Rob Reviews "Wonder Woman"
One of the biggest challenges that has faced the geek community for what seems like forever and a day is the lack of strong female characters in their films, television, and print mediums. Most of the female leads have either been the damsels in distress or supporting players, hiding in the shadows while their male counterparts led teams to victory over evildoers. The only consistent exception to this rule has been the character of Wonder Woman, an Amazon from the island of Themyscira crated from clay by her mother, Hippolyta. When she discovers about the land of Man outside of her paradise home, she chooses to live amongst them and protect the earth from the forces of evil. She stands side-by-side with Batman, Superman, and the rest as a charter member of the Justice League of America and has been the focus of television, comic strips, and even animated feature films. However, the big screen has always eluded her, with many different theories as to why depending on whom you ask that question. “Monster” director Patty Jenkins has stepped up to the plate with Gal Gadot in the lead role along with Chris Pine as her male counterpart, Steve Trevor, Connie Nielsen in the role of Hippolyta, and Robin Wright as her aunt and warrior, Antiope to tell her tale in the latest 2017 summer blockbuster film.
This origin tale brings Diana Prince (Wonder Woman’s alter ego) to Europe during World War I as she works with Trevor against the Germans as she seeks out Ares, the god of war, whom she believes is responsible for the violence that lies within the hearts of men. Having Gadot’s version of the heroine introduced in “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice,” the familiarity there definitely helped make me settle into the film well instead of any form of adjustment to a new actor in the role. This is also a visual wonderland, using different techniques to tell different angles of the story, including a very cool motion painting style to tell the back story of the Amazons and their gods and how everything that is going on gets us to where we are going. Jenkins makes a great decision to use her own visual style while still giving a nod to the look in the battle scenes that Zack Snyder established before her in the DC Extended Universe and looks to be carried forward with the upcoming “Justice League” in November.
The issue that I have here is that the two hour and twenty minute run time is just simply too long. This could easily be pared down to the two-hour mark and perhaps even a bit shorter, especially in the late first and early second act. From the time that Diana and Steve leave Themyscira after the battle with the Amazons and the Germans until their arrival to “No Man’s Land” where we see Diana in her full Wonder Woman glory for the first time just seems to drag at an incredibly slow pace to the point of annoyance to me. There are themes that are brow beaten into the audience that screenwriter Allan Heinberg seems to have gotten stuck into a loop on until he found a way to get the story to its next destination, weighing down the film in the process. Once the story gets there, we seem to be off to the races, but I am not sure it is enough to save the film as a whole. The end of the third act as the big bad is revealed also hits with a whimper with more changes to the form and nature of the conflict than Reba McEntire does in one of her live shows, causing a bit more confusion as the climax of the film approaches.
“Wonder Woman” is by no stretch a bad film, but it simply did not meet nor exceed the expectations that I had for it going in. This will definitely be a purchase to add to my collection when it releases on Blu-Ray, and given performance thus far, the audience has spoken and want more, so listen up DC and make this happen!