Wonder Woman (2017)

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

In present day Paris, Diana Prince receives a World War I-era photograph at the Louvre and recalls her childhood. Raised on the island of Themyscira, the land of the Amazons, the child Diana dreams of becoming an Amazonian warrior but her mother Queen Hippolyta forbids it, telling her the story of how Ares the god of war corrupted mankind and killed all the other gods except Zeus. With the last of his strength, Zeus left the Amazons a weapon capable of destroying Ares if he ever returned. Diana nevertheless disobeys her mother and is secretly trained by her aunt Antiope.

As a young woman, Diana rescues pilot Steve Trevor after his plane crashes off the coast of Themyscira. The Amazons engage and kill the German soldiers in pursuit of him, but Antiope dies protecting Diana. Interrogated with the Lasso of Truth, Steve reveals that he is an Allied spy in World War I and has stolen information from a weapons facility in the Ottoman Empire run by German general Erich Ludendorff, whose scientist Doctor Maru is producing a new, deadlier form of mustard gas. Certain that Ares must be responsible for the “war to end all wars,” Diana defies her mother’s orders and leaves Themyscira in search of him with Steve.

In London, Steve delivers Maru’s notes to his superiors at the Imperial War Cabinet, including Sir Patrick Morgan, who is trying to negotiate an armistice with Germany. Steve believes Ludendorff will complete and use the gas regardless of an armistice, and Diana concludes Ludendorff is Ares himself and slaying him will end the war. With Sir Patrick’s blessing, Steve and Diana travel to the front lines to stop Ludendorff, accompanied by Steve’s team: spy Sameer, marksman Charlie, and smuggler Chief. Arriving at the Western Front in Belgium, the group’s progress is halted by enemy trenches, until Diana pushes alone through the German lines, rallying the allied forces behind her to liberate a village from German control. Diana and the team celebrate the freedom of the villagers, and Diana grows close to Steve.

Learning that Ludendorff will attend a gala at a nearby castle, Steve infiltrates the party and is followed by Diana, who intends to kill Ludendorff. Steve stops her to avoid jeopardizing the mission to destroy the chemical stores, and shortly after Ludendorff uses the gas to bomb the nearby village. Diana is devastated that Steve interfered, blaming him for the loss of life. In rage, Diana pursues Ludendorff to a complex where the gas is being loaded into a bomber to attack London. Diana fights and slays Ludendorff, but is stunned when his death does not stop the war. Sir Patrick appears to her, revealing that he is the true Ares; he tells her though he has encouraged them to destroy themselves, humans themselves contain the dark impulse to make war.

As they fight, Ares attempts to convince Diana that humanity does not deserve to be saved, and reveals that she herself is the weapon of Zeus: his last child. As Ares overpowers Diana, Steve hijacks the bomber containing the gas and sacrifices himself to incinerate it at a safe distance. Inspired by Steve’s selflessness and his final words, Diana dedicates herself to defending mankind and summons her power to finally destroy Ares and spare humanity. In London, the team solemnly celebrates the end of the war.

In the present day, Diana writes to Bruce Wayne thanking him for the photograph of her and Steve and reaffirms her mission to keep protecting and guiding mankind

REVIEW:

We’ve had solo films from Green Lantern, Iron Man, Hulk, Captain America, Superman, Batman, etc., but one of the biggest superheroes has been missing from the big screen. Even in the small screen adaptations we don’t get this particular hero. Well, the wait is over, we finally have a solo film for the 3rd member of what was once known as DCs “big 3”. Will Wonder Woman do this character justice, or continue the downward spiral that has been the dark, depressing, DC films?

What is this about?

Before she was Wonder Woman, she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, trained to be an unconquerable warrior. Raised on a sheltered island paradise, when a pilot crashes on their shores and tells of a massive conflict raging in the outside world, Diana leaves her home, convinced she can stop the threat. Fighting alongside man in a war to end all wars, Diana will discover her full powers and her true destiny.

What did I like?

Color. Believe it or not, this is a DC comics film that uses color, rather than just black, gray, and muted variation of what are supposed to be colors. With the exception of Suicide Squad, we haven’t really gotten much in the way of color from these guys. Most of that blame is on Zach Snyder’s head, but it looks like we’re going another direction. Just look at the difference in Wonder Woman’s costume in this film and in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. The design is more or less the same, but the red and blue pop more in this one. Then we have the lush landscape of Themyscira, greens, blues, and other actual colors as far as they eye can see. The scenes in this land are almost like a giant F-U to what has been happening in the DCEU.

On your own. Something that I’ve noticed with DC films, both live action and animated, is that Batman pops up in just about all of them. If he doesn’t then there is an Easter egg related to it, such as a Wayne Enterprise tower, truck, etc., or history is retconned so that he can be there. Well, unless he can go back to World War I, that won’t be the case with this film. Wonder Woman is allowed to stand on her own and become a character we can all love (or hate). Yes, there is a connection to Batman/Bruce Wayne, but that is part of the connecting arc DC is trying to do in making (rushing) the cinematic universe they are building.

War. The comparisons to Captain America: The First Avenger cannot be avoided. Major superhero who hasn’t been brought to the big screen because everyone thought they would be too cheesy. Film is set in wartime. Hero is helped by team of military mercenaries. Do we see the pattern here? What interested me, though, about how they did this is the selection of World War I. Not many films are made about WWI for some reason. If nothing else stands out about this film, the period in which it is set surely will.

What didn’t I like?

Scum and villainy. I believe it was last summer, when the hype was stating to pick up about this film, that I was reading an article about Wonder Woman’s rogues gallery and how they would be perfect for the big screen. Admittedly, I don’t know much of her rivals outside of Ares, Cheetah, and Giganta. That said, I have no qualm with Ares as the big bad, though I wonder if a different actor would have been better suited for the god parts. My issue is with Dr. Maru and Erich Ludendorff, neither of which we seemed to get much in the way of development. As it turns out, Ludendorff was a real person (obviously his powers in this film are false). Dr. Maru, though, seems like there is an interesting story there involving what happened to her face, but we got none of that.

Themyscira. You would think with all the money the filmmakers spent in making Themyscira look as great as it did, they would actually spend more than 5-15 minutes on the island. Green Lantern did the same thing. Oa was a sight to behold, but we barely spend anytime there before being whisked away to Earth. For the sake of the plot, though, I understand why not much time was spent on Themyscira, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it!

On the lighter side of things. Can this be? Was that? No way! I do believe there were some jokes in this film and not everyone was brooding! *GASP* You know what I didn’t like about this, though? Diana’s naiveté. Here we have a woman who knows nothing of the outside world. This should be comedic gold in most situations. I wish they wouldn’t have been so serious with most of her situations and given us some laughs before we got to the serious action stuff in the 2nd half of the picture.

Final verdict on Wonder Woman? Well, for an origin story it delivers everything we need to know about this character, including how that picture from Batman v. Superman came to be. With that said, I feel as if we still don’t know much about her. What I mean by that is, at the end of the first Captain America, we knew who Steve Rogers was and felt for him as we went down into the ice. With this, Wonder Woman just seems like a female superhero they are throwing out there to make the feminists happy. That said, I did enjoy this film. Do I recommend it? Yes, very highly! However, if you want a solid origin of the character, check out Wonder Woman, the animated feature from 2009. I believe it was just re-released.

4 out of 5 stars

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One Response to “Wonder Woman (2017)”

  1. […] lesson. There seems to be a trend lately of putting fantasy characters into historical events. Wonder Woman showed us that she was in World War I, X- Men Origins: Wolverine (as well as The Wolverine) placed […]

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