Wonder Woman had big shoes to fill as she is one of the largest comic book heroes. Not just for DC, but in comic books in general. DC needed to get their foot firmly in the door of making movies for their characters. At this point, Marvel had a huge head start, as DC had been focused on TV shows and was late to the game.
Also, this gave DC the chance to have a big budget and serious female-led comic book movie, something that wasn’t happening yet in the MCU. This isn’t to say it’s the first ever comic book movie about a female character, of course.
The movie missed its mark, unfortunately. The main characters are one-dimensional, and have the depth of a piece of paper. The movie was extremely predictable and the subplots didn’t go anywhere. I had high hopes for Wonder Woman and it did look great in trailers, but the final product came off as a subpar Frankenstein’s monster of movies like Thor and Captain America slapped together. Wonder Woman is a great and popular superhero and DC needed to try hard to keep up with their counterpart. Unfortunately, this was mostly a dud.
Gal Gadot takes on the heroic role of Wonder Woman and doesn’t do the part any justice. I had hoped she would come around to being a better actress than she was in the Fast and Furious movies, but I was wrong. She proved she’s better used as a tenth-billed actress in those action popcorn movies, not to rest the entire movie on. I can’t blame it all on her. The movie’s writing and direction were bad throughout.
Wonder Woman is a one-dimensional character that’s driven solely by the goal of finding Ares, the God of War, and stopping him. She comes off as a completely insane person the whole time, obsessed with him, talking almost exclusively about him and nothing else throughout the entire movie. This also made the love angle between her and Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) seem forced and undeserving, but predictable nonetheless. Steve Trevor comes off as the stereotypical hero you’d expect from every action movie, constantly going on and on about the mission, almost as one-note as Diana.
Ares (David Thewlis) takes on the form of a human, even though he doesn’t need to as he has no problem getting people to do his bidding through his apparent subconscious forms. This makes me think they added him being in human form either late in the production or just at least in the late stages of writing the screenplay.
Ares doesn’t make much sense overall. His plan is for men to have the First World War to prove men are evil and to stop war. Stopping war doesn’t seem like something Ares would do. He is the God of War. Which leaves you wondering what they were thinking? It would’ve made more sense to have him bored and want war, thus setting his plan to cause war into motion. Even if Ares didn’t want war… how does causing a war make any sense?
The rest of the cast is basically just there but with the added annoyance of no real reason for them being there, with no closure for their side plots. For instance, one of the soldiers couldn’t take a shot to kill an enemy, but nothing else comes from it. The movie seems to forget about its own situations like this.
The most predictable and annoying aspects of the movie are scenes like “no man’s land”. Troops couldn’t move from their trenches, it was seen as suicide to try. Of course, that’s not going to stop Wonder Woman, who was allowed to move the line because of her power… or because she had a shield. It was cool seeing the bullets ricochet off as she pushed forward. However, the lead-up to it hammering home how men couldn’t move forward and how lucky for them Wonder Woman isn’t a man, was clumsy.
Another is when Wonder Woman was allowed into the war room where “women are not allowed”, yet her being there gave insight that the men apparently couldn’t gain for themselves. This was predictable. Maybe this type of stuff wouldn’t have stood out to me if not for all the feminist politics surrounding the movie before and during its initial release?
Even if that wasn’t a thing, the movie would still have the same issues of being predictable and unengaging. The movie is also cliché. Steve Trevor forms a ragtag group of soldiers. Apparently, none of them were needed elsewhere during the war. Just another detail of the movie taking from a number of other action movies that have come before.
The action in Wonder Woman was great, although the movie could’ve used more. Diana doesn’t really unlock her true power until the end of the movie. That is a trope I thought ended in the 2000s. That said, she’s still a badass throughout and is extremely powerful. I get her not being at full potential, it just seemed cliché the way her empowerment is handled.
The way subplots are managed, side characters are forgotten, and with the villain Ares feeling like an afterthought it feels like maybe a better movie was left on the editing room floor. There are some good things done here, but mostly Wonder Woman is a poorly put-together movie. At least she feels like she belongs in this movie, unlike in Batman V Superman.
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