I saw Wonder Woman Thursday night and I will start off by saying Warner Brothers pulled a rabbit out of the hat. The metaphor fits in more than one way. But in this case it is about going back to old school. Rabbit out of the Hat is a classic magic trick for the ages. This film may not quite be one for the ages, but it is done in classic style.
This movie did something that so many films today fail to do. They decided to go back to the timeless idea that a good movie should always tell us a good story. Storytelling is a lost art in Hollywood these days, what with all the explosions, fake blood, super aliens, and wise cracks, that allow a good movie to get away with a wobbly story. But a great movie can not be great without at least a solid B+ story.
Patty Jenkins gives us simple, but well thought out story and presents it with emotion, humor, superpowers, explosions, and of course bloodthirsty Germans, gotta have that right 😉 Wonder Woman doesn’t try too hard to be all things, like Batman v Superman did. We all know how well that worked out. No, Warner Brothers went to the age-old well of storytelling that all of us have always enjoyed dating back to our earliest memories. “Hey Grandpa, tell me story about the olden days…”
And so they did. They went back a hundred years so grandpa had to tell a story that his grandma told him, methinks. This did not need to be a super hero movie featuring one of the greatest of all comic book characters to be good. The story was good. This is a period piece and WB did an excellent job of immersing us in the WWI era. Industrial Age London comes alive with reasonable period costumes and all the modern trickery that made the city of London look like that smelly, smokey shit hole it was in 1917.
The story they give us, was well done, not fantastic, not the greatest ever told, but a solid well spun tale. While telling us a story about the malleable soul of man and the nature of what we are, we also get a story about a great war with a decent bit of historical value, and a diabolical plot by a powerful antagonist. We get a nice twist in the story and a villain we don’t expect. We get some superhero kick ass, we get a little Shakespearian drama, we get a fair amount of funny, and Patty Jenkins pulls off making Wonder Woman look so epic all the time. Just standing there she looks like a boss.
This was a really great story. I am not certain why they went to WWI instead of WWII but that’s OK because I was getting a little tired of all the Nazis over there in the Marvel Universe. A little classic ‘Kaiser’ was a nice change of villainous scenery.
As I predicted in the last article, Ms. Gadot delivers. She has it all, the class, the grace, the style, and when needed the ultimate bad ass complete with a full shot of intense. She is regal and she is a frickin’ boss on the battlefield. What the hell more do we need than that?
Chris Pine continues to impress me. He plays the same character in this film as he does in Star Trek and he even has the same rank 😉 But he gives us a fine performance as the mortal hero to contrast our demigod title character.
At the end of the film I did feel they made her just a tick too powerful. My beef with Superman has always been that he is basically God and of course they created Kryptonite to give him a weakness. Diana gets a little too close to the Kryptonians on the power meter, but that is a minor issue that is quite forgivable.
I would ask you to sit through the entirety of the movies long credit roll so you can see the epic Bruce Wayne after credit scene, but there isn’t one so stay if you want. If the 42oz soda is calling you to the restroom, it’s safe to go, I stayed and there was no after credit scene.
My friends this film isn’t the best superhero movie, but what I really like about it is the storytelling; this is great storytelling. The movie had some holes and they probably left some stuff on the cutting room floor that should have been left in. With a 2:21 running time though, I understand the cuts. We are left with a nice clean origin story in a historical context, and all the great superhero stuff needed for a great superhero movie.
This is the best DC movie ever made not featuring the Bat. DC is back and they mean business. Sure, there are many little gripes I could write about, but I won’t, because I left the theater with a buzz like I did when I was ten years old and grandma spun a wild yarn about the olden days. Hollywood needs to give us a lot more movies like this.
(dedicated to my paternal grandmother who did indeed spin wild yarns of yesteryear to a wide-eyed little grandson and later on a young adult grandson. Esther Sager – 1897-1992)