Was The Wonder Woman Movie Really All That Good?

Whatever you think of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, there’s no denying that the mega-franchise has changed the way superhero movies are generally perceived. Propelling the men and women in tights into mainstream cinema isn’t its only achievement, however, with its shared universe having started a new trend in filmmaking that competing studios are scrambling to adopt.

At the forefront of Marvel’s competition is the younger, live-action DC Extended Universe, which has arguably had a rough start to its journey, having poor critical reception plague its first two titles. Eager to turn over a new leaf in 2017, the DCEU took to the silver screen with its first solo, live-action Wonder Woman flick.

While there’s no doubt that the movie was a breath of fresh air for the DCEU, delivering on its promise to renew fan confidence in the cinematic universe, whether or not it deserved being labeled an Oscar-worthy “super-hit” remains debatable. With competition the likes of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Spider-Man: Homecoming, and the upcoming Thor: Ragnarok, the film might not even have a clear shot at the top spot in its own genre.

A slow and somewhat confusing trudge to a disappointing climax, riddled with unnecessary pit stops

The origin story of the Amazon goddess is hard to get wrong, though mistakes are never entirely impossible, as fans would find out through the second half of the film. The movie starts off strong, leading into an even stronger second act, showing Diana of Themyscira making her way to the Man’s World to strike down evil at its roots. What follows, however, is a slow and somewhat confusing trudge to a disappointing climax, riddled with unnecessary pit stops. The action sequences were quite decent, capturing much of the wisdom, alacrity, and strength that defines the iconic warrior princess, that is, up to the final act.

Hey, Professor Lupin.

As for acting, with impressive performances from Connie Nielsen, David Thewlis, and Chris Pine to lean on, Gal Gadot’s take on the titular heroine, in the opinion of this writer, still managed to fall short of average. The definitive assertiveness and strength of the character often feel absent from Gadot’s portrayal and the script seems to have wandered beyond the range of emotions the actress feels comfortable emulating.

The writing seemed to have had quite a part in separating the wonder from the woman

The blame doesn’t rest with the actress alone, however, as the writing seemed to have had quite a part in separating the wonder from the woman. Wonder Woman is one of the strongest female characters, both mentally and physically, in any comic book universe. While that certainly doesn’t make the character immune to experiencing moments of uncertainty and vulnerability, this rendition of her seemed to completely lose sight of what’s important after having her ideals challenged, becoming overwhelmed, and leaving her male compatriots to risk their lives for their cause.

Overuse of slow-mo throughout the film siphoned away much of the impact certain scenes could have had.

Diana’s indecision ultimately costs her the life of love interest Steve Trevor, who keeps a level head through their toughest ordeal, flying away on a one-way mission to save countless innocent lives as our heroine struggles with her demons. Needless to say, the story couldn’t have picked a worse moment for a role reversal.

Movies with nearly identical storylines & similar progression… would be lucky to have half as ardent a fan-base

Despite all its shortcomings, Wonder Woman continues to be held in the highest regard by many. Movies with nearly identical storylines and similar progression, such as MCU’s Thor, would be lucky to have half as ardent a fan-base. Countless reviews and fan reactions on the web would suggest that the movie largely owes its loyal following to its subject matter. In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find a review exclusively applauding the film’s execution.

To rate it higher than its cinematic brawn based largely on the title hardly seems fair

While the DCEU deserves a pat on the back for attempting to break stereotypes with a franchise centered around a strong female character, to rate it higher than its cinematic brawn based largely on the title hardly seems fair. A mild attachment is understandable, however, given the history of the character: starting as one of the most objectified female superheroes in comic book history and going on to become a symbol of female strength.

I just hope her live-action adventures see similar growth down the line, which can most definitely be expected. Don’t get me wrong – I didn’t think Wonder Woman was a bad movie, though I wouldn’t call it a work of art of art either. So, to answer the titular question: no, Wonder Woman wasn’t really all that good a movie, with its crimes being failing to fully capture the hardiness and authority of the character and a disappointing final arc that seemed to drop the ball in nearly all departments.

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Sameed Khan

I write, game, design at times, and revel in sarcasm. You can find me on Twitter.