After three weekends at the box office, Wonder Woman has more than impressed critics and fans alike. The sheer excitement and joy this film offers is hard to find in theaters these days and should be cherished.
This is a 5-star movie. Now that doesn’t mean it’s a perfect film (if such a thing even exists). The are shortcomings, and that’s to be expected from a film that clocks in at 2 hours and 21 minutes, but what Wonder Woman offers is far greater than what it doesn’t (see pt. 1). This is an important movie and a very well-made film.
However, I feel like after three weeks, all that should be said about this film…well it’s already been said. This is my third post about Wonder Woman, and there are many thousands of well-written articles out there too. So in the interest of moving to other films and blog topics, I’m not going to do any kind of deep critical analysis of this film. Instead I’ll just close my writing on this film with a bunch of notes.
Here’s my 1-star review of a 5-star movie (spoilers ahead):
- Patty Jenkins’ skill and confidence as a director is so clear from beginning to end, and she elevates the source material to another level.
- For me, the instance that stood out the most was when the shot rotated 90° at the start of a chase montage with no prompting. It lasted just a few frames, but it was a sort of eccentric, even playful, edit that only a confident director would have the ability to make.
- Note where the camera lingers (and where it doesn’t). The camera never devolves into a male wish-fulfillment device (except for that Chris Pine scene, oh I know you remember the one) while still fully embracing the power and beauty of Wonder Woman.
- Some have griped about the clichéd use of slo-mo (and they have a point), but its use in this film effectively establishes the unique, original fighting style of the Amazon women.
- The movie handles the atrocities of war in such a human way through Diana’s eyes. She sees how death is handled on the battlefield she refuses to accept the status quo. What does it say about us when the least human character of the cast is the most empathetic?
- The men in this movie are far from forgotten. Steve Trevor is a crucial character in this film, and they way he navigates his relationship with Diana while also taking his own initiative elevates the film to another level.
- The trio of Charlie, Sami, and the Chief could easily be forgotten as plot-device characters, but they all have their moments to shine in the film. The Chief delivers one of the most haunting lines of the entire film.
- I think this is one of the best superhero love stories in recent memory. There’s a notable lack of swooning, forced attraction, and teenage behavior (you’re getting called out on this one, Thor). Instead, it’s a maturely handled and balanced relationship that manages to integrate into the story.
- Sadly, this movie ends with a fairly generic superhero film third act. Ares definitely fell flat as a super-villain, and I did not envision Remus Lupin as the face of the God of War.
- I LOVED the motivation behind Wonder Woman choosing to fight for humankind out of love. Is it cheesy? Sure. But it’s also such a rich and character-defining decision that for me, made the movie. I think we take for granted that the superheros always fight for the “good guys,” but this film makes that a choice, and a difficult one at that. What Wonder Woman chooses is to never resign herself to what mankind is, but to always fight for the compassion and love that is in every heart. Now I could elaborate on this point for pages, but seriously it’s exactly the kind of message that I would write into a movie!
- How great is it that a generation of kids will grow up with films like this?!