RECAP: Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman (2017): Patty Jenkins

It took 76 years, but in June of 2017 Wonder Woman, a canon comic book character, finally got a feature film to call her own.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: Formed from clay, on an island of immortal women, Diana Prince leaves her world to fight the last war against Ares, the last god. 

Hero (10/10)

“I used to want to save the world.” That’s Diana Prince, circa 2017, unlocking an original, century-old photograph delivered to her by Bruce Wayne. The Batman wants to know her story. Diana, aged not a day, looking at the fading image of her, tells her story–to us. She tells of that time she “used to” want to save the world.

Photo that gets the action going in modern day
Photo that gets the action going in modern day

On the paradise island of Themyscira, wrapped inside a camouflaging bubble created by Zeus, an immortal group of women called Amazons lives in a perpetual state of war readiness. Created for a single purpose, these women train every day for the coming war to end all wars against the troubled god Ares, son of Zeus.

Unknown to the outside world, these women are great leaders, generals, and fighters. All of them are adults, until, early in Wonder Woman we meet Diana, the island’s lone child.

From an early age Diana wanted to train to fight, against the wishes of her mother the queen. Yet train she did, for years, harder than any Amazon ever trained, because her mother, unlike Diana, knew what Diana was.

Important Backstory Digression: Zeus created humans for gods to rule; Ares didn’t like this (probably he was jealous), so he made men jealous and vengeful, thus creating war amongst humans; the other gods got mad; Ares killed all the gods, last of all Zeus.

In Zeus’s dying moments he instilled his dwindling powers into a weapon, a weapon powerful enough to kill Ares. Not a sword, not a spear, not a gun or even the Lasso of Truth, Zeus poured his power into a girl made of clay, clay that became Diana.

Adult Diana (Gal Gadot) does not know she is the god killer, believing a treasured sword protected in Themyscira’s lone tower to be that weapon. One bright afternoon, after Diana has knocked out her sistren with a blast from her gauntlets (for the first time, knocking out her aunt and trainer Antiope (Robin Wright) as her mother (Connie Nielsen) observes, Diana watches a plane crash into the sea. She dives off the cliff and rescues the pilot, an American spy named Steve Trevor (Chris Pine).

Mother and daughter
Mother and daughter

Known to us mortals as the First World War, Steve tells the Amazonians of the War to End All Wars. Sounds like what the Amazons have been waiting for. Diana asks Steve to lead her to the war.

Wonder Woman is another superhero origin story. Diana is a child, she trains, she sets out to fight. But this origin story veers hard in its middle. Diana travels with Steve to the regular world, to the dirty London of 1918. She has no idea how to fit into human society. She’s lived millennia on Earth for all we know, yet she knows nothing of modern custom. She understands hundreds of languages but not the language of love.

Diana, the most powerful weapon on Earth, needs pathetic but charming humans to blend her and adjust her to the 20th century, and this is where Wonder Woman shines. Diana tries on 226 outfits until she finds the best one for fighting. She knows that a man is necessary for biological reproduction but not for pleasure (she’s read all 12 volumes on the subject).

The world of Britain, Germany and mankind in general confuses her. Generals sit in offices and weapons kill noncombatants. Is it a world worth fighting for? Diana is unsure, but she’s there to save the innocent, always understanding that Ares has corrupted the minds of men into war.

Gal Gadot shines as a lithe symbol of power as much spiritual as physical. A child of Zeus, so to speak, Diana stands for the ideals instilled in her for countless years. She’ll stand against the entire, crazy world if she must. Though British men disrespect her and undermine her at many turns, she never attributes the behavior to sexism. For Diana, Ares pulls all the strings.

Diana is as naive amongst the modern humans as she is principled, and Gadot has the right look for the job. A youth’s incredulity sits easily in her face. Gadot might be 32, but her character acts sometimes like a girl half her age, and such naiveté is often present. One night she hears thunder near the front, until she learns it is the thunder of German artillery shelling villages. Consider the first time she sees a watch–Steve’s–and she asks, “What’s that?” The concept of time is not important to an immortal.

Diana, about to use the word "foreordinance"
Diana, about to use the word “foreordinance”

These moments are important for the audience, asking us to question what we consider “normal” behavior. Steve tries to keep her separate from British men. He never stops her. Diana will dress down a general when she wants. “You should be ashamed,” she repeats to the man running the British war from an office in London.

Wonder Woman’s principled optimism shines brightest. “A deal is a promise, and a promise is unbreakable,” she tells Steve after they reach London and he does not immediately take her to the front. This after asking him which way “the war” is, as if the war was someone’s house.

In a trench at the front, Steve chides Diana for wanting to go into No Man’s Land. “We can’t save everyone in this war,” he says. “It’s not what we came here to do.”

“No,” Diana says, “But it’s what I’m going to do.” Then Diana steps into the maelstrom and does it. That moment she walks up that ladder best exemplifies her character, one of grace, power, and bright spirit that made Wonder Woman a favorite for seven-plus decades.

Villain (5/10)

Wonder Woman‘s true villain is Ares. The god of war is absent, in the background, for so long that we begin to question Diana’s convictions about his existence. Ares might drive the action, but here he’s relegated to sidekick status for his brief appearance.

Instead I’ll discuss the co-villaincy of General Ludendorff (Danny Huston) and his underling/protege/other half Isabel Maru aka Dr. Poison (Elana Anaya). Ludendorff is Germany’s last believer, the only guy, including the German Chancellor, opposed to the armistice. The soldiers are out of food, energy, and desire. All they need, Ludendorff believes, is a final, terrible weapon, and a little motivation. To remind his men of this, he murders an officer pleading for leniency.

General Ludendorff
General Ludendorff

When you need terrible weapons, you call someone nicknamed Dr. Poison. Maru is more often onscreen with Ludendorff than not, and they both need each other. We first see her in a lab testing a new gas, something that eats gas masks. She’s placed a person, presumably a prisoner of war, into a gas chamber, where she pumps in the gas. The mask corrodes, but not to her liking. More death, and faster, she wants. Ludendorff, too, wants this.

Later, Dr. Poison produces a new gas, one to give strength, and she lets Ludendorff have some vials. The gas acts like crack from the gods, energizing the general and making his face illuminate like an electrical storm. It’s unclear what effect this gas has, but the general loves it.

As Germany inches closer to peace, Dr. Poison perfects her gas. Not only does it corrode masks, it ignites them in a few seconds. Ludendorff orders the gas to full production, and somehow the army soon has hundreds of bombs ready to drop on London.

But first Ludendorff must fix the German side of the peace equation. Several generals meet in a bunker in German High Command. Ludendorff confronts them, sticking to his call for victory. The others stick to peace. Assholes. Only assholes strive for peace.

Ludendorff and Dr. Poison toss a canister of the new gas into the room and seal it, leaving one gas mask for the men. “The mask won’t work,” Poison says. “But they don’t know that,”  Ludendorff chuckles. Taking care of them, the pair returns to an airbase in Belgium or Germany, hard to say which, where they gas a town from the air and prepare the bombing of London.

Dr. Poison/Phantom of the Opera
Dr. Poison/Phantom of the Opera

Now seems like a good time to discuss Dr. Poison’s face accoutrement. She wears three or four flesh-toned pieces of plastic that move with her jaw, all to hide a skin-corroding wound she sustained some time before. We see her real face late in Wonder Woman: part of its left side is missing. It could have been more hideous. Anyone taking the Phantom of the Opera look for themselves needs a horrifying face scar. She didn’t quite get there, but when folks call you Dr. Poison, you get carte blanche with facial adornments.

Diana believes Ludendorff to be Ares. The film sets him up that way. He’s not, but that doesn’t stop him from thinking it. “War is a god that requires human sacrifice,” he says to Diana late in the film. He believes she knows nothing of the gods. Bold statement. Turns out he’s the one who knows nothing.

These two were fine for their roles as distracting villains. Wonder Woman will stand as a feminist icon for some time, but it’s worth considering how the movie frames the most brilliant chemist in Germany, perhaps the world, as a woman. “I believe in you,” Ludendorff tells Dr. Poison after the latter curses the loss of her notebook of formulae.

Action/Effects (5/10)

For a movie nearly 2.5 hours, Wonder Woman is light on action scenes. The best and one almost cut from the film occurs at the western front, when Diana wrecks a village called Veld overrun with Germans. It’s her coming out party.

As Steve’s gang and Diana reach the front, Diana sees suffering everywhere and demands to help. Steve, as is his wont, ushers her on to the next thing. She agrees reluctantly, until they reach the trench.

The Brits in that regiment have fought Germans from that trench for a year. A YEAR. Diana hears calls for help from a woman saved from the village. Her people are starving, and many are taken into slavery by the Germans. Diana cannot deal with this news. Steve doesn’t want to help, at least not directly. He wants to go around the trenches. machine gun

Diana is not afraid of a few machine gun bullets. She dons Antiope’s head band, drops her fur, and walks up a ladder. Hair’s down/shield’s out. The camera is careful to capture her shield, her lasso, and her gauntlets, all in slow motion, as Diana steps into No Man’s Land. It’s the single moment, more than any other, when Diana becomes Wonder Woman.

Some Germans a hundred yards away are paying attention. They shoot their rifles at her. One bullet arcs through the air. Diana swats it as if it were a fly. The other entrenched Germans  take note of a person trying to cross the battlefield. All the the rifles open up. Diana runs to them, deflecting many bullets. They drop shells upon her. Diana’s shield blocks them into the dirt to explode harmlessly. The lone machine gun opens up, and that pins her back a moment behind her shield.

While these Germans shoot at her, Steve and his gang realize she’s drawn enemy fire and leap into No Man’s Land. They kill some Germans. Chief lobs a grenade into the trench to kill more. The remainder of the British regiment charges. Diana’s seen enough. She does a Big Jump into the trench, shoving back two men and smashing the machine gun.

The village of Veld in sight, Diana leads them on. Steve and company are behind her. Diana sprints through the village, blocking another machine gun burst with her shield. She leaps onto a brick wall and into the second floor. Some dudes are there. She takes a moment to survey the scene before kicking a table into one of them and going into her Themyscira-patented slide kicks. Her shin guards make sparks fly on the wooded floor. Try doing that once in your life. The last dude she knees through a wall.sword slide

Diana runs along the rooftop and into another big room. More slide kicks. The camera deftly follows her as she twirls through the air to kick out three successive soldiers.

Steve and the gang work on the ground level. He gets a cool moment when he jams his shotgun butt into the ground to cock it. Chief hurls a few grenades into a gate. Steve shoots them to explode a hole into the town square.

Diana’s already there. A tank is terrorizing the area. Diana shoulder charges it onto its side like she’s a damn rhino busting a Land Rover. She draws out the fiery lasso and whips every soldier in her vicinity. Finally, a sniper in the church tower scatters the heroes. Diana shepherds villagers into buildings. Steve, Chief, and Sameer lift a metal husk from the tank. Diana gets the idea and leaps onto it and high into the air, streaking toward the tower. She smashes it to smithereens, saving the village, for a while.

This scene excelled for its brevity and its importance in Wonder Woman’s character-making. Director Jenkins fought to keep it in the movie, when studio execs just wanted a cool opening and a big finale. Jenkins understood its importance and was right.

The quintet pose for a photo after the fight that will last a century. In the post-battle euphoria, Diana and Steve dance and make love. Good fun was had by all.

Now, some words about the effects. They were awful. I can’t remember the last movie in which characters fighting were so clearly CGI. I give effects a long leash, but I can’t here. In Themyscira they were most noticeable, especially when warriors were flipping off horses.

Sidekicks (6/8)

Diana knows little about herself or the world outside of Themyscira. She needs a guide to the modern world, and American spy Steve Trevor is that guy.

Steve is a smooth operator. He walked into a German lab and base, stole the notebook of Germany’s chief weapons engineer from practically under her nose, swiped a plane, gunned down a dozen men on the runway, and grenade the weapons facility before outflying the German Navy and crashing in the sea around Themyscira. Guy has stones.

And he’s sensitive. He and Diana have a great exchange about sex outside the bonds of marriage, and Steve mumbles and stumbles over his words like most nervous straight guys would in the company of such a woman as Diana, Princess of Themyscira.pine

Steve serves as cultural ambassador in Britain. He wants her to fit in, but that requires dampening her spirit, femininity, and optimism. He doesn’t want to, but he also wants her to thrive in the western world. He feels the need to protect Diana but slowly learns that she needs no protection. Other way around. She stops a bullet for Steve in London’s streets.

Themyscira is a magical place. If I crashed there and Wonder Woman saved my life I’d feel pretty good about life, as does Steve. Then he has to go back to the real world and the war. Steve’s casual optimism decreases from the moment he leaves Themyscira.

Steve realizes that his world is not one built for women like Diana. She might have the Lasso of Truth, but it’s Steve lassoing Diana. He tries to drag her from meetings and into appropriate clothes. Sometimes Diana’s willing to do what Steve wants, and other times not. Late in the film, Steve tries to prevent her from chasing Ludendorff at a party. “What I do is not up to you,” she says.

Steve’s seen enough of what Diana can do that he knows she’s right, but he can’t shake his sense of masculine duty to protect the fairer sex. Wonder Woman can tackle the physical traits of the male sex; it’s the mental and emotional sides of male kind she can’t fathom. “What kind of weapon kills innocents?” she asks of Germany’s gas weapons. She castigates a British general for sitting safely in London instead of fighting with his troops.

Steve finally learns what Diana’s been on about throughout their time together. War does not have good and bad sides. War is the bad side. Steve admits that maybe all people are bad, and everyone is to blame for war. “I am not,” Diana counters. She’s 100% right.

In the end, Steve makes the ultimate sacrifice. Whoa. Huge moment. His death unlocks the secret of the world to Diana: all that matters is love.

Pine is charmingly inoffensive as Steve, a big softie at heart who got tired of “doing nothing” when the world was going to shit. His stint as a spy is a chance to do something.

Diana’s chief collaborators are the women of Themyscira. What a bunch of badasses these women are. Wright and Nielsen are great as Antiope and Hippolyta. These women were made to bring love a joy into the world, and to be the last line of defense.

Most of the time the movie spends on Themyscira we watch women fighting. They flip backward over horses and shoot arrows into pots. Sword play and punching feature. Clearly, when you’re immortal and spend a few millennia practicing fighting, you will excel at it. If this movie was Themyscira fighting for its lives against the rest of the world…best movie ever. The ladies were that good.

Henchmen (0/8)

Wonder Woman has a stellar first two hours. The final 20 minutes nearly snuffs out the light. It’s time to talk about Ares. Take a moment and consider if this man, David Thewlis, intimidates you.david

No. This is the guy playing the god of war. What were they thinking? Thewlis has exactly the look I’d expect of an English lord circa 1918, a guy who’s lived off land rents as his ancestors had since Magna Carta. They could not find a less physically intimidating person to play the god of war, and I’m insulted they tried. Here’s another picture.thewlis

Can a god be intimidating in other ways? Yes. Thor‘s Loki is scary because he’s smart and manipulative. Hades frightens because he has demons at his command. Ares is THE GOD OF WAR. He is all physical intimidation. Power through strength of arms and brutality. This guy ain’t got it. See what I mean?:david thewlis

No. Stop it. Total failure.

I had Dr. Poison pegged as Ares. She would have worked, I think. A child would have worked. LITERALLY ANYONE ON EARTH would have frightened more than Thewlis, who, in Wonder Woman, resembles a walrus, and walruses are fat blobs born to float and sleep. Nothing scary about them. Finally, here’s a character photo.

David Thewlis as Ares
David Thewlis as Ares

Stunts (4/6)

Wonder Woman is so stuffed with CGI action characters that it’s easy to tell when stunt actors are not being used, even for these untrained eyes of mine. Diana does appear to do some actual slide kicks and flips. Gadot’s got plenty of martial arts training to pull off her stunts. Caitlin Dechelle, who owns black belts in three martial arts, did most of Wonder Woman’s fight work.

Jenkins’s camera shows off the choreography (when it’s there). We aren’t here to fight for fighting’s sake, but to make some art. Let’s see how the fighting is done!

On Themyscira we watch the first shield launch. Antiope leaps off a shield to fly over a rock and kill some invading Germans. In slow motion she’s shown in the air, high above her enemies, one leg straight and the other bent and close to her torso. Her bow points down, and she releases there arrows at once that strike three targets. If you asked a a gymnast to make a fight pose in the the air, it’d look much like this.antiope

I think the fast-slow contrast of fight sequences worked in Wonder Woman. This is Diana’s first time going solo on screen, and we want to see what she can do. However,  I’m concerned that the next five years of action movies will beat this technique to death. That’s not Wonder Woman‘s fault, but look out.

Climax (1/6)

Steve running around in gas masks; bombs on timer on plane; Ares wear minotaur armor; Ares uses shrapnel to attack; D knocked back at some point and helped by S who tells something we don’t hear;

It’s bad, folks. If not for the goodwill built throughout the previous two hours, Wonder Woman would have stunk like the corpses rotting in No Man’s Land.

Diana, riding a horse, back flips off of it and over two layers of razor wire to infiltrate the German airbase. She sword slashes a few guards and lassos another off the control tower. Next thing we know she’s facing Ludendorff. They trade some blows, the general enhanced by Dr. Poison’s gas.

'Bout to side kick Ludendorff through the wall
‘Bout to side kick Ludendorff through the wall

Eventually the general ends up on the roof of the tower. Diana leaps through it, lassos Ludendorff, and whip cracks him into the air as she lands on the roof. He crashes down, she cites the mission of the Amazons, and plunges the sword through him.

Diana takes a moment to savor victory. It is short-lived. The war continues. The gas is still being loaded onto a plane. Steve and his merry thieves continue their work below. Diana is confused. Ares is dead. Unless…unless he’s not.

The real Ares shows up. It’s Sir Patrick Morgan, who spent much of the film arguing for the armistice. Turns out he wants the armistice so the powers can build up some better weapons and kill each other again. Take a bathroom break, folks, because Ares is about to bloviate on the weakness of humans for a few minutes.

Meanwhile, on the ground, Steve and his buddies run around, disguised in gas masks. They learn that a four engine plane will fly dozens of gas bombs to London to kill the British capital. The bombs are on a timer, so stopping the plane will not work; the bombs will still explode and kill everyone in 50 square miles. Steve, after some fighting and final words to Diana, gives her his watch and boards the plane.

This final battle with Ares really drags. Ares yaks about power, human weakness, and more for much too long. The world would look prettier without humans. Diana listens, says little. She’s working things out in her head, and that’s a problem. We need action from her.

Ares and Diana hurl trucks and tanks and shrapnel and concrete at each other. Diana uses her lasso to block a dozen pieces of metal thrown at her but can’t stop the god from enveloping her with iron bands. Diana is forced to watch the film’s most heart-wrenching scene.

Up in the sky, Steve has taken control of the plane. There’s only one way to save the day. He draws his handgun, calms himself with deep breaths, laughs a bit at situation, and explodes the gas.

Diana, enraged, bursts from her bonds and zips through dozens of German soldiers. Ares loves this, thinking he’s won her to his side. He brings out Dr. Poison to for Diana to smash, arguing that she is the perfect example of humanity. Diana gives the idea some thought. She thinks back to what Steve told her before boarding the plane. “I can save today,” he said, “you can save the world.” And also, “I love you.” Diana tosses aside the tank. “I believe in love.”

Lock those gauntlets together and you get POWER
Lock those gauntlets together and you get POWER

Ares sees that he won’t sway Wonder Woman, so he goes for the final blast of blue energy that gods can summon. Diana locks those gauntlets together, accepts the energy, and turns it back to Ares, killing the final god, and with a smirk. The age of Greek gods ends. So does the war. But will it be the final war?

Jokes (3/4)

Finally, some jokes! DC movies seemed to average one laugh per film from Batman and Robin through Suicide Squad. That’s about 20 years and nine films. Cheer us up a bit, why don’t ya?

Someone did. Wonder Woman is genuinely funny in its midsection. Diana needs modern English clothes when she arrives in London. She meets Etta Candy (Lucy Davis), Steve’s secretary, a job that sounds much like slavery to Diana. Davis is a delight in her very few scenes. She threatens German spies with Diana’s sword.

Diana tries on 226 outfits at a London department store until she settles upon the best one for fighting, a trench coat and hat ensemble that resembles Steve’s getup. Georgian English fashions look silly no matter the context, but after 45 minutes of Amazonian form-fitting battle wear the fashions deserve scorn.

Doing some shopping for women's armor
Doing some shopping for women’s armor

Diana has no idea how to act in the world. Sexism is a foreign concept to her (and to most of the men at the time), so when she’s denigrated for her sex she doesn’t recognize it as such. She enters key Parliament meetings, draws stares, and shrugs it off with a “What?” gesture as Steve tries to hurry her out.

She mocks dancing, calling it swaying, and snow frightens her at first. In such moments I always recall the best statements of Phil Hartman playing Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer on Saturday Night Live. “Your world frightens and confuses me,” he says, without sounding much frightened or confused. Always funny.

Thank goodness for these comedic moments, because later the Germans start gassing villagers.

Setting (3/4)

Themyscira, coursing with waterfalls, green vines, light stone walls, and surrounded by a this-ain’t-a-wine-dark turquoise sea is the freshest breath of air seen in any Warner Brothers-made DC Comics movie. Period.

Themyscira
Themyscira

Since Warner kicked off its DC Extended Universe with 2013’s Man of Steel, its films have been besot with bleak, bland, blasted hellscapes in which their generational characters battle. Superman fights Zod in a wasted Metropolis. Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman fight Doomsday in a identically wasted Metropolis (or Gotham, I can’t tell), this time at night. The Suicide Squad fights in a Midway City overrun by aliens or demons or whatever. France’s No Man’s Land looks much the same, but at least the men there wear period costume, grounding the land in time if not place.

Compare these setting aesthetics with DC’s chief rival, the cats over at Marvel. The MCU has built/is building a combined universe of Earth and fantasy realms. Colors abound. Asgard is gold where it’s not a rainbow bridge. Chris Pratt’s Star-Lord has red eyes on his mask. Iron Man is a LeBron James fan, witness the wine and gold suit. Green Hulk and Thor’s red cape fight in actual Manhattan. Captain America battles Hydra on a sky carrier above actual Washington D.C.

DC tried to emulate the bleak worldview of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy. They ignored a key aspect of those settings: Nolan made those movies in real cities. Zach Snyder’s Gotham is a CGI amalgamation of skyscrapers. Nolan’s Gotham was made on the streets of Chicago and Pittsburgh. Nolan eschewed special effects for real locations, and the difference shows.

That’s why Themyscira is such a relief to see in a DC movie. Shot in areas of southern Italy’s Campania region, the island paradise is a somewhat real place. That’s real seawater and real stone outcroppings. Real sun shining on the goats, longhorns, armadillos, and pheasants of the island. Such delights!

Wonder Woman might never return to Themyscira, but thank Zeus we, like Steve Trevor, got to see it once. Unfortunately, most of the movie is set elsewhere, and it’s grim. Diana says as much when she sails down the Thames. Steve welcomes her to London. “It’s hideous,” she says. It sure is.

The front’s worse. No Snyder-style crud wipe was needed to make the trenches into hell. That’s how it was, as yellow as mustard gas. We spend only enough time there for Wonder Woman to do her thing. A local village is not the bombed-out husk it would be in 25 years after the Second World War got a hold of it. After Diana saves it, they break out the beer and song.

These grim locales are Diana’s first taste of the regular world, and after spending so much time on Themyscira with her, we understand her distaste.

Commentary (2/2)

Wonder Woman is about as rich as superhero movies come with messages. A legendary comic character, Wonder Woman had a popular TV show in the 1970s, but she waited and waited for her own movie. Batman had a TV show before her. Batman appeared in SEVEN live-action, solo films. LEGO Batman made it to theaters before Diana got her solo shot. Hell, even Catwoman had a solo movie first.

Well, it was worth the wait. Other immortals might fail around her, but Wonder Woman is a beacon of hope, strength, and conviction in a world gone mad with war. Wonder Woman inspires everyone around her. The failed Scottish marksman Charlie sings for the first time in years. Steve falls in love with her, telling her that he can save the day, but she can save the world.

Diana proves this on the battlefield. When she charges the German line to reach the village, she is pinned down by machine gun fire, hunkering behind her shield and absorbing all the bullets. Wonder Woman did not need to do this. She can jump thirty feet high, and the guns don’t point up. She draws the gunfire to instill courage in the other men. It’s about teamwork and making people hope and love. Could Wonder Woman win the war for either side? Almost certainly. Should she? Not if she wants to achieve her goals.

Wonder Woman is the second straight Chris Pine movie with Native American character and theme, specifically how Pine’s white ancestors defeated and sublimated Native American culture. This idea is not explored, only stated.

Offensiveness (0/-2)

The offensive parts of Wonder Woman are the stares, advances, and admonishments women deal with in the 1918 world. (And the 2018 world. Will it ever end?) For someone who’s never seen a man until Steve crashes in the sea near her backyard, Diana handles these men with aplomb. The horniest guy is a Frenchmen (of course), and Diana’s got no time for his merde. Men go insane when they see Diana standing in a room of parliamentary discussion. Begrudgingly she walks out.

Steve spends most of the film’s middle trying to herd Diana to and fro. She’s got to go with him to drop off Maru’s notebook. She’s got to stay outside the parliamentary meeting. She’s got to leave the general alone. She can’t kill people in German High Command. On and on he goes, trying not to rock the boat.

Each time Diana ignores him and each time Steve accepts that he was in the wrong. He’s so accustomed to keeping women on the sidelines that he can’t help himself.

Others

  • Love and ice cream, the only things Diana likes about our world.
  • The credits track is the sickest beat on screen in 2017.
  • (1) I haven’t seen all the movies. Nevertheless, I state categorically that Wonder Woman is the best and most popular movie in history in which a character uses the word “foreordinance.”
  • (1) Wonder Woman is not the first female-led superhero movie, but it is the most successful and will be remembered as the most important up until its release.

Summary (41/68): 60%

Wonder Woman is a breath of fresh, Greek air in the oh-so-grim DC Extended Universe. The about-est about face possible after the bleak and depressing Suicide Squad, Diana is a woman to cheer for with total commitment, a character to love, and that’s the strongest weapon yet known.