published: (updated: )
by Harshvardhan J. Pandit
blog movies rant
Wonder Woman is one of the most iconic comic superheroes, though what I should be saying is superheroine. She stands tall, an amazon warrior princess, and fights alongside Superman. To me, that is something inspiring, as it was and will be to many women the world around. That aside, the film had the heavy responsibility of proving itself as a good DC movie after it's many movies being panned by the critics - Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad to list the most recent. With that in mind, Wonder Woman receives unprecedented good reviews, even on Rotten Tomatoes, which has a history of appearing to be biased against DC, and has proved to be a box-office success with the money continuing to pour in. With this, watching the movie carries with it enormous hype, and going to watch a wonderful film, I was disappointed and confused as to how it came to be so popular and celebrated.
Even though the title of the movie, as clear as it is, says Wonder Woman, the movie unapologetically places Chris Pike as an important character, often times shadowing and eclipsing Diana herself. To me, that made no sense, and felt like an odd choice considering the only thing that should have mattered on screen, or revolved around, was the Wonder Woman herself. But instead, we have the captain being introduced and followed around with Diana shadowing him instead. To me, it looked like the story was playing it safe, which is possibly also the reason for a lot of other things.
The movie was full of clichés, too many to list and count. I do not know how anyone could have missed them and carried on watching regardless. There were so many of them, and it all turned to be so cringe worthy, that I wanted to walk off in the middle of it all. It did not help that the movie seemed a lot longer than it actually was and the story kept chugging along with plot holes the size of meteors. What were the writers doing when actually writing the screenplay is a good game I would like to play on a drunk night. Because there is no way that the story was written in a coherent manner that befitted the history of the character. Not only did the story fail to tell why Diana got to be called Wonder Woman, it also failed to tie everything together with her legacy, her choices, or why she stayed in the outside world in spite of everything. To me, Diana stole her inheritance and stood by what she believed in, and took on the world, which was immensely inspiring. But I found the character on screen lacking a lot, and did not understand why that should be celebrated.
The group she manages to assemble, the captain, and the renegade rag-tag group of former soldiers and war-profiteers, who suddenly get hearts of hold, managed to weaken the story and introduce some more clichés. I did not understand why the movie even need the group to tag along with her. To lead her along? To give her 'close friends' she would then care about and save? The romance that bubbled along in the middle of a war zone was entirely unnecessary as well. I got the part where the two of them shared mutual respect and admiration to the point that they went out of their way to care for each other. Okay. I can walk that bridge even if it sways a little. But the way the story just stopped and the two of them kiss and then there's snow and then they're kissing was just meh. Cringe worthy. That's not what the story was supposed to be at all. It was very distracting. Thankfully, there was no passionate love making along the way.
The action was good where it appeared, in bits and pieces. It got the right cool factor for most part, even though it started to feel quite repetitive by the end and started to fall flat. If the movie was supposed to set her up for the franchise in terms of action and power and character, it failed quite well on its own. The villain, portrayed by an actor that made no sense in being Ares, the God of War, felt like a tag on in the sequences. It made no sense, and I was ready to throw up my hands at everything. How they fought was laughable. Outrageous. Then he defeats her, okay here comes redemption and round 2, where she somehow gathers her strength and defeats him (sounds cliché?). But then it happens because she sees the plane blow up in the sky, her love die in it, and that gives her strength to defeat Ares? What!? Okay, CLICHÉ. And a bad one at that. Not only it made a long movie tiring, it bored me.
The movie turned out to be a mass entertainer, something people who enjoy mindless and thoughtless drama will be quite proud of. DC will possibly use the success of this movie as a mold for all of its future films, and this will be a bad bad idea. Especially given its history, and the mess it created out of Suicide Squad.
The movie had its good part, and the hype it built up around feminism was apparent in some scenes. One comes to mind, where the captain is naked and Diana sees him and inquires whether all men look like him (she has never seen a man) and the reply "above average" reflects on his penis. An idea that men only think of sex as an extension of themselves, though subtly shown and emphasized, was a nice touch. Diana inquires as a curious soul but the captain takes it as an excuse to brag passively. This reflects what most men think of unfortunately. Another instance is the scene on the beach, though there are several others strewn throughout the movie. The captain, having just been rescued out of a plane, where he watched Diana rip him out of the water and save his life, proceeds to try and keep her safe is such a reflection. The fact that despite being rescued by a warrior and being amidst warriors kicking the ass of Nazis, the captain wants to protect Diana instead was stupid and so reflective of women being portrayed as damsels in distress. It should have been her kicking him aside and protecting him instead.
So, the golden question - if given a choice after watching the film would I have still watched it the first time around - the answer is NO, the movie is not worth it at all.