Obvious Warning: Spoilers (but not many) Ahead!
The whole Geeky Family have been looking forward to this movie for quite some time and were not disappointed!
I was getting nervous about the quality of this movie because, right up until about 2 weeks before Wonder Woman’s release, it seemed as though Warner Bros was spending more time and money promoting November’s Justice League than May’s release of Wonder Woman.
Did that signify a lack of confidence in the film by Warner executives?
If so…then these executives sure missed the boat because this movie was excellent!
I wanted to make sure this review was handled from the right point of view, so Geeky Mommie will be taking over this movie review from here on:
It takes a woman apparently for DC to get it right. After tepid movies following DC’s success with Christian Bale’s Batman, they put out a great movie with Wonder Woman. Gal Gadot slays as the title character and who doesn’t love a great origin story followed by fighting for the good guys in WWI?
I was a little concerned originally when Gal Gadot was announced for the role, thinking it would have been more fitting for Jaimie Alexander (Lady Sif in Thor). I was impressed with Gadot from the Fast and the Furious movies but was worried she was a little too scrawny to play Wonder Woman. Well, luckily, I am not a casting director because they nailed it. Gadot was stunning and her acting has greatly improved since her debut in the fourth Fast movie.
The movie starts with Bruce Wayne (Batfleck – although he doesn’t appear in the film) sending Diana Prince/Wonder Woman the picture of her in WWI looking identical to present day. With the picture is a note that says he’d love to hear her story and thus begins the flashback. The beginning is a little forced and could have been there either to let us know it was a flashback or to show that Wonder Woman (hereafter referred to as WW) and Batman are still talking. Regardless, I think it would have been more interesting to start talking about the Gods and creation of the Amazons, but we get over it quickly. I also was concerned that it was mansplaining Diana’s character – needing Bruce Wayne to make her relevant. Luckily, this wasn’t the case.
We see a child Diana, played by 8-year-old Lilly Aspell, who happens to be incredibly adorable, wanting to learn how to fight. As the only child on an island of women and daughter of the Queen, she’s adored by all, but a bit of a handful. We also learn that DC took some liberties with the Greek Gods (although I guess we don’t necessarily know what happened to the Gods circa 1900ish), and Ares has gone and killed all of them. The Amazons are tasked with killing him, but are also protected on an invisible island where they live in paradise and train to fight pretty much 24/7.
Despite Queen Hippolyta’s reluctance, Diana learns to fight from her aunt, Antiope, played by a ripped Robin Wright. The Princess Bride was barely recognizable, but seriously, don’t mess with her. At one point she takes out three guys with one pull of her bow. She would have taken out Wesley, Andre the Giant, Inigo Montoya and the Sicilian mastermind without breaking a sweat.
Chris Pine’s Steven Trevor (which by the way is my brother-in-law’s name!) brings WWI to Paradise Island after Diana’s accidental show of power apparently weakens the island’s shield and Wonder Woman is off and running to save the world from Ares (I totally called which character was Ares!), the Germans and an evil woman scientist who is creating deadly poison to use against the Allies.
Diana’s fish out of water when arriving in London was both funny (walking through a revolving door with a sword) and thought provoking. While slightly naive, Diana is still highly intelligent and educated in all things (including details about men), but doesn’t understand a world where men are essentially in charge. We’re reminded that woman can’t even vote at this time, and when she crashes a military intelligence meeting, the men are shocked that a woman is in their presence. Surprisingly, throughout most of the movie, the only people who didn’t treat her differently because she was a woman were the Germans, who shot at her regardlessly, which we’ll discuss later.
We also have a great scene where Diana needs to find appropriate clothing, which could have been an amazing 80’s movie montage. And then the typical scene of finding a group to take on an important mission, much like Captain America’s Howling Commandos. Wonder Woman probably didn’t even need these guys and they didn’t really add a ton to the story – nameless soldiers would have worked just fine, apart from the Native American “The Chief” showing that even Steven Trevor’s people aren’t saints.
Once they make it to the front line of the war, just sit back and enjoy the action. With no better way to state it, WW just kicked ass. Between Gal Gadot’s training and her stuntwoman, she looked flawless (much unlike the super awkward Laurel Lance from CW’s The Arrow), and I was rooting for her with every kick, punch, leap and otherwise amazing feat. One of the best scenes is her crossing over a trench called “No Man’s Land”, drawing all of the fire so that the soldiers could cross and liberate a city.
One of the odd things here though is that a half-naked woman (really rare for the time period) steps out into the battlefield between the trenches and the Germans don’t stop and think, “what is this”, or even ogle – they just start shooting. I’m not sure if this is to show that at no point does WW use sexuality to get ahead or to show that the Germans looked at everyone (even women and children) as the enemy, but thought it was interesting. Even though her outfit is pretty revealing (although at least this one has a little skirt), she was proud of her warrior body as opposed to trying to sexualize it. And even though she was stunning, it still wasn’t sexual, but very empowering. As a side note though, I love that when she goes to fight she takes her hair down. Nothing like having your hair whip around during a fight.
Overall, the movie was a lot of fun, with action and a few comic bits. It wasn’t as funny as a Marvel movie, but not as dark as most of the DC movies have been. It struck a perfect balance to make it more appropriate for a younger audience than the other DC movies. Yes, there is war and death, but it wasn’t handled in a gratuitous way and the power of her as a role model for both girls and boys outweighs this. Being a mom to a boy, I appreciated that this movie was about a strong woman, but not at the expense of men or by saying men are dumb/weak/etc. I hope that my son thinks of women as strong and powerful when he grows up (like his mom!), but knows that boys are great too.
Overall, the Geeky Family gives Wonder Woman a 4.5 out of 5 Geeky Daddy Movie Rating and a Sidekick Friendly (Above the age of 8 due to violence) rating.