We are just three days away from the release of the highly anticipated Wonder Woman 1984. The film will premiere both in theaters and on HBOMax for streaming starting this friday at 12:00 pm EST; I can’t wait!
In anticipation for the film I wanted to review the first Wonder Woman film, also directed by the brilliant Patty Jenkins and released in 2017.
Gal Gadot: I must confess that back in 2013 when her casting was announced I was very much a hater. I didn’t see her as Wonder Woman! Even when she made her debut in Batman v Superman I had my doubts. Her performance in this first solo film as the character though had me eating my words.
In this movie Gadot got to play a much more naive version of the heroine who had not yet known what the world of mankind was like. She was able to bring that version of Diana to life without it coming off ditzy, dumb, or annoying. Her innocence was genuine and despite her view of the world it didn’t diminish her power. Instead, her idealist interpretation of what the world could be withouth the influence of Ares was often inspiring.
I often say that rewatchability is a big factor for how I score movies. Wonder Woman is one of those DC projects I can revisit many times (and likely will again Friday morning), but even more than that it has scenes that I want to see again on Youtube every once in a while.
The particular moment that I realized Gal Gadot was Diana was when she interupts the men discussing the front and the potential casualties. She stands up to them and calls them cowards. She tells them true leaders die on the battlefield with their soldiers. How she stood her ground, with compassion and strength simultaneously, made it click into place; this is Wonder Woman.
Aside from her ability to bring the character to life she also delivered on the action…
No Man’s Land: First off I will say this scene could have done without Chris Pine’s “This is No Man’s Land, meaning no MAN can cross it…” We get it. No man can do it but this WOMAN can. It danced the border of pandering but I quickly got over it for what came next.
It’s the first scene in the film we get to she her in her complete suit. She steps onto that dead and gray field with that burst of color dodging the bullets. It’s spectacular! We saw it in the trailer, but seeing her dig her feet into the dirt while she’s taking all that fire against her shield is just- chef’s kiss.
Her fight scenes for the rest of this sequence are beautiful, kickass, and so much fun to watch.
Message: Now, my favorite scene in the entire movie is not an action scene. It’s the scene that made this one of my top three favorite DC movies of all time. After Diana kills who she believes to be Ares she notices that all the men are still fighting and preparing to kill innocent people. Her veil of innocence is shattering and she is recognizing that her oversimplification, no matter how magically valid, is not enough to explain the ways of mankind.
Steve Trevor has a raw moment with her and lays it out; people do terrible things- himself included! Maybe they’re all responsible. All people are capable of horrors. It’s a choice and these choices of terror were made by mankind and continue to be! It cannot be as simple as just calling someone an evil person or a good person. We all float within the middle and our choices determine how the scales will balance. Powerful scene and what comic book movies are about.
Chemistry: While on the subject of Chris Pine… His chemistry with Gal Gadot in this moving is spectacular. The boat scene discussing desires of the flesh? Hysterical.
They were able to solidfy such a believable bond between them that by the end when it came time for Steve’s death, it was all the more impactful and brought the film’s message full circle. Now, about the rest of that third act though…
Third Act: There is no denying that the weakest part of this movie would have to be it’s third act. Was it the worst thing I’ve ever seen? By no means! Yet, it certainly didn’t feel like it fit with the rest of the movie.
Funny enough, Patty Jenkins has recently confirmed that the bombastic climax was actually a last minute demand from the studio- sounds right! We know that Warner has had an infamous track record of sticking their fingers into DCEU creative processes… I would like to believe that moving forward they have learned their lesson…
Overall, Wonder Woman was not just a worthy origin story for the heroine but also was the film the broke DC’s losing streak in film.
I give Wonder Woman an 8 out of 10 potatoes!