David: Today, we’re discussing the new DC Comics film Wonder Woman starring Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, and is directed by Patty Jenkins (Monster). This is the fourth film in the DC Comics Universe after Man of Steel, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Suicide Squad. We are treated to the story of Diana as she grows up on the island of Themyscira, and how she becomes involved in WWI.
Now Shannon, I know we have very different levels of comic book knowledge in regards to Wonder Woman. What were your initial impressions of the movie?
Shannon: Being a superhero movie, it had all the aspects that I expected: explosions, fighting, something that makes the main character “super,” and kick-ass costumes. Not knowing anything about Wonder Woman - other than the fact that she was a superhero - I enjoyed learning the background of her childhood and how she came to be who she is, which I believe that the film did well. I thought the movie had just enough humor, and though the run time was a bit long I didn’t really notice because the storyline was fluid throughout and the scenes didn’t feel like they were dragged out at all.
What were your first impressions?
David: Let’s be clear here - I didn’t like this movie at all. I loved this movie. I thought there was a terrific blend of all the elements that make a superhero story great. There was a great amount of action, and I have to state this - though DC’s movies tend to be dark and grey, nobody has done a better job at portraying super powered beings in action than them. There is so much to watch on screen as Diana jumps and kicks and fights her way through entire towns. It’s tremendously entertaining.
Not only was I impressed with the action, but I actually liked how they made an origin story feel new and exciting. To date, we’ve witnessed dozens of origin stories since the early 2000s - Thor, Captain America, X-Men, Spiderman (twice), etc. But I don’t think we’ve ever seen one that is so encompassing of the magic of a character (and I liked Dr. Strange, who is all about magic). Gal Gadot dives into the character and sells both her struggles and her lightness, her gentle humor and her regalness.
Speaking of the humor, Chris Pine is damn funny in this. He’s a pretty understated actor most the time, and he holds his own well throughout the film. There are the moments of humor derived from Diana’s combined knowledge of the world, and yet complete ignorance of it, but there are also other moments where he is simply funny on his own. He also sells the action hero thing here once more, which he has done in The Finest Hours and Star Trek. The one thing I will say is that the film has a definitive Captain America feel for a while - but what is exciting is when Wonder Woman truly hits the battlefield, there is very little you feel she can’t do.
Which brings me to my next point - we’ve watched a large collection (200 movies and counting) of movies for DFP, including some as mentioned before like Dr. Strange, that heavily feature some magical elements. What did you think of the choice to place Diana in world seemingly drawn away from some of the elements of magic, at least until the end of the film?
Shannon: I mean I wouldn’t say I’ve thought too much about it since it’s a superhero and all, and from what I can tell that’s a pretty normal scenario. As you mentioned, the film had a bit of a Captain America feel to it, but I would only think that because of the time period that this was in. This aspect, along with pretty much the whole movie for me, comes back to the fact that it is based off a comic book, which I know nothing about. I did like the backstory (why she was placed on the Earth and where she came from) and it was fully entertaining watching Diana go through the war like she thought it was all behind a magical God. So all in all I think it worked out very well.
Honestly, I didn’t see that end coming. I thought what Chris Pine’s character thought. I think it was a good one though. Finally seeing the magical side of things in the end of the movie, Diana accepting who she really is, etc. There is one thing I have to say about this scene, and it’s not a complaint by any means, just an observation. That end explosion was… big. Perhaps too big, but I guess there were big explosions the entire film so they just HAD to make it the biggest since it was the end.
Did you notice this? Everything about this film was BIG.
David: I loved the ending. I liked it and I loved it and I thought it was great. The final “Boss Fight” if you will was great. I think that Ares had a great motivation set, and I thought that Diana’s reactions to everything that was occurring was exactly what I would have in mind. I liked the big explosion too - because it needed to be. We’re not talking about people on earth here - we’re talking about literal gods. They could decimate the earth in their totally if they simply wished it. And, that is something that this movie showed me about Man of Steel - that superpowered beings have intense collateral damage if they are inexperienced with their powers. I can’t wait to see more of Diana and Clark in the same film together.
There was also a quiet, unspoken love story that took place in this film as well. What did you think of Pine and Gadot’s chemistry? I thought they were terrific together, and I thought that director Patty Jenkins allowed us to draw our own conclusions. Essentially, no one “kissed and told”.
Shannon: I thought they did well together and both played the role well. Diana never seeing a man before, Steve crashing onto her island not knowing what is going on or who this woman is. I loved it and I felt like the character development was parallel with each other. Not so happy with how it ended (you know what I mean) but it had to happen for the sake of the story, I know.
What did you think of the supporting characters? Steve’s secretary was the best in my opinion. I also enjoyed the three men that they brought with them on their journey to the front. Their reactions to her going out into battle for the first time was priceless. And then there’s the chemist. Oh I love chemistry, but that B was something huh?
David: Honestly I thought the side characters were good and funny. I’m interested if there was a longer cut where we may have learned a bit more about them. Along with that, I thought that the portrayal of Dr. Poison and the associated general was good, but not great. She was absolutely batty - but wasn’t really in enough of the film to make a difference. I know that her creation drove the plot and the ending, but I wasn’t necessarily convinced of her badness.
However, considering that the comics go kinda crazy with her story…. I won’t spoil anything in case she is featured in future WW films, but check it out!
Ok, I think I’ve ranted about this movie long enough. Shannon, what is your final grade?
Shannon: Wonder Woman gets a “Loved It” from me, David. I felt like all the aspects of the movie were just perfect and not overly done like in a lot of superhero movies. I actually think I may end up going to the theaters to see it again… which I never do. And I know it will be in my personal collection once it’s out on DVD/Blu-Ray. How about your rating?
David: Wonder Woman is wonderful, and gets a hard “A” from me. Thanks for joining us everyone!
David and Shannon write about movies.