Sometimes, films are unjustly judged. Other times, popular opinion needs to be challenged. Either way, this content will likely be unpopular.
After the character’s introduction in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the DCEU’s Wonder Woman was given her own origin story in 2017 with the simply titled Wonder Woman. The film details the events that prompted Diana to leave Themyscira and involve herself in the affairs of humanity, establishing her character’s DCEU backstory.
Wonder Woman‘s World War I setting was actually an innovation desgined specifically for the film, gently revising the character’s comic book history in order to better achieve something akin to thematic consistency within its narrative.
The overall presentation of Wonder Woman is generally good, although a sudden shift into an overreliance on CGI for the climactic battle was both jarring and unconvincing. The film’s action sequences were well realized, but a use of clichéd moments – such as dramatic slow motion walking amid massive battles and villains needlessly monologuing mid-fight – hampered them somewhat.
Gal Gadot’s performance as Diana is genuine and draws the perfect balance of simplicity and nuance – this particular version of the hero is naive and inexperienced, meaning that Gadot’s one-dimensionally idealistic hero actually makes perfect sense. As the film’s story goes on, she experiences love and loss, hardening to the world around her while also realizing what makes it worth saving.
Chris Pine is excellent as Steve Trevor, making for a brilliant dynamic between the film’s two leads. The light comedic back and forth between Diana and Steve helps drive the film forward even when it feels a little directionless, and also gives the narrative some much-needed human stakes.
One of the worst things about Wonder Woman is its abysmal dialogue. Lines such as “I belive in love” and “If you see something wrong happening in the world, you can either do nothing, or you can do something” highlight just how clogged with cheese the film is by its awfully written characters. This is a shame, because its general ideas are good – the idea of reconciling Diana’s traditional values against modern ones using the idea of war (and Ares) is ultimately the perfect way to introduce the DCEU character – but it just falls short in the execution.
Almost every single one of Wonder Woman‘s shortcomings are a result of the finishing touches it lacks. The film’s story is good, but its dialogue is not. Its acting is generally sound, but its characters lack genuine depth. Its action is good but occasionally presented through the lens of lazy clichés. This brings the overall tone of the film down from something with promise to something that lands just the right side of average, making Wonder Woman watchable but ultimately uninteresting.
Summary: Though Wonder Woman did a good job of introducing the backstory of the titular hero into the DCEU, its overall execution was lacking, making it generic and uninteresting by avoiding any genuine innovation.
Highlights: The chemistry between Gadot and Pine was the film’s biggest success, making Diana’s love for humanity more personal and keeping the stakes relevant.