This was Wonder Woman's first time being in a movie about herself. How was her first solo film outing? Pretty shaky I’m afraid. I really wanted to like this movie. Wonder Woman was probably my most anticipated movie for 2017 just because of the potential it had. Hearing how the director spoke about her history with wanting to direct a superhero movie, and Gal Gadot just being a perfect fit with the character, it seemed like the stars were aligned for this movie to be great. As I watched the movie, my high expectations were not met and I had one constant thought throughout the movie, “I’m bored”.
There is a lot to like in Wonder Woman. The movie lightly touches on things like PTSD and politics but it never goes deeper than a surface level acknowledgement. This in itself is fine but just acts as an example of the movie overall. I think the easiest movie that you can try to compare it with is Captain America: The First Avenger. Both movies revolve around a major war with the hero making a difference in both instances. Where the movies start to differ is overall structure and how they convey information to the audience. In Wonder Woman, the movie starts you off with exposition as it should. Giving you backstory to the character and the word that she knows. The only problem with this is that it is boring. You have characters verbally tell you things instead of showing like movies should. Plus, that world she knows and you are introduced to is irrelevant 15 minutes later. You don’t form the emotional bonds it wants you to and it feels a little rushed and empty. The first Captain America movie shows Steve Roger having to get help with a fight, trying to enlist but failing. It shows you the struggle, it doesn’t tell you about it. That struggle persists and is a key factor of the movie for the first quarter of the movie. Wonder Woman’s view of man’s world is also consistent but is to generic to be considered influential to the story.
Wonder Woman also has the added problem of having way too much slow motion. Worse than having too much slow motion is also the problem of having slow motion for things that don’t even need it. For example, there are slow motion shots of people just jumping in the air. That does nothing for an audience member. The character jumped in the air, not to dodge something, they are not being hit or hitting anything, just jumping in the air. Sometimes the audience just needs to see the action played out on real time to get the sense of how quick an action was or just to take in the combat. If you slow down all of the combat, then it just feels slow. Captain America: The First Avenger has less combat in its movie but feels more action packed. Wonder Woman also has the added problem of the Taken effect or the Jason Bourne effect. The practice of having the combat be really up close and shaky so you can't really see what is happening. The main problem with this is that the effect only happens when the combat is not in slow motion.
From a structure standpoint Wonder Woman is very different than most other comic book movies as well, but to its detriment. In other movies you get to see the villain and build them up to have more weight for when they confront the hero, but Wonder Woman doesn’t do that. You know from the start who the villain is but since you don’t actually meet him until the end, it kinda just feels boring. Even the fight with the final villain was boring and wasn’t fun to watch.
There can be an argument made about how the movie is more of a personal story. The commentary about that new world discovery for a person. But that has been done before, and other movies have done it better.
Overall Wonder Woman was not the movie I was hoping it to be, but was probably the movie I deserved. My faith in The DCEU has been completely shattered and there is probably nothing that can fix it. All my hopes lie with the animation division of DC and recently that hasn’t been going well either. Chris Pine was funny, just a side note.