Greetings my intrepid movie-lovers.
In this article I give you my take on the 2017 Wonder Woman film. I hope you enjoy.
First of all I must give you a quick disclaimer: I know little of Wonder Woman. I have not read her comics. Most of what I know about her is through the Justice League Animated Series and any other animated films she’s appeared in.
OK. Now that that’s out of the way here we go:
The film opens with the Amazons training on Themyscira. Young Diana badly emulates the warriors in training. Diana’s mother, Hippolyta, tells Diana of the lore of the gods: the gods were killed in a war with Ares and Zeus enshrouded the island of Themyscira as protection from the outside world. Hippolyta warns that Ares will return, his corruption remains strong on mankind.
Despite these warnings Hippolyta does not want Diana to be trained as a warrior. Diana, knowingly disobeys and gets trained by the top warrior, Antiope, anyway. As soon as Hippolyta discovers this subterfuge she is incensed. Diana and Antiope resist her and persuade her that Diana needs to be trained. Hippolyta accedes to their arguments and tells Antiope to train Diana harder than any other Amazon.
Years pass and Diana gets stronger and more skilled each day. She is sparring with Antiope one day and lets her guard down. This enrages her mentor who strikes at her without mercy, informing her young apprentice that there will be no compassion on the battlefield. Diana fights back and clangs her bracelets together, which stun and injure Antiope.
Feeling guilty of striking back in rage, Diana trods off to a cliff to be alone. She gazes at the deep blue sky and clear blue waters surrounding her island in serenity. Her moment of tranquility is interrupted by the droning sound of a plane. Diana witnesses the burning machine downing in the shallow water near the coast. A young pilot is seen struggling to cut himself out of the cockpit. Diana leaps into action (literally) and saves the young pilot, bringing him to shore where he awakens.
However, the young blue-eyed pilot is not the only man to discover the island. Within minutes German naval forces break through the fog enshrouding the island and begin shooting at the Amazons. Seeing their home invaded, the Amazons rush at the soldiers and a bloody battle ensues. At first the German forces are stormed by the Amazon warriors and their superior bow skills. However, the Deutschen Armee fire back with numerous guns (including machine guns), which fell dozens upon dozens of Amazons. Diana is in the crosshairs of a soldier when Antiope dives in front of her to save her. Like that Antiope is killed and the Amazons mourn their dead before swiftly interrogating the blue-eyed pilot.
The pilot, named Steve Trevor, reveals that he is a spy working for British intelligence. He tells the Amazons that he stole secret plans from a deranged scientist named Doctor Poison. Trevor informs them that he must return the plans to his superiors before the German army make their move. The Amazons, using the lasso of truth, get all this from him but decide to do nothing; deeming that this war does not concern them.
Steve and Diana begin speaking in private. Diana is intrigued by Steve’s different customs and his different genitalia. (The scene is both funny and awkward) Steve convinces Diana that he got tired of doing nothing so he disobeyed his superiors. Diana, inspired by his courage, decides to escape with Steve to the world of Man in order to kill Ares and stop the war (World War I). Steve, though disbelieving the mythos about Ares, agrees to work with the Amazon Princess to escape. Hippolyta catches them before they leave but sees that Diana is determined to leave. She offers Diana the ‘god-killer’, a sword powerful enough to fell an Olympian, and tearfully says good-bye.
Diana and Steve have a comedic exchange about marriage and sex on a boat bound for England. She, thought ignorant of the outside world, knows about sex and can speak hundreds of foreign languages (how???). Steve wins an amount of respect for her as he lies asleep beside her on the rocking barge.
The two land in London and begin a two-pronged quest: deliver the notes to British intelligence and make Diana blend in. What ensues is a hilarious set of scenes where Diana is appalled at how women are subservient and muted in early 19th century Britain. She, nonetheless, complies to Steve’s urging at local dress and custom. Both Diana and Steve are attacked by German spies in an alley. Diana takes down most of them and Steve shows some gun-toting action too. The pair make it to Steve’s superiors where Sir Patrick, the leader of this operation, welcomes his arrival. Sir Patrick gladly welcomes Diana and managed to get through his message to the obstinate war general.
Steve introduces Diana to a ragtag band of misfits in a local bar. Sameer, a cunning actor who speaks several languages and Charlie, a sharpshooter. Diana shows off her language and fighting skills. Apparently this both threatened and aroused Sameer. Nonetheless, Sir Patrick shows up at the pub to give the band his blessing and money to abet their dangerous venture into enemy lines: occupied Belgium.
The gang make it to Belgium where they are joined by Chief, a Native-American smuggler. Once Diana reaches the trenches her emotions go soaring with anger: the Allies are allowing civilians to perish as they fight huddled in small tunnels. Angered, the Amazon jumps out of the trench and takes German fire head-on. Bullets deflect off her bracelets and shield but the machine gun’s rapidfire proves too much to get past. Inspired by her courage, Steve and the others rush alongside her and gun down the enemy. Numerous battle scenes follow (expertly choreographed by the way!) where Diana shows off her military combat and super strength while the non-powered mortals give her cover against the many gunmen in the village.
The gang infiltrate the evil General Ludendorff’s headquarters. Diana dances with Ludendorff who reveals his admiration for the Greek gods and his love of war. Convinced of his divinity, Diana prepares to murder the god of war but is stopped by Steve who thinks they should find his toxic gas first. Enraged, Diana yells at Steve and decides to kill Ares herself.
Diana confronts Ludendorff and the middle-aged general sports powers of his own. He exhibits quick reflexes and superhuman strength. He begins to best her for a while until Diana gains the upper hand. Enraged, Diana beats him down and impales him with her divine sword. Content with having killed the Greek god Diana smiles awaiting the war to end. However, the Amazon princess is heavily disappointed when she discovers the mortals are still killing each other. Steve shows up again to request her help in stopping the weaponized gas. Diana, however, refuses having seen that mankind is inherently violent and selfish. She contends that they are not worthy of her help. Steve, desperate but hopeful, tells Diana that they don’t deserve her help but ‘it’s not about deserve it’s about what you believe.’ Nonetheless, Diana refuses, leaving Steve and his men to fight the German troops alone.
Diana, disappointed and frustrated lingers near the fallen general’s corpse before she is greeted by a familiar voice. The voice tells her that humans indeed don’t deserve her help. Diana turns around to see Sir Patrick. The British gentleman disappears in smoke and glass revealing to her that he is Ares before vanishes. The god of war reappears nonetheless to explain to Diana that she is in fact the daughter of Zeus and Hippolyta, making her a demigod. Ares also shows off how powerful he is by destroying the god-killer with his bare hand. The arrogant god tells Diana that she being a goddess is the only thing capable of killing him. Ares further tells her that he never influenced mankind to destroy itself, merely making suggestions to their already war-prone society. In fact, Ares offers Diana the chance to destroy humanity and rebuild Earth as a paradise for the gods.
Diana recalls Steve’s words ‘it’s not about deserve it’s about what you believe.’ Emboldened by Steve’s words, Diana charges at Ares. This is noble but stupid. Ares bends earth, wind and lightning to his will and thrashes the Amazon. But then, the god of war seemingly forgets his powers as he uses less of them against Diana. Ares binds a metal armor to him (which looks like something off a henchman from World of Warcraft) and rejoices as Steve gives his life to stop the toxic gas; flying it into the sky above and exploding it far away from the ground.
Diana screams with horror and anguish as she beholds her beloved’s plane blown to pieces. Inconsolable, she almost kills the evil scientist responsible for the toxic gas. Instead Diana begins to attack Ares ferociously. She channels her anger and pain and begins to thrash the son of Zeus. Ares blasts Diana with lightning, which she absorbs in her bracelets and then channels back at Ares, presumably killing him.
The scene cuts back to present day where Diana holds a picture of her, Steve and their companions in faded black and white. She smiles at it affectionately and emails Batman a thanks for getting the photo to her.
I LOVED this movie. It was well-paced, filled with action, fraught with character and plot-development. I think that this film as whole was very strong and cohesive despite having some weaker points throughout. I will summarize it in bullet points:
Ø The swerve with Ludendorff not being Ares was a nice touch. This added a small layer of complexity to the plot despite it being a but obvious mid-movie.
Ø The dynamic between Diana and Steve Trevor was the movie’s strongest asset.
Ø Steve’s sacrifice saved the movie. It added great sorrow and prevented the movie from having a cliché superhero movie ending. In fact, that moment was the easiest to sympathize with Wonder Woman.
Ø Steve Trevor was not treated as a sidekick or damsel in distress. With a movie with a pro-feminist stance such as this it is fairly easy to type Steve this way. Thankfully, this wasn’t the case. In fact, he was the most likeable character in this movie and the second most competent after Wonder Woman.
Ø Wonder Woman’s wardrobe was very good. It was practical and striking without being overly seductive or sexist (see Harley Quinn and Black Canary’s wardrobe).
Ø Exposition in this movie was quick and not overbearing at all.
Ø This story did not give enough of an explanation of who the Amazons are or their culture (they should have hated men a lot more than they did in this film).
Ø Chief, Sameer and Charlie didn’t get a lot of character development. They were funny and useful but otherwise not very prominent.
Ø Ares’ CGI costume looked extremely stupid.
Ø Why wasn’t this movie set during World War II? It would have made more sense!
Ø The absence of other Greek gods felt disappointing. We could have gotten a Zeus or Hermes cameo. (I really hope Ares didn’t kill them all since they are important supporting characters to Wonder Woman)
This movie was really good. In fact, it was great. I give this movie 8 out of 10 stars. If you haven’t seen Wonder Woman yet give this film treasure a try.
Thanks for reading!