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October 11, 2017

5

Wonder Woman

by Franz Patrick


Wonder Woman (2017)
★★ / ★★★★

“Wonder Woman,” directed by Patty Jenkins, is yet another superhero picture that is over-reliant on CGI and does not offer enough imagination to impress or move the viewer beyond images presented on screen. This is especially inexcusable since the film is over two hours long. What results is a barely passable popcorn entertainment—clearly not a project that will be remembered decades from now and be utilized as a bar to be met for the sub-genre. I find that it possesses a skeletal idea of what it wishes to be, but the execution lacks the necessary inspiration to create first-rate entertainment.

The casting of Gal Gadot is spot-on not only because of her physical beauty. While capable enough of carrying both dramatic and comedic moments, I enjoyed it most when the performer simply stands among a crowd and yet our eyes gravitate toward her. Magnetism is something that a person naturally possesses and Gadot has plenty to spare. She manages to stand out even when computerized special and visual effects invade the screen to the point of overload.

Notice that the best scenes in the picture are moments of levity, whether it be Diana, having been raised on a hidden island, discussing the pleasures of the flesh (and how she read twelve volumes of a book detailing such information) with an American pilot named Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) who is obviously attracted to her or Diana being forced to try on different articles of clothing so she can fit in with the crowd in London. When the material does not take itself too seriously, and willing to slow down the plot so we can get to know the characters a little more, it is refreshing in ways that other superhero movies are not. This is because the jokes are specific to Diana’s story, where she comes from, and what she hopes to achieve.

Conversely, when the material takes itself too seriously, the tone is dour, uninviting, and at times soporific. All of us have seen war films before and great ones shake us to the bone. The events that transpire here is a bizarre combination of real-life drama and comic book. Clearly, these extremes do not mesh well. A diluted version of reality is thrusted upon our laps and somehow we are supposed to find entertainment value out of it. Since the screenplay by Allan Heinberg lacks depth, it simply does not ring true on any level.

In addition, broad topics such as corruption, horrors of war, sacrifice, and heroism are touched upon, even mentioned outright, but these ideas are never explored in such a way that we are given insight as to what these words or ideas mean to the characters we are supposed to be rooting for. Instead, a pattern emerges: an idea is brought up and it is immediately followed by a relatively uninspired action scene. This is especially pervasive during the final hour of this drawn out film.

Those looking for dimension, depth, and insight from superhero pictures are bound to be severely disappointed by “Wonder Woman.” Here is a picture with outposts—important events that must be introduced into the plot in order to create a semblance of story—but the journeys between these outposts are rushed and lacking in flavor. I take comfort in the fact that the romance between Diana and Steve offers enough surprises.

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5 Comments Post a comment
  1. Oct 11 2017

    Wow was that last hour drawn out. My wife and hit pause at one point expecting there to be about 20 minutes left – instead there were 50. To say it’s the best of the DC movies is both true and disappointing. I totally agree with you about the overuse of CGI and the lack of any strong motivation for the characters. It’s an improvement, but something tells me Justice League will still leave a lot to be desired next month.

    Reply
    • Oct 12 2017

      Can’t blame you for hitting the pause button. I wanted to do the same and take a break because the pacing was just off. There’s a lot to be improved from these movies, but this movie made a few steps in the right direction. I had a somewhat positive reaction after seeing the “Justice League” trailer. We’ll see.

      Reply
  2. Oct 11 2017

    I am oddly not curious enough to rent it. The trailer seemed formulaic? Anyway, are you planning to do a review on Blade Runner? :-D

    Reply
    • Oct 12 2017

      2049 review is up. :) As for the original, I need to write a proper review when I revisit it.

      Reply
      • Oct 12 2017

        Franz I saw it after I read this!! Lol.

        Reply

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