and approachable than most movies. It also had a dual arc going that made the narrative naturally more interesting than most super hero movies. We had Diana, struggling with the evilness of man, while simultaneously struggling with her own desire to pack it up and go home. We also Steve and his desire to destroy the weapons which, Wonder Woman, really had nothing to do with, ultimately.
But it was an interesting think piece on why man is evil. Why evil is in the world. And what we should do in the face of such terrible truths. Should we hole up and ignore it all? Or should we fight on behalf of humanity in spite of our predilection for being awful? So in that regard, I really enjoyed the innocence of Diana and of the movie in general. It was thoughtful and considerate, in that it contemplated the alternatives. Normally super hero movies just scream… evil! That way! Kill it! And they do. But in this movie, there was more going on under the surface, and for that I appreciated it all the more.
What were your thoughts on the movie?