“Wonder Woman” is fantastic. I’ve seen it twice and I’m probably going to see it again tonight.
I loved nearly every minute of it.
The title of this article was totally in jest, though. If you didn’t like the movie, you are completely entitled to your wrong opinion.
And yet, I wasn’t going to write a review, because there are already a bajillion reviews and many of them have already said most of what I want to say. And usually better.
But you know what? Forget that. I’m reviewing the movie. Because I love it and this is my blog and I do what I want.
“Wonder Woman” is not perfect. There are elements that just get frustrating. Questions left lingering, and probably not even for future films.
However, it works. This film really, really works. Overall, this is one of the most optimistically feminist movies I have ever seen. This is everything I have ever said about what feminism actually is. It embraces that without ever overplaying its hand. This is a story that simply celebrates men and women working effectively together to achieve a common goal. And it works beautifully.
I’m sure you know the basics by now, but here’s a little rundown. Diana is the Princess of Themyscira, a hidden island whose only occupants are women, called Amazons. One day, an American pilot named Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), on the run from German soldiers, crashes in the water. Diana saves him and he tells the Amazons about the Great War raging all across the world. Against her mother’s wishes, Diana goes with Steve to find Ares, the god of war. If she can stop Ares, she can save the world. And then bad ass fighting and occasional hilarity ensue.
First, let’s talk about Themyscira (pronounced Theh-miss-kih-ruh) and the Amazons. These are not a bunch of man-haters who have eschewed the outside world for selfish reasons. They haven’t banished men from the island. Men simply don’t live in their world. They spend their days training for a war that may one day come. They are educated. At one time, Diana says they speak hundreds of languages and then proceeds to translate a text from Samarian.
And when I say educated, I mean that. They are big readers. They understand philosophy and history, math and science. While Diana becomes a fish out of water trying to navigate pre-1920s Europe, she knows enough of other topics to lead to a very funny conversation with Steve about reproductive biology. Diana is innocent about a lot of things, but not naive. Which is a subtle but important distinction.
Gal Gadot and Chris Pine have impossibly perfect chemistry together. They work together so well I want them to co-star in every movie for the rest of time. Their funny scenes are actually funny. Their emotional scenes will just kill you with all the feels. For the moment, Chris Pine wins the Best Chris prize.
(Incidentally, did you catch his monologue on SNL a month or so ago? Pure gold.)
The supporting actors are also universally good.
Teaching Diana all the ways of ass kicking are Robin Wright, as her aunt Antiope, and Connie Nielsen as her mother, Queen Hippolyta. The two women are strong and strong-willed. Antiope is the General, overseeing the constant training of the Amazons. Hippolyta is beloved by her people, but no less fierce.
In the outside world, Steve and Diana embark on a secret mission behind enemy lines to stop the villain General Ludendorff. Ludendorff, (played by Danny Huston), is essentially a pre-cursor to ALL the Nazis. Together with his mad scientist partner Dr. Maru (also called Dr. Poison and played by Elena Anaya), they plan to release the deadliest poison gas ever created.
Steve and Diana collect a team to stop Ludendorff. The team consists of Sameer (Said Taghmoui), Charlie (Ewen Bremner), and The Chief (Eugene Brave Rock). Running the mission from London is Steve’s long-suffering secretary Etta. Lucy Davis plays Etta and though her screen time is limited, she makes the most of it, delivering some very funny moments, throwing out offhanded comments that delve into social commentary. She’s a delight.
As are Sameer, Charlie, and Chief. Sameer does make a few typical-male comments on Diana’s level of attractiveness. But the three men are completely respectful of her, never trying to prove their machismo. And it doesn’t just feel like they’re keeping quiet because they know she can kill them with her pinky. They actually respect her.
It’s so refreshing.
And, without giving anything away, there is one scene that is going to go down in history as one of the greatest battle sequences in cinematic history. Yeah, I said it. It’s really that good.
The important elements are there. The Lasso of Truth is utilized well. Her sword and shield are great. They even manage to make her ridiculously sexy, impractical costume sort of practical. Kind of. No invisible plane in this one, though, I’m (not) sorry to say.
The ending does get a little silly and starts to feel too long. The CGI in the final fight between Diana and the supervillain looks kind of messy and chaotic in a bad way. This problem exists whether you see it in 2D or 3D, which I know because I did both. Also, the big bad villain isn’t that compelling, which is true with pretty much every supervilllain in every superhero movie. I tend to think this is actually one of the better ones, but that’s not really saying a whole lot.
All in all, this is fantastic fun. It’s empowering in all the right ways. It’s a very cooperative movie. Everyone has a part to play and they all do their jobs and do them well. It is satisfying and fun and everything that a superhero movie should be.
(Side note: Before “Wonder Woman” was released last week, I wrote a piece for Awards Circuit about why she matters. I was very happy to see that the film lived up to my hopes for it.)
(Also, speaking of Awards Circuit, our newest Circuit Breaker episode is up and we talk a lot about the movie, but with zero spoilers.)