Kyle J. Steenblik

Wonder Woman Smashes the Odds, is Monumentally Enjoyable [Review]

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WW Final artWonder Woman
Directed by: Patty Jenkins
Screenplay by: Allan Heinberg
Story by: Zack Snyder, Allan Heinberg, Jason Fuchs
Based on Wonder Woman by William Moulton Marston
Starring: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, Connie Nielsen, Elena Anaya
Running time 141 minutes
Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence and action, and some suggestive content
4 1/2 stars out of 5
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 an American 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.

Wonder Woman was set up to fail, the fourth in a franchise of abject mediocrity and cinematic catastrophe. I know many critics and fans have watched this film production ranging from morbid curiosity, to anxious trepidation, and each step away from Snyder’s cacophony brought cheers and signs of relief. As production rolled forward it began to dawn of many of us that this film could actually succeed, and might actually be good, nevertheless our expectations remained realistic. Do the character justice, and present a cohesive and comprehendible narrative and it will be a success for the franchise. That is how low the expectations were for many of us waiting for this film, ‘it doesn’t suck’ would be a victory.

I am very happy to say, after that mildly unnecessary preamble, that Wonder Woman did not suck, in fact it was quite a few degrees better than that. By way of comparison to the best of its predecessors, Man of Steel, it is miraculously excellent, and by miles, the best film that has come out of the modern DC Extended Universe, and on par with the excellent animated DC films. The comparisons to the previous films is unfair, in many ways they are incomparable, but unfortunately bound to each other. Like the metaphorical shackles that once restrained Princess Dianna, Wonder Woman shirks off the weight of failed films past and saves the entire franchise with seemingly effortless grace.

While Wonder Woman is not perfect, it actually only above average, it manages to do a lot incredibly well. The balance between light hearted humor and pulse pounding action is dead-on. The moments of defiant badassery are incredible, and there are some genuinely emotionally touching moments. The character development was methodical and honest while the overall narrative was well constructed while not being over-burdened with plot devices and pointless eye candy. The performances were solid with only a few moments where a line or reaction didn’t quite click, and the same could be said of the visual effects. The third act it a bit messy, and feels rushed leaving some perplexing plot-holes that would really only bother the pickiest viewer. While I would like to get into detail about some of these faults I couldn’t without potential spoilers, and this film is good enough that I loath to spoil it for anyone. Least of all fans that have been waiting a long time for a movie like this.

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