Thankfully I was on vacation last week and missed the social justice warrior meltdown regarding Wonder Woman. Having now seen the movie with my daughter I can tell you it is well worth seeing, though it might be a bit too violent for kids under ten or so. Not since the Green Lantern movie has DC had such a feminine super hero and this time it actually doesn’t suck.
First, let me dispense with the bad. The CGI and slow motion cheapened it. There were a number of scenes that just looked flat out fake and broke the escapism of the movie by looking worse than a cheap trick. I do not care that DC uses a darker color palette than Marvel nor do I care that DC movies are more violent and more grown up in theme. But I do care that Iron Man and friends fighting Captain America and friends at an airport looks way more realistic than Wonder Woman jumping or fighting.
Likewise, there were some odd moments in the movie. First and foremost it seems weird to set the movie in World War I wherein the bad guy who fuels wars is dispatched by the protagonist while we know that World War II would come thereafter and be worse. It was also really weird seeing Chris Pine’s character in a World War I setting try to explain how people get married. In this version, people go before a judge. Really? In the early 1900’s we’re claiming people got married by going to court instead of a church? It was a Hollywoodism that slipped in weirdly. Also, why was Trevor, an American, working for the British?
Those things aside, the movie was enjoyable. It is nice to see a feminine superhero my daughter can cheer for. Until now, she’s had Black Widow who Marvel treats like one of the guys. DC was not afraid to dwell on Wonder Woman’s feminine side. They were not afraid to treat her differently. They were not afraid to have her lecturing the men on their priorities while stopping to fawn over a baby. Wonder Woman was not just one of the guys, but better than the guys.
The funny thing about Disney movies is that outside of Marvel it is always the level headed girl who rescues the rescuer. It works. It worked for DC with Wonder Woman too. She was better than the others and did not have to compromise. She did not have to behave like the guys, look like the guys, or act like the guys. My daughter appreciated that Wonder Woman was a beautiful lady who dressed like a lady, acted like a lady, and could kill people.
She was also beautiful. They didn’t compromise on that fact. It was not exploitative, but it was noticeable. Gal Gadot is a gorgeous actress and is the perfect embodiment of Wonder Woman. By all accounts she is also a wonderful person and it makes it all the better that both the super hero and the actress playing the super hero both appear to be worthy role models for someone like my daughter.
I enjoyed the movie as much as my kid. It was entertaining. It did not drag on. And unlike the Marvel movies, the stakes were raised. The good guys could die and we know they are not going to come back in a sequel. That DC is willing to kill off characters in which you’ve made an emotional investment is a win. It ups the stakes and the emotional investment in the movie. It would be nice if Marvel did the same, but then Marvel has never taken the time to build up any ancillary characters to the super heroes that we can care about except Colson. He was killed off and then revived. We need more Colsons who stay dead in Marvel.1
Wonder Woman is the first non-Christopher Nolan DC movie worth going to see and watch a second time. I say that as someone who liked the Superman reboot with Henry Cavill. Go see Wonder Woman. You will enjoy it.
1. I now predict Marvel will up the stakes by killing off Tony Stark only to reinvent Iron Man as a one legged midget transgender lesbian of Irish-Mexican roots named Bob. Marvel does this sort of crap. When it flops, they’ll blame the audience.↩