Wonder Woman (2017)


Writer, Nate Brigman

Nate Brigman

*Mild Spoilers*

Those who have seen the movies can agree that the vast majority of DC’s cinematic universe has been disappointing, and despite receiving critical acclaim upon its release, I feel that Wonder Woman is just as unsatisfactory as the rest of its counterparts. My main issues with this film lie within the script, plot, and villain (or lack thereof). However, Gal Gadot does well in portraying Diana (Wonder Woman), and is really just held back by the poor script. 

This film is plagued by clunky dialogue throughout, and it’s honestly disappointing. It seems the author of the screenplay, Allan Heinberg, saved all of his best lines for Chris Pine’s protagonist character Steve Trevor, leaving trite and unoriginal lines for the titular character and legitimately every other side character. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard a hero character say something to the effect of “I cannot stand by while innocent lives are lost,” and it makes me roll my eyes every time because it’s such an overused sentiment. Unfortunately, Diana says just that as she leaves her island home to go fight in World War 1, and that’s just the beginning of the oversimplified, trope-filled dialogue. Perhaps it’s too high of an expectation, but I certainly was hoping for writing as elegant and quotable as The Dark Knight trilogy’s from today’s DC movies.

For a two-and-a-half hour movie, the plot moves altogether too fast, with rapid-fire scene changes that hit you one after the other, and is far too drab and predictable. Hardly any effort was placed into side characters, who all exude redundancy and unoriginality, and there were some scenes that were just completely unnecessary. When I’m watching a movie about a goddess trying to stop a war and destroy the god masterminding it, I don’t want a five-minute scene of her trying on dresses in London. I want to see her fighting Nazis and throwing tanks around. Furthermore, once Wonder Woman, Steve Trevor, and some friends help save a village from the Germans, the director and screenwriter felt the need to insinuate that Steve and Diana had intimate relations after, despite there being virtually no dialogue or real warmth between them that would insinuate such feelings between them. Quite the opposite, in fact.

Two of the things that make a war movie great are violence and villainy, and this movie could have improved on both. For a movie in which people are sliced with swords, bashed with shields, punched with superhuman strength, shot with bullets and arrows, and murdered with caustic gas, the violence is entirely, disappointingly bloodless and merely an excuse to show off fancy cinematic shots of slow-motion combat. I get that it’s a comic book movie, but some realism is needed, and PG-13 movies can still retain that realism (i.e. The Dark Knight, Venom, Spawn, Taken). Another issue is that the movie has a villain for about five minutes in the final fight, and Ares (the Greek god of war and the cause of WW1) looks altogether too British since they cast a British actor, David Thewlis. The rest of the bad guys are just supercharged, two-dimensional Nazis with no depth, backstory, or personality, and yet they’re supposed to entertain us for the majority of the movie. Every hero needs a compelling, interesting, and nuanced villain, someone to really offset, challenge, and break the hero, and Wonder Woman regrettably underdelivers on all of these points.

Personally, I believe that the minds behind this movie were so driven to put out a movie with a strong female lead that they didn’t think as hard about doing it right, and I think the fans were so starved for such a movie that they were willing to overlook the glaring flaws throughout. Perhaps I have too high of standards, but I believe Wonder Woman deserved a better origin movie then she received, and I hope to God she gets a better sequel.