© 2016 by Catherine Bilson

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Movie Review: Wonder Woman

June 4, 2017

I took my sons to see Wonder Woman today.

 

Now, I'm always gonna be a Marvel fangirl. There hasn't been a good DC movie since the original Christopher Reeve's Superman in my opinion - Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight series were way too dark for me and the current iterations of Batman and Superman are just dire. Especially Henry Cavill's complete inability to make any expression other than a pout.

 

However, having two young sons, I get dragged along to EVERY superhero movie, good or bad. And the last two DC movies, whatever else people might say about them - and we all know that the critics had some really, really nasty things to say about both Batman vs. Superman and Suicide Squad - each had one great thing going for them. And that was a scene-stealing performance by a woman.

 

In Suicide Squad, it was Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn. Every time she was on screen I was riveted; every time she wasn't, I found myself losing attention. In BvS, it was Gal Gadot who saved the whole thing from being a dirge-like sausagefest. I was impressed with the Israeli soldier-turned-supermodel-turned-actress's performance, and I found myself looking forward to the solo movie.

 

I'm old enough (just about) to have grown up on Saturday morning reruns of Lynda Carter in the Wonder Woman TV series; cheesy but charming, I hoped to see a little of that recaptured here. 

 

Well, we didn't really get that. DC seem determined that their comic book movies aren't going to be 'funny'; in their universe we don't get the wisecracks and one-liners that their Marvel counterparts do so well. Wonder Woman doesn't go for the humour, though there is one scene where Diana is trying on period women's clothing and asking in all innocence why women would subject themselves to such that is fabulous and had me laughing out loud.

 

There is a stark contrast between the two parts of the movie; the first part, where Diana grows to womanhood on the idyllic island of Themiscyra under the watchful eye of the other Amazons is all sunshine and light, a sharp contrast to the horrors of WWI going on outside their protected little haven. When Chris Pine's fighter plane crashes close to the island and Diana rescues him just ahead of searching German naval forces, all hell breaks loose. The rude intrusion of the outside world is the catalyst for Diana's departure on a mission she believes is her destiny.

 

The movie cleverly mixes myth and reality, asking and answering some hard questions about the nature of mankind as Diana has to find the answers to those questions for herself. The storyline isn't all that fantastic - there are plot holes I could drive a bus through, like what the heck was the point of that gala - but at the end of the day, that's not what makes this movie extraordinary.

 

What makes Wonder Woman extraordinary, and what upcoming female superhero movies like Captain Marvel and the rumoured Gotham City Sirens will have to measure themselves against, is that Diana Prince never needs a man to solve her problems for her. Chris Pine and his little band of recruits have their own missions to manage, and she regularly lends a hand, but there is no time at which they interfere with her fight.

 

At the end of the day, I really, thoroughly enjoyed the movie. Could it have been better? Maybe, but it could also have been oh so incredibly much worse. I'll give it a solid 4 1/2 stars, and I'd happily see it again any time.

 

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