Movie Review: Wonder Woman's Long Overdue Movie Debut Is Both Stunning... And Disappointing

Someone needs to be the 10th Person and say, this is just an okay movie. Just sayin'.

Wonder Woman (PG)

Starring Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Danny Huston 

Directed by Patty Jenkins

Yes, Wonder Woman finally has her first big screen adventure. And now that DC has done its female superhero movie (their second, actually, after the ill-conceived Catwoman), let’s see what their rivals Marvel Studios will do with its female superhero movie, the Brie Larson-starring Captain Marvel (due 2019).

No pressure, right? While it’s a breath of fresh air to see the Amazon Princess throw her Lasso of Truth and swing her Godkiller sword, I have mixed feelings about the movie. Let’s do a rundown of the hits and misses. 

Bagus! Gal Gadot 

Didn't we already establish that in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice? Makes no mistake, she owns the movie. As a pre-Wonder Woman, Diana, Gadot exudes innocence and toughness, and the second Gadot dons the iconic armour you can’t imagine anyone else but her playing the role. Much has been said about Wonder Woman being the first studio superhero film directed by a woman (that’s not entirely true: Lexi Alexander helmed 2008’s The Punisher), but does that make a difference? Only in an understated way. Wonder Woman’s wardrobe may be scanty, but director Patty Jenkins (Monster) doesn’t sexualise her. Now compare that to what the male directors did to their heroines in Elektra and Catwoman.

Bagus! The tone

After the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice ‘fiasco’, if you want to call it that, it’s clear that the filmmakers wanted to lighten things up. But there’s only so much levity they can inject into a story is set against the backdrop of World War I, the War to End All Wars (pssst: it didn’t). Sure, there’s one or two quirky fish-out-of-water moments (mostly involving Edwardian era fashion tastes) where Diana tries to assimilate life in London, but nothing as loony as the ‘I need a horse’ scene in Thor. Chris Pine is endearing as American spy Steve Trevor, the romantic interest-cum-comic relief, while we wish there’s more of Lucy Davis (The Office) as Steve’s sidekick, Etta Candy. 

Bleah! The villain

A heroine is only as good as her villain, and while Danny Huston is a great actor, his maniacal General Ludendorff, who's bent on disrupting the peace process by unleashing chemical weapons, is weak and forgettable. Oh yes, there’s another baddie, but that other person turns up too late in the game to make any impact. And that brings us to... 

Bleah! The ending

If you’re suffering from superhero fatigue, the video-gamey third act isn’t going to alleviate it.  It’s an overblown CG love-fest where actors are reduced to soulless avatars by artisans. Noisy, chaotic and boring. Not unlike the Man of Steel climax. It’s exhausting when it’s supposed to exciting. If anything, it just plays like an extended trailer for Wonder Woman’s next adventure, Justice League. (***)

Photo: Warner Bros Pictures

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