Wonder Woman (2017)
Critic Consensus: Thrilling, earnest, and buoyed by Gal Gadot's charismatic performance, Wonder Woman succeeds in spectacular fashion.
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Critic Reviews for Wonder Woman
It's thrilling that Wonder Woman is enjoying the critical and commercial success that it is. But, in some ways it's also unfair. There is more weight than one film by one director about one woman should bear.
As befitting the genre, Wonder Woman is heroic and spirited. The fighting sequences are spectacular, and the story is engrossing, uplifting and fun. There's even a bit of romance and humor amid all the action. [Full review in Japanese]
"Wonder Woman" is a superhero movie, and it fulfills the heroic and mythic demands of that genre, but it's also an entry in the genre of wisdom literature that shares hard-won insights and long-pondered paradoxes of the past with a sincere intimacy.
Beauty, strength, goodness, bravery: These are your values, and here is how your values must look.
Jenkins tries not only to include men on Wonder Woman's side but also to make male viewers feel better about a woman saving them.
The final big action sequence, as now seems always to be the case, is a messy and overwrought CGI extravaganza. But at least the movie that precedes it involves actual characters-likeable ones, even!-exhibiting recognizable human emotions.
Audience Reviews for Wonder Woman
Diana is truly the god we all don't deserve and the much-needed smashing success for the DCCU. (Is that a thing? Do people call it that?) Wonderwoman accomplishes the difficult task of creating a mythical being that's not only relatable as a coming-of-age tale but also much more relevant to humanity's plight than Thor could ever be. All this while delivering action sequences that are just as impossibly astounding! It also respectfully portrays the horrors and difficulties of a World War without reducing it down to cartoon entertainment in laser guns to appropriate the superhero genre, a decision I strongly disagreed with in Captain America. Marvel comparisons aside the film has a generally typical story with an acceptable revealing end but also has such intelligent, powerful themes plugged into it. Support characters are memorable and not wasted, playing key roles in Diana's character progression that eventually becomes pivotal in the plot as well. Ah! The titular role. Gadot does such a phenomenal job conveying a sense of naivety and maturity in simultaneous form. The fish-out-of-water humor is delivered in grace and it's refreshing to not be bombarded with one-liners and zingers to have my amusement kept. There are some visual technical hiccups (Snyder's handy work no-doubt) and Ares' final unmasking is a little improptu in delivery but to say Wonderwoman is anything less than an amazing superhero-origin movie would simply be wrong.
The fourth movie in the current DC extended universe that has been exploding onto our screens with much aplomb. Well actually no it hasn't but that was the idea wasn't it. So far things have been a bit dodgy to say the least, could this movie turn the tide? Well according to just about everyone this movie did seem to do just that. So has the movies popularity, hype and praise swayed me in any way? Is it justified? Or do we have yet another [i]Ghostbusters[/i] (2016) scenario? The movie is basically a prequel to the 2016 movie 'Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice' whereby it shows the origins of Diana Prince (Gal Gadot), whilst at the same time connecting to the events that occur within BvS. The fact its this way around is of course due to WB's lack of patience and coordination in their comicbook universe building (playing catch up with Marvel as fast as possible). The plot however pans out as you might expect, in the usual comicbook fashion. We learn about Diana's homeland, her culture and people. We learn about a pending almighty evil that threatens everything. Outsider shows up and ends up helping Diana in her quest to find and eliminate evil. A bit of exposition, some minor alternate bad guys to deal with, a few key battles and then one big CGI finale. Much like the recent 'Kong: Skull Island' (2017) I had an initial problem with the fictional Amazonian homeland of Themyscira. This place appears to be a very large group of islands plopped in the middle of an ocean somewhere. The problem being it appears to be hidden by a perpetual weather system and some kind of invisibility force field. Obviously this is a fantasy movie so something like this shouldn't really matter. But the entire notion that no one has ever stumbled across this rather large place, and reported it, just seems completely unbelievable. The other thing that bothered me was the fact that when German forces actually find this location (whilst chasing a downed Steve Trevor), they simply start to attack! Why would they do that?? Such an important discovery like that. Also what exactly happened to the German ship? Did the force field sink it? The story moves swiftly on as we follow Diana and Steve (Chris Pine) back to London (its 1918). The plan: Steve simply wants to hand back some important stolen information regarding Nazi gas weapon advancements (Steve was an undercover spy). Where as Diana wants to find the evil God Ares and kill him so she can stop WWI. Diana has basically been brainwashed all about Zeus and his dastardly son who wants to wipe out mankind (Zeus' creation) because he thinks they are a destructive race. She believes Ares is the cause of WWI and she can stop it. The thing this narrative becomes extremely annoying truth be told because Diana never shuts up about it. Diana is essentially very naive and genuinely curious about this new outside world. She clearly has no idea of gender, society rules and the fact that people might treat each other differently. She finds these human elements and more (such as not helping people in need or acting carelessly with other lives), completely reprehensible. She simply does not understand how people could act this way. The thing is, I found it quite grating after a time because Diana mentions it in almost every scene! I fully understood the need to show and express her emotions on these factors but Jesus, you can truly feel Steve's frustration as he tries to help and explain to her. Good acting? Sure, still annoying to listen to over and over though. This being a 2017 movie I also understand the requirements for diversity and whatnot. So when it came to Steve's little band of merry men, naturally they were gonna be a diverse bunch. I had no problem with this except for a few tiny details. Firstly, the crazy Scot, surely they could of cast someone other than Ewen Bremner, such predictable and safe casting. Then my other gripe was the native American character. No problem including the guy, but did they have native Americans in the trenches in WWI? Hey I could be wrong but this kinda felt like they were going for a bit [b]too[/b] much diversity there. Kinda reaching a bit methinks. Also would they really wear their native attire? In other words would Sameer from Morocco (I'm guessing) go around wearing a fez in a wartime situation? Would the Chief Napi go around dressed like a cowboy or hunter? Shouldn't they be wearing protective clothing? Yeah I'm being picky I know. I have to admit the Wonder Woman theme tune is very catchy and it does work well here. The action scenes are very well executed and look terrific, but when that score kicks in it does get your adrenaline fired up a bit that's for sure. The entire movie looks good in general but I put that down to the charming period setting of the early 1900's and WWI. I'm sure I'm not the only person that has noticed that movies shot during either world wars always seem to look very authentic and adventurous. Indeed this movie like others ('The Rocketeer', 'Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark/Last Crusade', 'Captain America: The First Avenger' etc...) looks authentic, adventurous and harrowing all at the same time. There is a fine balance between the horrors of war and a rollicking comicbook yarn, and its upheld nicely here. Dare I say a bit darker than the first Captain America movie. I think its safe to say the best sequence is where we get our first glimpse of Wonder Woman in battle. She disrobes in front of the stunned allied troops and simply strolls out into no man's land sword and shield at the ready. Other than that things tended to get a bit CGI obvious for me. In the first battle Diana is leaping around like a frog and merely throwing Germans all over the shop. I'm sure they would have been killed or badly injured but it felt like more of a cop out in the heat of the moment. I wanted to see her run troops through, slice n dice. The German soldiers also became obvious CGI ragdolls once launched. The finale was also a bit weak in my opinion. Firstly Diana kills off the main German baddie (Danny Huston) on a packed base, yet no one seemingly cares. Then she fights Ares who turns out to be the elderly David Thewlis! Now don't get me wrong, it was quite refreshing to see a villain not played by some roided up meathead. But watching Thewlis become this electrical power wielding super God was a tad silly. Twas also a bit silly seeing these two superheroes slug it out on one side of this military base; then on the other side mortals are fighting their puny war. Oh and Diana lets the evil Doctor poison go in the end too? Like wut??!! Is that female privilege? So was this as good as all the hype? Yes and no for me. Its certainly a solid superhero flick, its better than virtually all the DC offerings, and it gives some Marvel efforts a good run for their money too. The main problem for me is simple, superhero fatigue. There have been so many of these movies now, and most are generally the same spiel. Its really hard to watch a single superhero movie now and [b]not[/b] think I've seen it all before. But that's because I have, you could essentially swap out Wonder Woman here for any other superhero character, and it would still work the same. So yes its a good solid movie, but its nothing special, it does nothing overly original.
Completely charming, wonderous, lovingly crafted, and even progressive in the way it tackles dark, violent subject matter seriously as a backdrop to what are more traditional super heroics. Gal Gadot is an absolute revelation and Chris Pine delivers in a surprisingly satisfying and pivotal role. "Wonder Woman" pretty much has it all. It's a shining light in the crowd of an over saturated superhero-obsessed movie market. It at the very least deserves a spot in any conversation regarding the best superhero stories yet captured on film.
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