Gal Gadot makes a fine Diana Prince and I will never turn down watching Chris Pine and David Thewlis grace the silver screen. Chris Pine’s Steve
Rogers Trevor is charming, the right side of flawed hero and has enough balls to know when a woman is best for the job.
Seeing Robin Wright join Carrie Fisher in her cinematic evolution to General is a delightful high point and, once again, reminds me that there is always something better to wish for than being a princess. While her screen time is fleeting, Wright makes a positive impact for exposition, character development and world setting.
The humor, for about 20 minutes, is a nice touch. Yes, it does rely heavily on the gender tropes, but it was a short respite from the heavy slog.
I was delighted at the true cultural representation of soldiers fighting for Britain in the war. Gone is the all white troops, replaced with a much more realistic melting pot. My heart melted when I spied what appeared to be a Sikh regiment on the King’s Cross platform. (Side note, Finally a US funded film that does not divert all the action to America and taking all the credit for the success of the war)
I’m bored of the origin story narrative. Two movies in one; Iron Man, Batman and others all do the same. Build the backstory; one that’s rich with its own possibilities, to rip it from us in the second act. Wonder Woman falls into the same trap. I love seeing Diana as a child in a world of Amazons, frustrated at the boundaries set by her mother. However, you know it’s a plot device and it’s all lip service making the film feel bloated and almost episodic. While I equally dislike films that feel like a setup to wishful sequels, I would have liked to have seen this as two distinct movies; wouldn’t harm to have more Robin Wright either.
It seems a little too obvious to say that I wasn’t a fan of the villain. Aside from rug pulling, big bad switcheroo in the final act I just didn’t quite feel like I had a true villain to hate. Could be because of it’s setting; who could live up to the real villain of WWII. My biggest issue is that there’s a female bad, but there’s nothing there. It seems a little too much like they’re fighting a metaphor so the resolve feels a little anti-climatic.
Firstly, the CGI is appalling. Buffy the Vampire Slayer is celebrating its 20th Anniversary this year and even on a low budget, two decades ago, the highschooler and her Scoobies made the fight sequences look much better. The long shots don’t work; when Wonder Woman jumps, when she faces off with sergeant Tom, Dick or Harry and when there is an unnecessary pan and scan of the Amazon training. It’s all too amateurish, cartoonish and frustrating. Bring the audience up close and personal and you remove the need for cringe-worthy graphics.
Finally, it is the fact that this film is one of our first female centric superhero movies that has caused my greatest irk with Wonder Woman. I already have my role models; Ripley, Leia, Hermione, Buttercup and, hell, even Eleven is a better representation of a strong female character in a male dominated world. I am all down for feminism (yup, I used the dirty word) however, I like when it doesn’t try so hard.
Issue one: Diana is not like me or you, she’s a bloody demi-god. How can I see her as someone to bring about equality when she is still something ‘other’. Diana is all well and good to point out the unfairness in a society at war, but she’s essentially a Mary Sue with her inexplicably gained knowledge of every language under the sun and living in a world where her sex is dominant. Secondly, she is an Amazon. Amazons have historically been represented as something almost anti-feminist; their man loathing is highlighted when the island is under siege. Even Pine’s Steve is almost expired without conversing with him. Which leads me smoothly to…
Issue two: Is personal. My idea of feminism is not positive discrimination. It is not putting men down and putting women on top. For me, it’s about equality. Which is why I’m incredibly offended about the treatment of Ewan Bremmer’s Sharpshooter Charlie. He joins the cause despite his alcoholism, brought about by PTSD. It could have been an amazing story arc for the Scotsman.
Diana, upon arriving at the front, refuses to listen to everyone’s advice and proceeds reclaim territory from the Axis powers. Steve et al follow suit and they find themselves fighting within the confines of a village square. There’s a shooter in the bell tower and Charlie has him in his sight. But his PTSD seems to get the best of him and it’s about to be a character driven moment. Except, its not. Woman Woman apparently hasn’t had her fill of enemy kills and in another atrocious CGI moment, Hulk-jumps the bell tower, emasculating Charlie in the process. I would have been fine with it, had Charlie had an opportunity in the final act to overcome his PTSD, but he doesn’t. He’s brought down simply for the cinematography.
I think I’ve very close to being done with the comic book universes. They need to hand me a Buffy or Xena on a plate pretty sharpish because try-hards are not washing with me.