Wonder Woman (2017)

Well, it would SEEM that DC has been taking some notes in light of the less-than-perfect reception to their previous entries, particularly ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ (2016) and ‘Suicide Squad’ (2016). I can confidently say that ‘Wonder Woman’ actually feels like a movie, not a hopeful and half-assed hodge-podge of scenes and set-ups for a future shared ‘universe’. I felt that her character and Gal Gadot’s portrayal of her was fine, when she turned up in ‘BvS’ but wasn’t anything I was giddy over seeing in a stand-alone. But inevitably, in DC’s desperate and somewhat foundering drive to compete with Marvel Studios in the whole “Shared Universe’ game, they were going to pump one out…soon. And here we are.
My girlfriend and I have only been to the Drive In once together and it was a totally fun time. She began poking around and saw the a Triple Feature of ‘Wonder Woman’ (which I was curious about), ‘Alien: Covenant’ (seen twice already…but would watch again), and ‘CHiPs’ (which I could give a flying fuck about). So we spat in our palms and sealed the deal with a hearty handshake…Saturday was Drive In Date Night!

*Sidenote – if you’re a movie fan, and you get the opportunity, give the Drive In a go. It’s a fun time and a cool setting. Both times I’ve been now, I couldn’t help but to note a ‘festival’ kind of vibe, with everyone setting up camp in their parking spaces, kids running top and fro, the warm smell of the concession drifting around etc. Getting to throw your car seat back, kick off your shoes, crack some snacks and cuddle up to a loved one (and maybe a tiny dog, as we did) in the dead of night before a huge movie screen is a Good Time.

‘Wonder Woman’ is the origin story for one of DC Comics more known female super heroes. It focus’ on the half-breed demi god Diana (Gal Gadot), daughter of the Queen of the Amazons ‘Hippolyta’ (Connie Nielsen), who rules overs the powerful clan of badass warrior females on the magically-hidden island of Themyscira. We see ‘Diana’ start off as a sheltered but determined kid, who’s fighting potential is noticed by the Amazon general ‘Antiope’ (Robin Wright), who goes against the queen’s wishes and opts to covertly train ‘Diana’ in the art of combat. During a break in her training, she witnesses the crash of a small airplane just off their coast. Diving in to investigate, ‘Diana’ ends up saving American spy ‘Steve Trevor’ (Chris Pine), in disguise as a German pilot and flying an armed German plane. German soldiers soon reveal themselves as they pursue ‘Trevor’ to the beaches of Themyscira. After a grim battle ensues, ‘Diana’ reasons that this war that’s been brought to thier shores MUST be the product of the God of War ‘Ares’; the sworn enemy of the Amazons. When this notion is rebuffed, she sneaks Trevor out and they venture into the theatre of war that was 1918 in search of her target.
‘Wonder Woman’ was good. I can genuinely say that DC MAY now be a contender in this spirited competition with Marvel. However…it’s not GREAT. For one thing, the feeling I’m left with is that it was rushed somehow. It was a simple plot (almost too simple),  but it didn’t need to be all convoluted as hell like ‘BvS’ and ‘SS’. It’s right to the point. Hunt down and stop the God of War in Europe during WW1, while coming into her own as ‘Wonder Woman’. With a couple small side plots aside, that’s basically it, as Main Story Lines go. So that was refreshing. Having said that, I do again have to say that I found there to be a ‘rushed’ feeling going on. There should’ve been more padding on the characters and situations. They kept the pace quick, which I fully understand for a flick of this kind, but it did feel pushed along in places. Considering that this story is about ‘Diana’s first time into the ‘outside’ world, there’s a gold-mine of potential for both action and comedy, not to mention additional ‘fleshing’ of the characters. The quickened pace and abbreviated characterization hurt at least one main story element and that would be the fate of a key character. More depth and interaction would’ve gone a LONG way to solidify the emotional reaction we were SUPPOSED to have when THAT sequence happened.
On a slightly NEGATIVE note, I will say that there were a few times where another couple ‘go arounds’ with some of the CG would’ve been good. Maybe these shots were meant to look cartoony (maybe for the benefit of 3D…which I didn’t see it in), but a couple times I found myself surprised, especially given the $150 million budget, at the cheeziness of a couple scenes.
All in all, ‘Wonder Woman’ was a solid superhero title for DC and I was mostly lightly entertained through the whole 2 hour and 20 minute run-time, without ever really being awe-stricken by what I was seeing. The character of ‘Diana Prince’/’Wonder Woman’ was well-handled on the page and in performance, by Gal Gadot. Chris Pine had good chemistry with her and his character was interesting and fun (though a little ‘more’ would’ve been good too). Robin Wright and Connie Nielsen did what they needed to do as the main Amazons and the ‘bad guys’ were rounded out nicely with effective performances by Danny Huston and Elena Anaya. The action is kinetic and well-presented, in that you can mostly make out what the hell is happening onscreen. The story is simple enough to get you into it and by the end, I was curious to see where DC takes the character and her story. If you’re a comic book fan or a fan of fantasy / action flicks that don’t require much of you as an audience member, then ‘Wonder Woman’ is a safe bet…if not on The Big Screen…then definitely on Netflix on a rainy Sunday afternoon.


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