DCEU Film Retrospective: Wonder Woman (2017) by Patty Jenkins

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So, I’ll start with what I think to be the best of the DCEU. 2017’s Wonder Woman.

  • Directed by: Patty Jenkins
  • Starring:
    • Gal Gadot as Diana Prince | Wonder Woman
    • Chris Pine as Steve Trevor
    • Connie Nielson as Hippolyta
    • David Thewlis as Prof. Lupin Sir Patrick Morgan | Ares
    • Robin Wright as Antiope

Synopsis: A man washes up on the shores of Themyscira, an island inhabited solely by the Amazons. Behind him comes the Germany army, following the spy who stole their secrets plans in the middle of WWI. The man, Steve Trevor, appeals to the Amazons to let him return to his general to turn in the notebook of secrets to help stop the war and save innocent lives. Diana, compelled at the chance to save others and finally stop Ares for good, leaves her home to come join him in the fight against the Germans.

The Good:

  • Diana – Diana was such a breath of fresh air after all of the neck snapping, branding and stabbing from Superman and Batman. She was so optimistic, hopeful, compassionate and genuinely set out to protect innocent people. She was staunchly moral and refused to stand by in the face of injustice. She marches into a room full of men and calls them all cowards for hiding behind bureaucracy while others suffered. She was well read, highly skilled in numerous forms of weaponry and spoke several different languages. While they inserted the dreaded ice cream scene from the New 52, this film made sure the audience understood how intelligent Diana is. She believed in love above all else and she was a fantastic heroine. Perhaps the best we’ve seen on screen so far in either of the Big Two’s films. Admittedly, the acting wasn’t always perfect (Ex: the mist scene. Yikes. Another take would’ve done wonders.) but 99% of the time, I loved Diana!
  • Themyscira and the Amazons –  Themyscira was breathtakingly beautiful. It was so green and lush and DC actually allowed sun into one of their films for a once. The Amazons were a society of women that functioned just fine without men’s interference. They were all different sizes, ages and colors and they were well versed in literature, languages, and combat styles. I wanted to be one of them! Not gonna lie, that scene on the beach where they’re all coming together to take down the German army made me tear up a bit because we finally got women in the spotlight in a superhero movie. And they weren’t there to be rescued!
  • Antiope – Robin Wright as Antiope was a revelation to me. She was older, she had battle scars and she was a clear example of what a strong female character can be. She’s not a hardened warrior without a heart; she loved Diana and she loved Hippolyta. She was such a stand out for me and I wanted so much more of her!
  • Diana and Hippolyta’s relationship – Diana and Hippolyta’s relationship was incredibly well done! Some of Gal’s best scenes were with Connie Nielson and you could really believe them as mother and daughter. When Diana said goodbye to leave with Steve Trevor, I actually teared up a bit. Connie played her role so well!
  • Steve Trevor – Admittedly, he may have tied for my favorite part of this movie. I’m not a huge Chris Pine fan but he was bloody fantastic in this film! Steve Trevor was consistently funny, extremely compelling and very well acted. I actually teared up at the end of the film. This was a case of a male character that supported and uplifted their female co-star. He acknowledged where Diana was better suited for the mission than he was and assisted her. Especially during the best scene of the film:
  • No Man’s Land – By the time 2017 ends, comic book fans will be tired of hearing those 3 words but it has to be said: this was the best scene in the entire film. Hands down. It was the scene that stole the spotlight in the first trailer. It was the scene that explained Diana’s mission. It’s the scene that explains who Wonder Woman is. Diana is told that there is no way to cross this section of land because the German’s and their allies will shoot down anyone that tries. Diana is told that there is nothing she can do. Diana doesn’t care.

Steve: No, we are doing something! We are! We just… we can’t save everyone in this war. It’s not what we came here to do.
Diana: No. But it is what I’m going to do.

    • Diana puts on the costume, Antiope’s diadem and makes her way through No Man’s Land. It’s an incredibly powerful moment where the music swells and the camera focuses on Diana alone. She’s the center focus and she’s making the decision to do the impossible on her own. She meets the barrage of gunfire with just her shield. There’s this shot of here alone taking the brunt of this assault and she’s standing tall. She makes way and the men go behind her as she takes down the opposition. This all leads to the scene of her in the tower taking down the enemy in the town they’ve conquered. We get to finally see her really use the lasso and her sword and it’s freaking amazing! At the end of this, the town cheers for her and who wouldn’t get a little misty eyed at that? This scene is what makes this movie for me!
  • Steve/Diana – This is a romance that met Tony/Pepper levels of good for me. Admittedly, I’m never super invested in het romances. Especially in comic book movies because they’re usually just excuses to damsel every female character. I like a few of them: Tony/Pepper, Wade/Vanessa, Bruce/Betty and Peter/Gwen but usually I just roll my eyes. This was pretty well done. It wasn’t rushed at all and I felt like both people had something to offer the other. Plus their banter was pretty cute.
  • (Barely there) Discussion of people of color and PTSD – It was basically a footnote but I appreciated that the film attempted to talk about the lack of options of men of color during WWI. I appreciated the minute discussion of Charlie’s PTSD. Again, footnotes.
  • Score: I’m a big nerd about scores. I can’t count the number of Ramin Djwadi’s songs I have in my iTunes collection. I’m always listening for new music to download from films and this score was kick ass! More than Diana’s theme, the music playing during Steve Trevor’s missions, the music in No Man’s Land, the music in the third act! It was all stuff that made me want to go outside and kick some ass. Whatever your thoughts on the DCEU, they’ve had some fantastic scores!
  • Etta Candy – I adored her! ‘Nuff said.

The Bad: *** warning: Spoilers ahead ***

  • The Villains – The villains were glorified cartoon characters. For such a kick ass costume design, Dr. Poison was pretty shit. I don’t know if they just didn’t want to try the line deliveries different ways but I felt like I was watching Rocky and Bullwinkle with some of the evil cackling. The scene at the ball with Steve Trevor was the only time I didn’t find this character unnecessary.
  • Ares – I tried. I really did but at the end of the day, that’s Remus Lupin. You made Remus Lupin into a Greek God. I talk a lot about DC hiring actors who look the part but aren’t great actors and here we have the opposite. David Thewlis is a brilliant actor but he does not look like a Greek God. I can hear bitter fans saying “That’s the whole point! You’re not supposed to see him coming” but I can explain why that’s complete bullshit.
    • There’s an entire subplot with Steve, and his gang later on, believing the Ares story to be complete bullshit. They all think Diana’s been fed lies or she’s simply delusional to believe there is a god out there causing men to go to war. This works on it’s own. Even if DC had hired someone who actually looked more like the God of War, say someone like Tom Hardy, we wouldn’t lose any of the suspense for this plot. There’s still a question if Ares is real or not.
  • Acting – Again, minor complaints about some of the acting. Gal’s still fairly new on the scene but I just wish they’d rethought the mist scene.
  • CGI – Look, I’m not that guy. I don’t often complain about CGI unless it’s really, really, really bad. Like BBC Merlin season 1 bad. This film didn’t really have that problem except that some of the fight scenes were sped up so much that Diana looked like a video game character. Particularly during the “Wrath of Diana” scene where she super speed punches a bunch of German soldiers during the third act. I kinda checked out slightly because it was so strange.

Anyway, all of this to say that the film was fantastic and the complaints I had, outside of Boris and Natasha, were very, very minor. This was a wonderful film and I’ve already seen it twice.

Is it a recommend?

Yes! 1000x yes!

Score: 9/10

3 thoughts on “DCEU Film Retrospective: Wonder Woman (2017) by Patty Jenkins”

  1. Great review! I, like some of my friends, thought that it was missing the “contest” where Diana disguises herself and earns the mantle of Wonder Woman rather than taking it the way she did in the movie. Other than that, the movie was definitely a welcome change from the brooding, “emofest” of the last three DC films.

    Like

    1. Thanks!

      Also, I completely agree with you! I wish they had done the Bullets and Bracelets contest in the film, as well. I get that they’re doing more of the New 52 origin for her but it would have been awesome to see her compete against the other Amazons.

      This one was definitely the most hopeful of the DCEU films, so far.

      Liked by 1 person

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