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Wonder Woman - Movie Review

Wonder Woman - Movie Review

Wonder Woman is a 2017 American superhero film based on the DC Comics character "Diana Prince/Wonder Woman", distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. It is the fourth installment in the DC Extended Universe. 

Plot

Sometime after Superman's death, Diana Prince receives a package from Wayne Industries; the photo she was looking for back during Lex Luthor's vendetta, and a message from Batman asking if one day she'll tell him her true origins. Looking at the photo, Diana reflects on her past...

Diana's real identity is Diana of Themyscira, the Amazon princess, and Zeus' daughter thus making her a demigoddess. Ever since childhood, she dreamed about fighting in a big war and defeating the God of War Ares with the "Godkiller" sword, which the Amazons were given by Zeus to protect mankind from Ares, but her mother felt it was better for her to stay in the safety of the Themyscira. One day during her training as a young adult, Diana notices a plane crashing into the sea, she goes to rescue the pilot and finds to her surprise that this pilot is a man, which she had never seen in her life.

Before they get any chance to talk, however, German soldiers appear and attack the island. The Amazon warriors quickly dispatch them but there are several casualties including Diana's aunt. Enraged, the queen captures the pilot and uses the Lasso of Truth to interrogate him. The pilot reveals himself to be Steve Trevor, a British spy who had infiltrated Germany to get intel about their newer weapons. The Amazons are confused about what he's talking about, to which Steve explains that the world is in the middle of a massive war (World War I), and he discovered that German General Erich Ludendorff and his scientist, Doctor Maru a.k.a. Doctor Poison, is developing an extremely lethal gas that can pierce through gas masks. If this poison is completed, Germany will win WWI and billions will die. Steve had stolen Doctor Poison's notes to halt her research and was planning to deliver them to London but his planed crashed into Themyscira.

Hearing that story, Diana believes that Ares must be behind this war and pleas for the Amazons to go fight him and save all those innocent lives, but her mother refuses. With no other choice, Diana steals the Godkiller sword, the Lasso of Truth, an Amazonian battle armor, and frees Steve so they can go stop the war. They are caught before leaving, but rather than stopping them, Diana's mother simply says goodbye and gives Diana her aunt's Tiara as a memorial. On their way to London, Steve tries some small talk with Diana only to find she's completely oblivious to the human culture and firmly believes that killing Ares will stop the war, which he's reluctant to believe.

Upon arriving in London, Steve buys Diana some clothes to disguise her as his secretary and goes to deliver Doctor Poison's notes to the British Council. Diana effortlessly decrypts Doctor Poison's notes and reveals that Ludendorff plans to launch the gas on a mass scale and that the gas is very flammable. Steve wants to launch an attack to destroy the gas but the council denies his request as they are in the process of negotiating Germany's surrender to end the war and launching that attack would put the negotiations in jeopardy. One of the council members, Sir Patrick Morgan, shows some interest in Diana.

Steve still plans to launch the attack anyways and gathers some allies of his own for the mission, at first they are doubtful that they should take a woman to the battlefield but change their mind after Diana overpowers a thug. Sir Patrick appears and tells them that he also wants to destroy the gas and will help them carry the mission undercover. Upon arriving at the Trenches, Diana insists on going after Ares and wants to help some injured families, but Steve explains that the nearby town is under enemy control and they can't reach it because the entire area outside the trench is surrounded by snipers and turrets.

Diana runs out of patience, ditches her disguise for her battle armor, and charges into the enemy field, using her bracers to deflect enemy bullets. Looking at how she's making it to the other side inspires the allies to charge as well and they begin an attack to recover the town lead by Diana. The mission is successful and the town is freed. Later that night a photographer takes a picture of Diana and Steve's team. Steve receives a phone call warning him not to take any further action as Germany's surrender will be signed tomorrow, and Ludendorff will be there too. Hearing this, Diana concludes that Ludendorff must be Ares in disguise.

The day of the peace treaty Steve tries to get Doctor Poison to reveal where the gas is. Though Poison refuses to say anything he later discovers that Ludendorff has a plane ready to depart full of gas bombs, only to find Diana approaching Ludendorf and she's hiding her sword behind her dress. He stops Diana before she does anything rash and tries to convince her that killing a big general in the middle of the party was a bad idea to no avail. This gives Ludendorff enough time to launch a surprise gas bomb at the town Diana had freed before, killing everyone there immediately.

Diana is disillusioned by Steve not letting her stop Ludendorff and abandons him, managing to corner Ludendorff in a security tower near an airport where the gas bomb plane is about to depart. Diana kills Ludendorff whom she still believes to be Ares, but the war isn't stopping much to her horror. Steve tries to tell her that with or without Ares the war would continue, and no one person could be blamed for it. He begs her to come help them stop the plane but Diana is still shocked that mankind could be causing the war on their own.

Steve and his team try to stop the plane, as Diana watches that she is confronted by Sir Patrick, revealing himself to be the real Ares. Ares explains that mankind is by nature evil and broken, all he does is give them inspirations and ideas, the war was truly caused on their own voluntarily. He also reveals that Diana herself is the real godkiller; she is one of Zeus' daughters who was sent to the amazons so they could train her to defeat him. Ares wanted Diana to see how rotten mankind truly is and get her to join his side. Ares attacks Diana when she refuses to join him.

Steve sees the real Ares, and, realizing the plane can't be stopped, goes to tell some final words to Diana before hijacking the plane. He flies it as high and possible and shoots the gas bombs to make them explode, saving billions of lives but dying in the process. Diana is heartbroken when she sees that and Ares uses it to push her further into desperation. Diana brutally kills many German soldiers and is about to kill Doctor Poison, but she remembers how Steve's drive to stop the war was genuine and that his death was a selfless sacrifice. She also realizes that Steve's final words were "I love you".

With that, Diana tells Ares that he is right, humans are greedy corrupt beings capable of horrible actions; but they are just as capable of doing good, kindness, and selflessness so she will be their protector. Fully embracing her powers as a demigoddess, Diana kills Ares once and for all and ends the war. Though the War is over, Diana is still left scarred by the events that took place and remains hidden within human society for nearly a century. It wasn't until Doomsday's rampage that she momentarily donned her battle armor.

Reflecting over her past experiences and how Superman's sacrifice reminds her of Steve's sacrifice, and knowing that big threats will come soon, Diana finally decides to fully come out of retirement and help Batman form the Justice League as the Wonder Woman.

Why it Rocks

  1. The first live-action Wonder Woman movie, and first modern superhero movie to have a woman as the protagonist (since the disastrous Catwoman and Elektra).
  2. Strong respect for the source material.
  3. Diana Prince's utter naivety towards human culture and complete devotion to her beliefs make her a very likable character. Gal Gadot portrayed her very well.
  4. Unlike other movies that pander to feminist propaganda by making men into incompetent useless characters, the movie portrays a strong female character yet it can be enjoyed equally by both men and women.
  5. Nowhere as dark & over-realistic as previous DCEU movies. The movie better embraces the cartoony nature of superheroes and has more light-hearted and funny moments. Despite this, the movie still doesn't feel like an MCU clone.
  6. Ties with the DCEU don't feel intrusive.
  7. Hilarious fish out of water moments such as Wonder Woman (as Diana Prince) trying to go through a revolving door only to be blocked. And Diana saying "How can a woman fight like this" only to rip her dress. Steve Trevor also gets fish out of water moments when he's at Themyscira.
  8. Great characters in Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman, Chris Pine's Steve Trevor, Robin Wright's General Antiope. Even the side characters such as Trevor's war buddies such as Sameer and Chief are compelling and interesting.
  9. The unique setting of World War I which makes it all the more different from all other superhero movies.
  10. Topics like sexism in the early 20th century are mentioned, but not overdone.
  11. Epic action scenes. Such as the awesome No Man's Land sequence.
  12. The first successful female superhero movie. In the same vein, 2016's Deadpool paved way for more R-rated superhero movies. Wonder Woman has already paved the way for more female superheroes (such as Marvel's Carol Danvers / Captain Marvel, Black Cat and Silver Sable, DC's Barbara Gordon / Batgirl and the Gotham City Sirens (consisting of Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, and Catwoman) to get their own movies.

Bad Qualities

  1. The film uses the "unexpected real antagonist" cliche but it was poorly executed. There's practically no foreshadow to who the real Ares is, nor does he have any significant screen time until the reveal so it comes off as out-of-place.
    • Ares himself is yet another cgi punching bag and the actor isn't very menacing looking.
  2. The name "Wonder Woman" is never said on-screen.

Reception

Wonder Woman was met to positive reception and is generally considered to be a set up from previous DCEU movies, which had a very rocky start, and one of the best-reviewed superheroes movies ever (at one point it briefly surpassed other movies in the genre with a 97% on Rotten Tomatoes). In his review, the Nostalgia Critic said that he agrees this is the best DCEU movie, though for a different personal reason. He said that unlike most modern superhero movies which portray superheroes as supernatural beings trying to fit a normal life, this movie portrayed superheroes as what they were originally meant to be; a person you look up to who protects people and does good simply because they feel it's the right thing to do.

DC fans, in particular, were very pleased that Wonder Woman was a critical success as the DC Extended Universe had a rather rocky start.

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