Feature Article

Wonder Woman Review

Wonderful

(NOTE: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS MINOR SPOILERS)

Wonder Woman succeeds in achieving a number of things that DC's recent films have not: Crafting a character that is easy to care about, telling an origin story that establishes believable and relatable motivations, and putting that character through situations that make us genuinely sympathise with her, in addition to being completely in awe of her at her most powerful.

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This is because Wonder Woman is a film that takes its time with its story. The first third is spent with the titular character as she grows up on the island of Themyscira, amongst a civilization of Amazons. As a child, she's forbidden from taking part in the combative traditions of the warrior tribe, though her unbridled enthusiasm eventually leads her down that path regardless, and she grows into a skilled fighter as an adult. British spy Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) eventually crashes near the island and informs the Amazons of a raging conflict, World War I, and Diana's (Gal Gadot) unsuppressed, idealistic drive to save innocents and put an end to the whole concept of war, results in the two of them leaving together.

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This time on Themyscira is well spent. The mythological origins of the Amazons and the events that lead to her departure from the island are explained succinctly, and precedence is instead given to the personal interactions between Diana and the important people in her life. Director Patty Jenkins isn't afraid to slow down and let us see Diana gradually come into her own, discover new things, and use her knowledge to reinforce her own determination and personal values, however naive they may seem.

Diana's naivety, born from her sheltered upbringing, is regularly played for laughs during interactions with Chris Pine's character, and especially later on when the events of the film move to Europe. Gags about sex and seeing a penis for the first time start the trend on a borderline cringe-worthy note, but the awkwardness of Pine's charmingly goofy character, and the unperturbed confidence of Gadot, quickly make these scenes more charming. These recurring moments also gradually pave the way for the film, and Diana, to escalate the scale of her curiosity, allowing her to interject and protest about what she sees as black and white injustices, as opposed to what the world sees as societal norms. Antiquated gender roles, racial discrimination, and the morality of modern military warfare are just some of the touchstones. And although they may portray obvious sentiments to most, the way Jenkins allows the audience to accompany Diana through these revelations makes her story of a superhuman coming of age something relatable on a very human level. You see what kind of values fuel her motivations, and in turn, you become intrigued by how these values are tested, and how they affect her eventual transformation.

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But as much as Wonder Woman enjoys spending time watching Diana evolve as a person and exhibit believable emotional vulnerabilities, it also revels in the pure joy of watching Diana unrelentingly destroy dozens of bad dudes. The film's numerous action sequences are sharp and punchy, and of a satisfying length, often leaving you wanting more. Slow motion tracking shots are used to great effect here, allowing you to really appreciate the acrobatic fighting style of Diana and the Amazons. The camera doesn't shy away from close-up impacts, which feel hefty and powerful, and earn the wincing of on-screen characters. Horseback combat and archery add to these memorable moments, as do World War I militaria like bolt-action rifles, machine guns, and tanks.

But like the scenes themselves, these flashy combat tools appear sparingly, used as exclamations, and never outstay their welcome. The same can be said of the appearance of Diana's weapons and powers. We get glimpses of her abilities in the first act--heightened agility, healing, and strength--but it's not until Diana gets to the real world where we see her become truly threatening. Each discrete encounter is fast-moving but aggressive, making Diana's power moments both uniquely impactful on screen, as well as helping to exemplify her efficient skill in melee combat. Because these fights are not belaboured, moments where Gadot deftly tangles a group of soldiers in the gleaming Lasso of Truth, or pummels someone through a brick wall with her shield using incredible force, become striking payoffs that leave you in awe, trembling with excitement long after.

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The only exception here is the final climactic encounter, where the film loosens its restraints to allow for some Zack Snyder-style superhuman bombast. Other minor irks involve a romantic subplot, which felt like it needed a little more time to feel plausible, and the fact that despite Wonder Woman being a film where people of a variety of colors speak a variety of foreign languages (with English subtitles), all characters of German descent simply speak English. The ridiculousness of this decision is heightened when Pine's character goes undercover as a German officer and gets by security just fine with German-accented English.

Ultimately, Gal Gadot and Patty Jenkins have together shaped the story of a hero who is at the same time relatable and formidable. Diana's journey of self-discovery is one that is plausible, and the film's focus on exploring who she is as a person, as well as what she can do as a superhuman gives the character, and overall film, a gratifying roundedness that makes you eager for more.

The GoodThe Bad
Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman is both relatable and awe-inspiringRomantic subplot needs a little more development
Sharp, powerful, and memorable action scenesGerman characters puzzlingly speak English
Steady, enjoyable narrative pacing
A believable, fleshed-out origin story
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doorselfin

Edmond Tran

Editor / Senior Video Producer for GameSpot in Australia. Token Asian.
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Avatar image for chesterv13
ChesterV13

It should be called HORRIBLE WOMAN. As usual, DC picks the most WRONG person for the part of an AMERICAN super hero! Not only does she NOT fit the part, she's a horrible actor! Doesn't even look the part. Such a travesty. Marvel keeps beating DC down in the movie arena....and it's not difficult to see why. Marvel knows how to pick the RIGHT people for the RIGHT parts!

This movie has only gotten so much fanfare, simply because there has never been a Wonder Woman movie before. THATS THE ONLY REASON.

Im sick of DC spitting in the face of loyal fans and the legacy of the American super heroes its supposed to uphold.

And on top of all of this, foreigners playing AMERICAN super heroes. Whats next, a black woman playing Dr. Who? A transvestite playing James Bond??? A Japanese man playing Kunta Kinte?

Leave it to Hollywood greed-mongers to bastardize, pervert, defile yet ANOTHER American iconic super hero into a monstrous murder machine.

A travesty. Simply a travesty.

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Dumper_Pumper

Apparently 60% of all women are wearing the wrong sized pads. (According to Always.) I wonder if Wonder Woman is in that 60%.

I'm not a robot.

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blackace

@spaced92:Electra & Catwoman were horrible. Only DC movies I enjoyed was the first Batman, Dark Knight, the first two Superman movies with Christopher Reeve and Man of Steel. I do like "The Flash" TV series. Gotta wait and see how Justic League turns out. Wasn't overl thrilled about Batman -vs- Superman: DoJ either.

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crognalsen

I just find these female characters to be incredibly dull. Perhaps women think the same thing of male heroes over the years, but they were drawn from real life and made by men. Now we have female characters written to act like men, but without the flaws that are most interesting in many cases. The dark side so to speak that women generally can't portray. Things possible to do with sexism, but more often to do with overall fun. Once you have seen a modern strong female character you pretty much know exactly what you will get every time. A dull goody two-shoes that are going to show all men how bad they are and how great she is. Then she will accept the male who is willing to worship her as a god. Her personality will be built on how intelligent she is instead of how fun she is. There are actually many movies like this out there now. It is because script written by people that can't come up with a unique female character and are afraid to write something that might portray a strong female hero in a bad light or show them to be vulnerable in some way. Good characters (male and female) are very dull and predictable. How about some characters that are actually fun instead of trying to force a certain stereotype down people's throats. I guess people just have different opinions than me on what is interesting to watch. Even the villains in today's movies are not nearly bad enough to be interesting in most cases.

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SOul_FUNk

@crognalsen: yeah , we have seen far too many stereotype cliche in character, good characters without a single flaw are way too predictable, and this is what made them look boring, we need more character like Deadpool , and Jokers

Avatar image for dhaynes25
dhaynes25

Some men on here complaining about the "no men" screening yet we men have gentleman's clubs and other clubs exclusive to men but it's not a big deal. The screening for women only doesn't affect me at all. It's a major movie starring a female lead. Congrats. My wife, my son and I will be there Day 1 with our Wonder Woman shirts ready to embrace this movie and enjoy it

Avatar image for deactivated-5afeea4d8be41

@dhaynes25: Thank god someone here isn't threatened by a couple of screening of a film.

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EdwardNygma

@dhaynes25: Uh gentlemen's clubs DO allow women so that isn't a great example at all.

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Forester057

@dhaynes25: Imagine the outrage if say we had a man only screening event for say Thor or Hulk or Superman. It would be huge with protests, marches, bullhorns and everything. Only men will keep taking womens' crap like this and embrace it like its a good thing. Better check your nuts out of your wifes lockbox, with permission of course. Its just a movie you say, but man its gotta bug you somewhere down where your nuts used to be perhaps? Its just the damn double standard and the fact that women know we will show up with a big nutless grin on our face to see WW as soon as we are allowed to. Pathetic.... * this BS. Skip this movie and show you still have dominion of your nuts. We've turned that other cheek so many times (and that BS has been used to excuse it as somehow manly). Had enough? I have.

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judaspete

@forester057: It's true, there is some hypocrisy to the all-female screenings, and there probably would be some outrage to an all-male screening of a male fronted super-hero movie. But then, there is a huge gender imbalance with these movies. Wonder Woman is probably the first serious female-fronted superhero movie. I can't think of another off the top of my head, unless you want to say Catwoman and Elektra were serious. With that context, I totally get why women might want to have an exclusive gathering somewhere to celebrate.

Seriously, which male superhero should men come together and celebrate our man-ness with? You listed three off the top of your head, and that's not even the half of it. We've got Batman, Spiderman, Aqua Man, even freaking Ant-Man has a movie, and Captain Marvel got pushed back so they could make a second one of those sooner.

If a single Wonder Woman movie is all it takes to emasculate the whole male population, then we don't deserve our balls.

Avatar image for deactivated-5afeea4d8be41

@forester057: I don't think there would be protests and marches.... It's hardly banning men altogether. It was a special screening to get women excited for the first female led superhero film in 12 years.

What if it was an LGBT screening for a superhero film with a gay character, would that have straight people up in arms too? (probably) It's such a pathetic thing for anyone to complain about. But I guess white men are starting to get threatened by equality, seeing as they've been making all the decisions the past erm..... forever.

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EdwardNygma

@graffitiheart: So "threatened by equality" equals no men allowed at movies? You have a seriously messed up definition of equality.

Avatar image for deactivated-5afeea4d8be41

@edwardnygma: At one special event for one film it had no men allowed, I don't see what that has to do with equality. Or are you scared that this is a jumping off point and soon you won't be able to see any films. I mean with the way you act on message boards certainly wouldn't want you in my establishment.

Avatar image for edwardnygma
EdwardNygma

@graffitiheart: "At one special event for one film it had no men allowed, I don't see what that has to do with equality."

Then I seriously can't help you. Read what you just wrote. Your intellect is obviously too limited to have further discussion.

Avatar image for deactivated-5afeea4d8be41

@edwardnygma: You're an eejit, you really are. One event, at one cinema that actually had nothing to do with the film makers and only to do with celebrating a woman's achievement in film.

Why are you so threatened about this one screening? Beginning of the end for the straight man?

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Fedor

@dhaynes25: Gentlemen's clubs allow women to come in whenever they like, women just choose not to. A theatre also isn't a club, it's a business.

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Forester057

@fedor: True they actually love for women to come, because duh. More women = more men, stupid creatures that we are.

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Fedor

@forester057: I bounced at an 18+ "Gentlemen's club" for a couple years long ago, the effort the owner put into getting women to show up was crazy. No cover, free drinks (water/soda. Although everyone shows up wasted.) even had rare promotions where they would give women patrons ones to tip.

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RogerioFM

@dhaynes25: It's kind of a stupid thing to complain I admit.

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scatterbrain007

Saw it mentioned below, how is this movie "SJW content"? Because there is a female lead? Is that the only qualification any sort of popular media needs to have to be stigmatized as such? I really like the dumbasses out there that hear about a comic book movie, already hate it, go see it anyway, and hating it the entire time just to bitch about hating it.

Avatar image for deactivated-5afeea4d8be41

@scatterbrain007: Welcome to the world of the self entitled.

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naryanrobinson

@scatterbrain007: It's a big deal actually. A female superhero film. I don't know if you noticed, but it's not exactly commonplace.

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scatterbrain007

@naryanrobinson: I guess that makes me the weird one then. I didn't notice because I don't focus on the gender of superhero film castings.

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naryanrobinson

@scatterbrain007: perhaps you didn't notice their race or species either.

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scatterbrain007

@naryanrobinson: Of course I did, I'm not blind. I don't focus on it, because I do not care to. Here's my point, had John Wick been JANE Wick I couldn't have cared less.

Avatar image for edwardnygma
EdwardNygma

They pretty much ripped off Captain America and added Wonder Woman. It is a terrible movie all around.

Also why no mention of the "No Men" sexist screenings? We really are in a society today that is anti-male especially white male. But that aspect definitely won't be covered here.

Avatar image for deactivated-5afeea4d8be41

@edwardnygma: I've now seen the film and it's nothing like Captain America, for one it's set in a different war and it has a completely different feel to it. It's more like Thor than Captain America. And I'd like to add why would a couple of screening get mentioned in a review of the film?

And it wasn't terrible at all, having seen it last night (I'm betting you haven't seen it) it was a really good film - albeit with a messy final act.

Avatar image for deactivated-5afeea4d8be41

@edwardnygma: Oh for god sake, out of 130 comic book movies released - 8 have had a female lead. This is the first to be directed by a woman. It was a couple of screenings at a couple of cinemas, becuae comic book films tend to attract men, they just tried to get women excited about it. Don't you have other things to be concerned about.

As a white, likely straight man do not start playing the effing victim.

Avatar image for edwardnygma
EdwardNygma

@graffitiheart: So white males can't be discriminated against? RIIIIGGGGHHHHHTTT. Also you don't find this "Women Only" screenings sexist? What if the next Avengers movie is for only males for screenings? Would you have an issue with that?

Avatar image for deactivated-5afeea4d8be41

@edwardnygma: Of course you can be discriminated, but considering what gay people, women and black people have faced in the last 100 years - do you not think you got lucky.

And no I don't find this sexist in the slightest, it wasn't barring men from seeing the film, there were mixed gender screenings at the exact same time - they just had a ladies only screening over 2 days. I also wouldn't care if they did a men only screening, an arabic screening and LGBT screening. It was an event and I think it was nice to have women come and get excited over a woman finally getting decent treatment in the comic book world.

Avatar image for edwardnygma
EdwardNygma

@graffitiheart: So we are going to sweep under the rug what is going on today because of what happened 100 years ago? That is the problem. I am focused on problems of the present and you are focused on problems of the past.

Avatar image for deactivated-5afeea4d8be41

@edwardnygma: What problems of the present? What the eff are you on about? Woman are not equal to men, especially in representation in action/comic book movies. This is the 2nd film to have a female director get budget over $100 million and the solely female lead superhero film in 13 years - they can't women celebrate that fact without a load of man babies crying!

Avatar image for dhaynes25
dhaynes25

@edwardnygma: The "No Men" screening doesn't affect me at all. To see a female in a lead is great. I want to see this this and I know it will be great.

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joey07311984

@dhaynes25: Le-sigh.

Avatar image for xantufrog
xantufrog

@edwardnygma: see my comment below- there is a very direct and well-publicized reason for the "no men" screenings. Long story short, it doesn't affect you in any way, and is a response to a "no women" incident

Moderator
Avatar image for romeothebeast
RomeoTheBeast

@edwardnygma: It should be mentioned but not here since this is just a movie review. I do hope Gamespot and other outlets cover that topic because if the reverse was true everyone in the media would be up in arms.

Avatar image for edwardnygma
EdwardNygma

@romeothebeast: They won't cover it because it doesn't fit their agenda. They will either ignore the problem or trivialize/ridicule it because it doesn't fit their politics. True equality doesn't exist for our mainstream media.

Avatar image for romeothebeast
RomeoTheBeast

@edwardnygma: You're right about that and it is sad to see. Men don't even stick up for other men and it's disturbing.

Avatar image for edwardnygma
EdwardNygma

@romeothebeast: I know. It is because a lot of them have been brainwashed to be divided. It's really depressing.

Avatar image for doorselfin
doorselfin

@edwardnygma: Didn't see any mention of the real-world Women Only screenings in the film itself. Maybe I saw a different version?

Staff
Avatar image for naryanrobinson
naryanrobinson

As much as I hate to say it, I can't trust any big site including GameSpot when it comes to reviewing any SJW content. I feel they take the fact that reviews are just opinions and use that to their advantage sometimes.

It may well be a “wonderful” film, but if I want to find out if that's even remotely true I'll have to watch it myself. I know that sounds stupid, but the element of trust that keep us coming back to this site is sometimes abused to stay on the right side of popular opinion, and I don't like that, even if that opinion is one I agree with.

Avatar image for deactivated-5afeea4d8be41

@naryanrobinson: SJW content....

Seriously you people make me shake my head in dismay.

Avatar image for naryanrobinson
naryanrobinson

@graffitiheart: SJW is not necessarily a bad thing.

But to say that it's not SJW content is to say that men and women are 100% equal in modern western society. So pick your side carefully.

Avatar image for edwardnygma
EdwardNygma

@graffitiheart: Every time you post, you make me shake my head in laughter.

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doorselfin

@naryanrobinson: Correct! Experiencing and assessing something for yourself is the best way to work out whether you will like a thing or not. Thanks for reading!

Staff
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Alecmrhand

If youve seen Captain America you know the plot. Its kinda the same movie....just not quite as good.

Overall competent. Better than BvS ---Not worth a 20 dollar ticket. A solid rental.

Gal Gadot was well cast thought. She is a believable WW.

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musalala

"German characters puzzlingly speak English" apparently this was deliberate as they didnt want to confuse younger viewers.

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