Fresh. Magnificent. Mesmerizing. These are three of the most used adjectives for Wonder Woman, the fourth installment of the DC Extended Universe franchise by Warner Brothers.
Standing at 92% on Rotten Tomatoes, certain people, especially those who backlashed critics after the letters buried both Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad (even though this last one was objectively a bad movie), started screaming in joy, figuratively speaking. Maybe even literally.
They said the story is amazing, Gal Gadot is amazing, the emotions are amazing…
…then I watched the movie. And nothing, NOTHING is amazing.
It goes without saying that not being amazing does not mean it is bad, it’s actually a very good, enjoyable flick, but itàs not amazing and it’s not flawless by any means.
Let’s start by saying that Wonder Woman is not a fresh entry into the superhero genre. No, having a girl instead of a dude as the protagonist and a dude instead of a girl as the love interest does not make the film fresh.
With the obvious point out of the way, I will say the movie is very derivative within the genre itself. If I had to describe the concept, Wonder Woman is Captain America: The First Avenger and Thor, but instead of having a brotherly (in this case, sisterly) love plot, they fully concentrate on the love story.
Story-wise, that’s the movie in a nutshell. We have a lot of Deja Vu if we watched those two movies or we remember them. We have a good woman at heart that seeks justice (Captain America) but has to deal with a world she never saw before, hence creating curious, naive vignettes that actually end up being funny more often than not (Thor).
Craft-wise, the movie can be described as a Spielberg movie written by Zack Snyder and directed by Patty Jenkins. Which, of course, is not a bad thing, but a good thing either.
While watching the movie, you notice in fact three things: first, that who is directing didn’t really have any inventive while shooting (while some action sequences are good, some are really banal and cringeworthy – Robin Wright ‘sacrificing’ herself above all), which brings us to the second point, that clearly she did not write the movie, hence, and the third point, she overly referenced something to get through (visually is very, very similar to Spielberg’s War Horse).
The script is really play-it-safe, which is a good thing compared to the confused stuff of Batman v Superman: all the reasons for what happens are clear, even though they are extremely basic. But, again, they need to be clearer after those two movies, even if it means to have some really flat characters (Danny Houston, David Thewlis) who unfortunately turn out to be the proto-villain and actual villain. Also, the ending is pretty dragged and does not really lead anywhere.
About the ending: despite the easy content, the writers put themselves into a conundrum, which I’ll explain in a later post since I will be getting into spoilers.
The best thing about the movie is the chemistry between Chris Pine and Gal Gadot, even though the latter is not amazing. Their love relationship feels authentic, which is something we did not see in a long time (mostly because Peter Quill and Gamora did not yet start their love relationship in Guardians), so it’s a very welcome feature.
While Chris Pine has been praised rightfully for his performance, I can’t say the same for Gal Gadot.
Don’t get me wrong: she is not bad, quite the opposite. But she ain’t amazing. Her performance is composed by really good comedic timing ( a thing she already showed off in Keeping Up With the Joneses) and a very good action verve, I can’t say she convinced me in dramatic moments. Her reactions were really basic, and not always they hit the target, and even while delivering some dialogues she looked more like a young girl rather than a goddess. Ok, I get it, she is supposed to be naive and all of that, but she still is a very acculturated woman, future Queen of Themiscyra.
I have no doubt that one of the reasons everyone, including me, loved her in Batman v Superman, was due to the fact she was a cynic, experienced warrior, which made of her lack of expressions a sign of self-esteem. Here she was called to give a deeper and more detailed performance, and not everything was delivered. Not that I’m surprised about it, she passed from being a secondary character in Fast & Furious to be fucking Wonder Woman, with pretty much no significant in-between role. I just wished more critics would have noticed that since she also seems a very dedicated actress ready to improve herself non-stop.
So, what do I think about Wonder Woman in a nutshell? It’s definitely a good, entertaining movie, but not as much people and fans are trying to convey. It’s not a memorable experience, but still really enjoyable.