The future of justice begins with her.
Before I start this review, I want to give you a couple of disclaimers. I went and saw this on Friday with my boyfriend, not because I was necessarily interested in it, but I did owe him because he saw Beauty and the Beast on opening night for me. And because I love him and wanted to see him happy, I put on my big-girl pants and went to go see a super hero movie I had very little interest in. (This will become slightly more evident throughout the review.)
I’m just gonna assume y’all know who Wonder Woman is and a little about her, so we’ll just skip to the review. (This movie is basically her origin story.) Ok, moving on.
Like I said earlier, I’m not really into super hero movies. The only one I’ve seen and liked was Iron Man and that came out what, like a decade ago? (2008, I just checked.) Personally, I think they’ve only gone downhill from there. So take all of this with a grain of salt, but I had a hard time getting into the movie.
(Quick story to prove I have no idea what I’m talking about with super heroes. So like an hour into the movie when it became obvious Chris Pine had a crush on Wonder Woman, I turned to my boyfriend and asked, “Is that a thing? Captain American and Wonder Woman?” After the initial what are you talking about?, he informed me that Chris Pine is not Captain America. Needless to say, I was embarrassed.)
It’s a pretty typical example of a hero’s journey, if you’re at all familiar with Greek mythology or literally any story with a “hero,” super or otherwise. They are living their life, the get a call to action in the form of someone needing help, and then they go through a lot of self-discovery and fighting and learning. Blah blah blah. (Again, to me, this is utterly predictable. It’s probably the same sense of predictability guys feel in romantic comedies.) So Diana is an Amazon princess, training away, and then she meets a *man* for the first time. *GASP* From there, she sets off to end World War I basically on her own. Apparently this is a change from the comic books, where she jumps into World War II. As a history buff, I approved of this change. World War II is way overdone.
(Ahem…my sarcasm may be a little thick…I’m going to try to tone it down a bit.)
Anyway, I found the plot to be slow on top of being predictable. There’s a ton of background info, lots of scenes that I felt weren’t totally needed, and some that were a bit too long. (The running time for this movie is roughly 2 hours and 20 minutes.) And all the fighting sequences? Did they really have to be in slow motion half the time? Ugh. Slow-mo fighting is the worst.
I will say, even though most of the movie seemed predictable to me, there were moments where I was taken by surprise. There’s one really good one where my reaction was, “Oh, cool. Now we’re talking.” And then it went into another slow-mo fight scene.
What I did actually like were the characters. This greatly enhanced my movie experience. Gal Gadot does a very nice job playing Diana as fierce and passionate while also completely out of her depth and innocent. And Chris Pine definitely steals more than a few scenes with those big eyes and snarky humor. Those two definitely made the movie worthwhile. There was character development (which is my weakness) and it made sense to the story.
From the beginning, I had high expectations about this being feminist and full of strong female characters, etc. That’s how it’s been hyped up in the media. And to an extent, that was true. I’m thrilled that there is now a female super hero for girls to look up to that isn’t like, Black Widow. (Nothing against Scar-Jo, but Black Widow’s not exactly a role model.) Wonder Woman is an idealist and tends to see the best in things, and she’s incredibly brave and determined to make the world a better place. Having an entire village of Amazon warriors also played up this feminist approach.
Was it perfect? No. I wish there had been another female lead character, because after the first half hour or so, it’s just Gadot up there. Her team, of sorts, includes 4 men and a female secretary who is probably in about 15 minutes of the film. I mean, couldn’t there have been a female smuggler? You can’t tell me women couldn’t hide a number of things under those Edwardian dresses. And being female wouldn’t have stood out any more than the ethnicity of some of the characters. (One is Turkish while another is Native American.) Heck, why not cast a Turkish woman or Native American woman for the part? It’d have the same effect.
And there were still lines or scenes that still felt slightly uncomfortable because of how the men in the story saw Diana. I’m not talking about the typical, “You stay back while we take care of it,” macho approach. I expected that, especially given the time period. No, there’s one scene where a man sees Diana fighting for the first time and says, “I’m both afraid and aroused.” Seriously? That was necessary to this film? It got a laugh from the predominantly male crowd, but I didn’t like it. I literally could not stop thinking about that line for the rest of the movie whenever that character popped back on the screen. Which was fairly frequently, considering he was a main-ish character.
Perhaps ironically, there was another scene in the movie toward the very end that kind of made me uncomfortable, but I couldn’t put my finger on why. It wasn’t sexist or demeaning at all. (It’s kind of a big twist in the story, so I can’t tell you what it is.) Anyway, it finally dawned on me why it made me feel off. Normally in super hero movies, it’s a female’s action. The fact that a man was doing it threw me off and I didn’t even realize it for over 12 hours. It flipped things on me and once I realized that, I had more respect for it.
Look, I’m one person, and I know that every woman, man, feminist, or Amazon is going to have a different take on how well this portrays women. Here’s what I’m truly most excited about: the crowd for the movie was predominantly male and it was busy. This means this movie is going to do fairly well for itself in box office totals AND that men truly don’t care that this movie stars a woman, was directed by a woman, and all this other stuff the media keeps hyping up. Hopefully this means that more movies like this will be green-lighted because there is an audience out there.
From the reactions of my boyfriend and the other men in the theater, this was well-worth seeing. My biased self? Worth seeing once, but I’m certainly not going to rush out to see it again.
(Personally I’d give it a 3, but my boyfriend urged me to post this review and I’m pretty sure he’d give it a 4 or 5, so I’m going to average that out and give it a 4, since he knows more about super hero movies than I do.)