Okay, here’s my review, filled with spoilers, of course:
I loved this movie. I’ve been waiting my whole life for this movie. Okay, the concept of a Wonder Woman movie, because no film is worth waiting an entire lifetime for, but seeing Diana on the big screen? About damned time!
I’m a person who when told there’s bad news and good news, wants the bad news first because the good news can lift me up. So, let’s get to the negatives first and get them out of the way for the numerous positives.
1) The dark photography. This doesn’t apply to London or the battlefield scenes, because darkness there is appropriate. I’m talking about Themyscira. They did manage to evoke the beauty and peace of the place, but it still came across as drab. There should have been a starker contrast between Themyscira and London. There should be more color, more joy. Why are 21st-century people so afraid of bright colors?
2) Zeus. Argh! I hated this retconning of Diana’s origin in the Nu52 and am aggravated that it continued in the movie while the comics are busy dumping this. Originally Hippolyta was directed by Aphrodite to form Baby Diana out of clay and the Goddesses breathed life into her, not some randy male god. Also, it’s strange to see the Amazons with no Goddesses (or Gods) to worship, because they are all dead except for Ares.
3) The World War I setting. I am definitely old school on this as I greatly prefer the World War II setting (and it’s Diana’s canon Golden Age origin), but I can see why they switched the wars: since Ares was the main villain (as in the 2009 animated movie), The War To End All Wars fits better. Despite atrocities on both sides in World War II, that war might be the closest we’ll ever get to a ‘just war’ with clear-cut choices as to which side is the worse one.
With World War I, you have unending horror and death and no clear-cut reason why the war is even happening. You could say that after the assassination of Austrian Archduke Ferdinand and his wife in 1914, the tangle of alliances brought countries into a war for a reason they really didn’t care about, but the alliances had to be honored. And for years, Europe’s great powers had been pouring money into new weapons of war. Boys have to play with their toys, right?
The World War I could have been a tie-in into the Women’s Suffrage Movement at the time, but that was referenced only in passing, and during World War II, women were doing jobs only men had done in the past because the manpower shortage at home was so critical. They worked in the factories (Rosie the Riveter) and entered the four branches of the military to serve (WACs, WAVES, WAAFs, and Women Marines). So the switch to World War I was more tied to Ares than Women’s Suffrage.
4) Steve never called Diana ‘Angel’. A pity, but this Steve seemed a little less romantic than his comics counterpart, perhaps more hardened by what he’d seen and done in the war.
5)Yep, as a lifelong Steve/Diana fan, I mourn the loss of Steve, but expected it as it would have been difficult to continue their romance as decades passed. Still, it’s a shame that he and Etta can’t be part of the present.
6) The final battle with Ares was just another excuse to use CGI, but at least it was short, unlike the interminable fight between Superman and Zod in Man Of Steel.
Now for the squee! :)
1) The origin was well done, and the Amazons were peace-loving women who trained for war, just as WW’s creator William Moulton Marston envisioned.
2) The First Meeting between Diana and Steve stuck to canon, as in Steve’s plane crashed and Diana rescued him. The invading Germans were a new twist for the film only, but the joy of Diana and Steve’s first interaction made up for any tweaks. In the comics it was Love At First Sight. Ordinarily I prefer a build-up for a couple (friends first, some time to get to know each other, etc.) but for this couple, it always worked. Diana’s mythological background made the trope genuine. I think it was still here in this film, though neither one realized it. There was an instant connection between them, though love wasn’t acknowledged until later.
3) Ha, some beefcake for the female gaze (and male!) as Diana walks in on a naked Steve. Nice turnaround of the usual trope of the man walking in on the naked female, so I liked that.
4) Steve and Diana’s relationship throughout the movie: the boat trip to London (with Steve being a gentleman), the London experience, the battle scenes, the romantic evening in Veld, the ball, and the climactic battle. Steve buying Diana ice cream and her delight in this new food, and her first snowfall as Steve delights in her delight. :) All so beautifully done!
5) The battle scenes. Okay, the Ares one was kind of boring, but the scene in which Diana goes ‘over-the-top’ and leads her team and the soldiers against the Germans through No Man’s Land was exciting and inspiring. Her heroics (and the team’s) in the village. The use of the Golden Lasso and Bullets ‘N’ Bracelets. “Diana, shield!” So, so good. This Patty Jenkins is a pretty good director, huh?
6) Diana could not understand how Steve and his men could walk past all those people in need from the village, but she has an abundance of compassion. She did not realize that Steve and the team had to keep to the Mission, with even more lives at stake. They also were keeping their sanity by putting on blinders as much as possible. After years of trench warfare, they had to develop a protective armor.
7) The lighter scenes as Diana learns about women’s fashions in 1918 England. Etta! Etta should have had more scenes in this movie. Loved her comment about the sword not going with Diana’s outfit. :) The Clark Kent glasses! And it was cool to see Diana saving Steve from a bullet in the alley, echoing Christopher Reeve’s Clark saving Lois in Superman I. She should have kept the glasses. People automatically assume someone wearing glasses is smart, and Diana would fit that image with her command of languages, which surprised the stuffy old British pols.
8) The use of chemical weapons, which is historically correct, as World War I saw the use of mustard gas and other deadly weapons. Dr. Poison was a twisted, pathetic person whose evil matched Ludendorff’s (witness their test of the poison on a prisoner and the death of the German High Command, with the gas mask thrown in for more giggles).
9) The supporting team was all stand-out in their individuality, each with their own monsters to wrestle: Sam, Charlie, and Chief. They could give Steve Rogers’ Howling Commandoes a run for their money.
10) After Diana kills Ludendorff, the war continues. This could have been interesting if One) Ludendorff had been Ares and the war continued or Two) Ludendorff had not been Ares and the war continued, and Ares never appeared. Both scenarios would have shocked Diana as it meant that men were at war under no influence from Ares. As it was, she was still shaken to her core as Ares appeared and said he had not forced them to do anything, merely provided them with the weapons of war, and they did the rest. Gal Gadot did a great job of showing the naïve Diana’s shattering as she realizes the truth. Throughout the film we see Steve admiring her naivete but knowing she’s heading for a fall, and gently trying to prepare her (Good twist for the Ares reveal, BTW. I thought something was a little off about Sir Patrick. And now we know why Sir Patrick was so distracted upon seeing Diana, not because she was a beautiful woman, but because he recognized the Godkiller!).
11) The balance of Steve as an Edwardian-era man openly admiring Diana’s superior strength and skills (straight out of the comics, especially the Golden and Bronze Ages) while still instinctively trying to protect her in certain moments. He probably was one of those men who supported Women’s Suffrage. He never spoke about his mother, but she could have been deceased or not around.
12) The bittersweet ending. While I would prefer Steve alive, it’s a chance for a heroic death and Diana’s reaction instead of waiting for an older Steve in the sequel (perhaps during World War II) or just growing old and dying of natural causes, though that’s not a bad idea. As it is, their relationship in movie canon lasted less than a week, and now Diana has an eternity to mourn, but the death was well done, helping her to tap into her natural forgiveness and love.
13) Steve giving Diana his father’s watch, which she treasures still, and Bruce sending her the one photograph she has of Steve. Will we see more of her memories in the sequel?
14) Steve’s battle-hardened cynicism was a good contrast to Diana’s naivete, but she gained her own eye-opening while he loved her enough to say, “I love you!” after all.
15) Diana’s theme music. It’s haunting and exciting! Too bad Hollywood likes to put the credits at the end these days. A theme like that could really get the blood going at the beginning of the movie! :)
So, yeah, I LOVED THIS MOVIE! It was everything I’d hoped for: a good story, great Steve/Diana moments, Diana being kick-ass and compassionate, and saving the DCEU’s bacon critically and at the box office. Leave it to a woman! Great Hera! :)
This entry has been cross-posted from Dreamwidth. Comment on either entry as you wish. :)