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Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Review: Wonder Woman

***I received no compensation of any kind from anyone for this post.***

I'd been hearing a lot of great things about Wonder Woman since it first came out and I was excited to see I'd have a chance to watch it during the free HBO/Cinemax weekend my provider had recently.

***WARNING: There might be spoilers ahead. Read at your own discretion.*** 

Wonder Woman, starring Gal Gadot in the title role, was released in 2017. It opens with Diana as a child on her home island, yearning to be trained as a warrior. She is older and in this training when pilot, Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) crashes near her island and she rescues him from drowning. She was told the legend of her people over and over as a child, and so when she learns of World War I from Trevor, she believes Ares, God of War, is instigating the conflict. She decides she must go to the world of men and kill Ares to save mankind.

I found the beginning slow because of all the time we spent with little Diana. That being said, the movie wouldn't have worked without it because Diana's actions, beliefs, and decisions throughout the film would be incomprehensible without the backstory. Still, it was a relief when Steve Trevor's plane crashed near the island and things finally got moving.

One of the comments I heard several times from women talking about this movie is how it made a huge difference to them to see a female superhero portrayed as a male superhero would be portrayed and I even heard the comment that they were moved to tears by it. I waited for some kind of reaction like this and never had it. I did definitely appreciate that Diana was portrayed as a strong action heroine and I liked that she led the way and saved the men. I also liked that the men didn't do anything stupid to save her from herself, but at no point was I moved emotionally by the female superhero representation.

A couple of points I'll make here: Number one, I am not a fan of historical stuff in general and WWI is not my bag at all. I would have far preferred a contemporary-set story. Number two, I've never been a fan of superhero movies in general, although I have enjoyed Guardians of the Galaxy. Both these things undoubtedly color my thoughts.

Once the story got moving and Steve and Diana are on the mission to stop the nerve gas, the movie was taut and exciting. So exciting that I made a mistake in my knitting and now have to go back and unknit a few rows to fix it.

I liked how Diana's naiveté was because she'd been isolated from the world--that seemed realistic--and that Steve helped her navigate the human world until she got the lay of the land. I also liked that she caught on quickly. There's a moment of disillusionment toward the end that also seemed very real given the stories she was raised with and I liked how the writers got her to realize that while humans were flawed even without Ares interference, they were worth saving.

The characters seemed well fleshed out, even some of the minor characters, and the performances by Gadot and Pine were believable and I liked both of them in their roles. Even the secondary characters seemed strong and important to the film as more than sidekick or team member or evil general.

Overall, I can give the movie a strong recommendation. I liked it, but perhaps because of all the chatter I heard before I'd seen it, I'd expected to love it. Still, I'd give it a thumbs up and say watch it.